I’m so excited to announce that together with Nicole we have released our Anchor Collection! Can you imagine, Juliana Made This being used to help mommas out there to deliver their babies? What?! I’m so happy to have been invited by Nicole and I’m super proud of what we have accomplished together. Nicole Schlögel is a midwife, aromatherapist and yoga teacher. She runs Essentially Birth, a pregnancy wellbeing and birth preparation service. I'm delighted to have Nicole as a guest writer to tell us all about birth, aromatherapy and everything to do with our Anchor collection in this blog post.
How Juliana and I met
Juliana walked into the Hatha Yoga For Women class I teach for Tara at The Little Yoga House in Belfast early this year. We got chatting after class one day and Juliana told me a little bit about her journey to motherhood. I love hearing those stories because I am a midwife of 17 years and I run Essentially Birth, a pregnancy massage, aromatherapy and holistic birth prep service in various venues in Northern Ireland.
Juliana told me about having to navigate Hyperemesis Gravidarum during her own
pregnancy (read more about her experience here) and over the years I have witnessed on several occasions just how depleting and hard on the body this condition can be for a new mum. Immediately I sensed that this one hour every week on the yoga mat held great potential for Juliana’s recovery and wellbeing. Little did I know at this stage that this encounter would lead to an exciting collaboration and a new product for both Juliana and me.
She makes candles?
One day in May of this year, I found Juliana’s Instagram account. I was just scrolling and I came across one of the beautifully colourful posts on Juliana Made This and I recognised her as the woman on that yoga mat just to my left every Tuesday night who was working away at her postnatal recovery with so much commitment and conviction.
Immediately I thought, how awesome it would be if Juliana could bring her creativity and expertise in candle making to Essentially Birth, so I asked her: ‘Would you be interested in creating a product that helps women bring that same sense of calm and relaxation they experience during my massages and breathing practice into their birth space?’ There was no hesitation, Juliana was into the idea as much as I was. By that time Juliana had also experienced one of my postnatal massages, so she could easily imagine what I was aiming for.
Working with essential oils - My first time
Essential oils are liquids that are gained by steam distilling, cold pressing or solvent extraction of the leaf, bark, fruit, root or resin of a plant. Essential oils are used by aromatherapists to address various ailments and to support the body’s potential for self healing.
When I was in my late teens, I dabbled in making cosmetics for myself and my family for a few years. I made shower gels, body lotions and deodorants doing my best to imitate the scents of commercial products. I got little bottles of scent in a small specialty shop in my hometown and my initial products contained synthetic smells called ‘ocean fresh’, ‘coconut beach’ and ‘citrus garden’.
I loved these smells and I still do, I can be transported back to the summers of my youth in Germany in the 90s by any of those familiar smells. Just a whiff of anything even remotely resembling ‘coconut beach’ has me cycling my bike to the lake, barely 20 years old, happy and care-free, brown as a berry and doused in a sunscreen lotion carefully prepared just the day before. This is how powerful smells are!
The process of recalling a memory by just encountering a familiar scent is called ‘anchoring’ in hypnotherapy and it is a powerful tool in preparing for giving birth.
It was during one of those late 90s summers that I learned about the properties of essential oils. I discovered that apart from a pleasant association, a scent from an essential oil also has a healing potential that synthetic oils don’t have. So I started experimenting a little bit by addressing some of my family members’ ailments. Muscle aches, insomnia and travel sickness were some of the first complaints I helped them with.
My knowledge about essential oils expanded as I learned to address more and more of my own or my family’s ailments. I was a regular at that little specialty shop, constantly asking about a new essential oil and its properties. I eventually got myself a job there. Every evening after school I was in the back of that store decanting the magic plant essences into little brown glass bottles, labelling them and lining them up in the shelves for our customers.
I had my own daughter in 1999 and I vowed that I would bring her up knowing about aromatherapy but I also wanted to work with those oils and I wanted to be a midwife. By 2002 I had obtained an Aromatherapy Diploma and by 2005 I was studying towards a Degree in Midwifery.
Working with essential oils - Juliana’s first time
When it came to helping my own clients anchor a smell, it had to be one that also brought physical and emotional benefits to their pregnancy and births.
I decided to start with two essential oils that are commonly used all across Northern Ireland in birth preparation. And while those oils are well known to some midwives, doulas and hypnobirth practitioners, pregnant mums often don’t know about them.
Enter: Juliana Made This
So many women love scented candles and Juliana’s candles look so beautiful and her stalls are so beautifully and tastefully decorated. What an amazing place to introduce young women to the potential of picking your scents with purpose; to educate women that using them in preparing for giving birth can greatly contribute to a positive birth experience. All I had to do was pitch the whole idea to Juliana.
And so I did.
Juliana was super excited and jumped into the project with both feet. It would be her first time using pure essential oils in her creations. She sourced the essential oils I suggested and came back with a sample melt in no time at all. We decided to have absolutely no additives, just the beautiful vegan soy wax that Juliana uses, no colour. We wanted to give women a pure product during this time of growing a little one so that the benefits of the essential oils could enfold fully.
Working to a tight schedule
I was really keen to have the first few products from the Anchor Range at my stall at the Your Baby NI Event at the Stormont Hotel June 9th and 10th. By the time Juliana had decided on the exact recipe by getting me to use her beautiful wax melts at home and giving her some feedback on the concentration of the oils, it really had to be all guns blazing at Juliana’s workshop. But boy, did she deliver!
Look at this beautifully presented box of magic!
Here’s what’s in it
Featuring a natural blend of the essential oils of Frankincense and May Chang, our collection is designed to support mamas before, during and after birth.
The woody, spicy and earthy base notes of Frankincense together with the lemony top notes of May Chang blend into a beautifully soothing and comforting scent. Frankincense and May Chang have many applications in pregnancy and birth, one of them is the practice of ‘anchoring’. An anchor is when you learn to associate a particular sensual stimulus such as a sound, smell or image with an experience and a state of being. Here, we are anchoring a state of deep relaxation with the delicious scent of our Anchor Collection. After a bit of practice the scent alone will create the feeling of relaxation.
May chang flowers in the left and frankincense flowers on the right
The essential oils of May Chang and Frankincense both regulate and deepen the breath. This is what makes them so perfect for your deep breathing practice in pregnancy. Surround yourself with the scent of Anchor whilst practising your hypno-breathing every day. You will find after a while that the smell alone relaxes you. It may even deepen your breath without your conscious effort. Your state of deep relaxation will arrive with more ease and almost immediately as you start your breathing practice. Bringing this familiar scent into your birth space together with your affirmations and your favourite sounds will remind you of how easy it can be to relax your body and mind. You will be able to access this deeply relaxed state even when you are experiencing the challenging hours of labour and birth.
Are you expecting or know somebody that is? Get in touch and order yours here or DM either myself or Juliana via Instagram or Facebook. More boxes to be available soon on the Juliana Made This shop.
My Anchor Massage Program and a little about me
I am proud to introduce my pregnancy wellbeing package to keep you feeling amazing and able to deeply relax any time you choose to so you can enjoy your pregnancy and look forward to giving birth to your baby. It consists of a series of aromatherapy massage sessions using our Anchor blend, a special late pregnancy massage and stretch session and a mama/baby massage. You can find out more about it here.
I'm a midwife, aromatherapist and yoga teacher. I run Essentially Birth, a pregnancy wellbeing and birth preparation service and I'm also the author of ‘7 Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Hear Before Giving Birth’. My passion lies in helping women prepare holistically for giving birth whilst understanding how modern maternity care observes pregnancy and childbirth. You can book my services here. I look forward to seeing you!
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