Wednesday, May 30, 2012


"Miscarriage and Lossing Babies in Pregnancy" is the 5th post in the series "BECOMING A MUM VIA AN ALTERNATE ROUTE". 

"We have two healthy boys now but it took us five pregnancies to get to this stage. We were always fortunate to fall pregnant easily but unfortunately for some reason my body has difficulty holding on to a pregnancy full term. Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. At the time it seemed very sad but was certainly not crushing as we were both able to accept that there was obviously something wrong and the baby would not have been strong enough to survive. The doctors suggested that typically miscarriages in the first trimester are due to chromosomal issues so it seemed to make sense. I fell pregnant the very next month and we had a smooth pregnancy and birth. There was some nervousness but not a high level of anxiety or stress during the second pregnancy. Less than a year later we were pregnant again. The third pregnancy seemed to be going well, we knew we were having another boy and had named him. We were going to be moving overseas for a few months so we had his room set up and were on track for the arrival of our second son. Sadly I went into labour and gave birth to our son before his little body was strong enough to survive. The fourth pregnancy went the same way with me giving birth to another little boy far too early. Our fifth pregnancy and birth was difficult but thankfully resulted in a healthy baby boy.
While technically our second and third losses still fall into the category of miscarriage as a "late loss" for us they were very different experiences to the first trimester miscarriage of our first loss. In my experience there is a much higher level of grief associated with a loss when you have carried the child longer, connected with him/her, in our case know the sex and have named him. There is also the difference once you experience labour and get to hold the child as opposed to in an early miscarriage where you tend to have pain, heavy bleeding etc but do not have the birthing and connection of being able to "meet" and hold your child. For both our boys that I gave birth to and lost they are a very real part of my life whereas the early miscarriage does not feel on the same level. I have my boys ashes with me and still think about them.
One of the difficult things about suffering a loss of a baby is that it really affects your subsequent pregnancy and birth experiences. The level of anxiety and distress significantly increased for me after each loss. Because my first pregnancy ended in first trimester it meant that I still hadn't had a traumatic birth experience when I gave birth to my first healthy son. That first birth was a wonderful experience. Unfortunately after two incredibly traumatic births that followed I ended up having a horrible birth experience with my youngest son. I tried very hard to mentally prepare, and to be fair there were a number of complicating factors, but I think the fact that my previous two births had ended in holding and singing to a son I would never get to know was damaging and affected the way I coped with the birth...
I am fortunate to be an incredibly resilient person. I have always been able to survive to see another day! My favourite saying is "This too shall pass". I have often threatened that I will get it tattooed on my wrist in Aramaic! I don't know if it worked for King David but I have certainly found it helpful. 
In terms of "living well through this situation" to be honest I don't think I did live well "through it", I "survived it" would be more accurate. At the time it was a matter of getting up and trying to keep my head above water, I survived one day at a time. I was still crying about each of my boys at least once every day for about two years before it gradually became every few days, then once a week etc. Eventually it got to a point where I could think about them without crying every time. Now I am in a wonderful place and would definitely say I'm am living extremely well and have the most amazing, supportive husband but I won't lie and say I lived well during the very dark years that surrounded this period of my life.  
I think the most difficult thing is when people trivialise the nature of your loss by stating how common these things are or saying things like "It obviously wasn't meant to be"... I hate that one! What a stupid thing to say, yes it was meant to be and it WAS. I was pregnant, I did have this child and it is a tragedy that it IS NO LONGER... I really would say on this note that unfortunately people will be hurtful and thoughtless either out of ignorance or simply not knowing what to say. You can't do anything about that so you will just have to endure it. Like I mentioned before, for me continually reciting things like "this too shall pass" as a mantra can be helpful. Finding beautiful songs/music that both help you release your emotions and also act as a soothing healer for you can help. I found lines like: "Hope is coming for me..." and "Mercy comes in the morning...", from Brooke Fraser's song C.S. Lewis Song, were helpful when I just sang those words over and over in my mind. 
The main thing that my experiences have taught me is that you cannot take the pregnancy and birth of healthy babies for granted or assume it's a given. We have such amazing health care in the West that have resulted in massive reductions in maternal death rates, saving lives of premature babies, assistance falling pregnant through advances in IVF and so on that I think we've become too relaxed and taken on an attitude of entitlement to birth and pregnancy. Loosing two of our boys has made us acutely aware of how lucky we are to have the beautiful children we do have and I do not take that for granted. It took lots of blood, sweat and tears to have our boys but they were worth it and if I had to do it all again to get them I would.
We don't take our family for granted. We're a strong little unit... I can say confidently on this side of those difficult years that I know our marriage can withstand anything! We adore each other even more and support each other really well. Marrying my husband was the best decision I ever made. I'd say that's a good place to be in!"
From my friend "B".





Wednesday, May 23, 2012


"Still Birth" is the fourth post in the series "BECOMING A MUM VIA AN ALTERNATE ROUTE".

"I remember the day i sat in the sun on our back deck - just home from hospital with our first baby girl. I was filling in the copious paperwork that confronts every new parent. Name of mother. Father's birthplace. Full name of baby. There was one little question that shocked me a bit. Live birth or still birth? My stomach did a little flip and I wondered why that was in there and was extraordinarily grateful for a second that I was ticking 'live birth'. I moved on and stroked my little Molly's head. 

Fourteen months later, there I was... different house... different everything... ticking 'still birth'. Trembling hands held onto that pen and a pain between my heart and my belly felt like it would destroy me. 

Our parenting journey took a turn we weren't expecting. Our little boy - Isaiah- had been affected by strep B that is apparently carried by 15-45% of all healthy women. It had crossed the placenta which was a 1 in 10,000 chance thing. Normally it's no big deal, just a jab with some antibiotics an hour or so before the birth. The only concern is a minor one during delivery. But this time, that infection did what it never normally does and it crossed over to my little boy.  I went into early labour. After an ultrasound that revealed no heartbeat, we went through all the pain and held a little lifeless one at the end. I remember Marty taking him straight over to the window and pulling back the curtain. He held him up and prayed and cried. Then a week later we put him in the ground and it poured that whole night. He should have been snuggled up warm next to me.

Now 7 1/2 years and two more baby girls later I can still vividly remember so many details about those awful few days and then the grinding grief over years, but I don't have that tearing feeling anymore. I am thankful, so thankful for that. I am hesitant to do anything more than share a small part of my story because everyone who has experienced a stillbirth has their own story of grief and ways they moved through it. Maybe not everything that helped me would help another. 

There are so many things that are difficult about losing a baby in this way, that I don't really know where to start, but I will plunge in. Gearing up to walk out of that hospital with no baby in your arms. Going home to baby clothes that you no longer need. Having your milk come in and no baby to give it to, so you swell and nearly explode. Having to make decisions about a funeral and any decisions at all. Meeting people in the street who knew you were pregnant but hadn't heard your news and their question- 'So where is your baby?' People kindly wanting to rush you onto "all things working together for good". Seeing other people's pain because they love you and are wrapped up in it too and wish things could be different.  I will stop, but there are many more. 

Looking back I am especially grateful to Marty- my husband. Despite his own pain, he was able to think things through in those traumatic first days and help me participate in making plans and decisions to honour this little person who had never taken a breath but who was real and precious. Living in a different country and culture now, I have met women who never held their baby or did anything to mark his or her existence. Maybe the following few suggestions are not possible in all situations, and there are definitely other ways of treasuring and remembering a baby who has been lost, but here's what helped me. My personality (extravert, action girl), also means I needed certain things that perhaps would make it harder for others, so bear that in mind. I have also gone on to have more children. That has helped. 

* Having time with my baby and holding him was important. 
* Taking photos was important. 
* 'Introducing' him to significant people was good. 
* Asking those significant people to pray for us was good.
* Having time (a lot of it), just Marty and I with our baby, and then after he had been taken away lots more time just the two of us. Just 'being together' and doing what ever we needed to do to express what was going on for each of us in that swirling moment. 
* A funeral to mark his life publicly. 
* Marty making his coffin with a friend.
* Choosing clothes to bury him in.
* Mentioning Isaiah in conversation and using his name, and having others gently do this too.
* Planting something in his memory
* Having a few trusted friends to unload on whenever I needed to. Saying the same things over and over, crying, being angry. 
* Allowing myself to do weird and slightly crazy things like telling a complete stranger i had a baby boy two months ago but he died. Accepting an awkward end to the conversation. 
* Writing, writing, writing in a journal/ journals. Any old, unstructured combination of words. (I had several full by the end of the first year and somehow they got lost in a move. Another thing to let go of... but then maybe it was the process that had actually been the most important thing, not to be able to relive it all now by re-reading it!) 
* Making a baby book with photos and other bits and pieces. (Not only photos of him, but also photos of when I was pregnant as he had been part of those events too)
* Making a cake or doing something simple to remember on his birthday. 
* Including my other children in remembering him. (A few birthdays back, the two daughters I had at that time and I found 5 special things (a leaf, a gum nut) each and laid them on his grave. We then prayed a simple prayer each while holding hands.) 
* Some people like to buy a ring or a bracelet or something to remember.
* A candle for remembering moments.
* Letting people's comments that were not helpful for me roll off. I would have a brief rant about it to someone and then remind myself that this was my journey and they didn't really understand. 

Three or four years after Isaiah's death, a friend told me about a dream she had four days before I had given birth to him. It was all a bit weird and she hadn't told me about it before, but it triggered a whole lot of things I had been holding onto for years. Fear that if I let myself be healed then somehow Isaiah was less real. That I had to protect and maintain that little space in me that was still raw to prove he had existed. That marked a new stage in letting God heal me more fully. I came to trust that Isaiah was a loved and intentionally created person who would continue to be that whether i continued to live with a broken part in me or continued to live free from the gut wrenching grief. But I don't believe I could have rushed onto this straight after experiencing a still birth. Timing and all the other things God was doing in my life were an equally significant part of the whole. You can't rush true and deep healing. 

While on a rare moment I might have a situation that prompts a niggle of fear about losing another child; for me, this whole experience has brought some kind of freedom. I would never want to experience grief like that again, and I get choked up when i hear of others beginning their own gruelling grief walk, but in a strange way I know in a still deeper place that I can live and have joy and enjoy beauty on the other side. That God is good, and that there are mysteries I might never fathom. My three girls- especially the oldest one- have an understanding of death and a compassion for others that i think has come through being part of our family and the open way in which we have always talked about Isaiah. While this also means some deep questioning and confusion for little hearts I believe it is all part of a real and robust journey that starts when we are young."

From my dear friend P.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This is the third post in the series "Becoming a Mum Via an Alternate Route". In this post four mothers speak about their experiences having C - sections.
"..... I have had two C-sections : and I still battle feelings of failure because of it.... I've heard friends of mine who have struggled through infertility say similar things, as if they are somehow less female because their bodies refuse to get pregnant. I have felt less-than because I had to have C-sections, as if maybe I couldn't handle natural childbirth or I haven't passed the test of motherhood without this rite of passage."
Emily Freeman : "Grace for the Good Girl"

"I assumed I would be having a normal birth. I never considered a C-section. 
1st birth - after 40hours+ of labour I was not fully dilated = emergency C-section.
2nd birth - was possibly doctor interference. He thought we'd been in hospital long enough - so C-section no.2.
With our subsequent kids no. 3, 4 and 5, I had no choice = "elective C-section".
That was 5 kids in 7 years.
I felt disappointed because it was not our first choice to have a cesarean, but I 'got on with it'.
A tough side was that I occasionally compared myself to other mums and wondered why I didn't 'get going' so quickly. I felt a bit of a failure, weak, not coping, but looking back, I now realize I was not just 'having a baby', I had surgery too.
There was the frustration of not being able to physically do as much for a while. My husband's practical approach to life meant he was sympathetic, but there was no pampering - it helped me 'get on with it'. But sometimes I over did it because of this approach.
Unfortunately I didn't pay attention to antenatal advice on C-section as I didn't think we would need it.
We were given great help from family and friends - doing the washing, cleaning, meals. Some just came for 30 mins or an hour. With subsequent births, grandparents took the older siblings during the day of the first two weeks as my husband did not take leave. This was very helpful as I was very tired and could sleep when baby slept. Also as kids don't understand, the wound often got hurt by reacting to their antics, or jumping...
One comment made by a family member who was 'annoyed' at the doctor's interference, and that I'd had a C-section, made me feel a little of a failure/that I did something wrong. But after a midwife friend read my medical notes and agreed nothing could've been different, I felt better. I probably agreed with the family member in principle, but "I may've been one who died in child-birth had there not been doctor interference". Regardless God is in control and knows what's best for us.
One single lady made many meals for us, and I was very thankful as it was baby no. 4 or 5, but she once stayed and talked for 2 hours. I was very tired, but felt obliged to let it happen, but in hindsight I should've told her I was struggling.
Looking back I understand more of the effects the drugs and antibiotics had on me. By the 5th child, I was slowly burnt out, and I physically and emotionally went downhill, probably due to the effect of the drugs on my liver and my general health. I put on weight, probably depressed, but 'got on with it' :) Looking back I would have taken probiotics, liver cleansing herbs or such-like had I known, and made 'mum' time. I'd always thought of it as 'having a baby' and didn't realize it was 'surgery' as well.
These experiences have helped me deal with my husband's recent surgery and understand that you need rest in these situations.
I guess I don't have the bladder issues that some friends have had post birth, thankfully as I have a weak enough bladder :)"
From my friend S.

"Moms who have had C-sections need and deserve respect and love for the way they birthed. We need to honour all ways of birth, even the ones that didn't go as we planned. Because it is still the way some children are brought into our lives....
You see, some people seem to think there are two kinds of moms - those who have C-sections and those who do not. This 'battle' divides us, and makes one side feel like a mother who didn't do the right thing.
I had a C-section. I didn't schedule it so I could preserve my vagina, nor did I pick the date because it was convenient. It was necessary and needed..... Many moms like me had to have a C-section in order to be a mother. It's as simple as that. Life or death. A choice that has to be made quickly given the circumstance. Many times the moms who had an emergency C-section are the ones who are often silent, and who are silently hurt.....
There may always be questions. Should I have trusted the doctor?  Did I do all I could have?  And that's okay. C-section moms bear the scar where our babies were born, and we shouldn't continue to be hurt by the insensitive words that many say without realising that not all C-sections are frivolous choices. We love our babies just as much.... we are attachment parents, we love our children and have amazing bonds with them.
Our vulnerability comes from feeling unsupported, and words hurt.... I am a natural birth advocate but am a c-section mommy. I can be both. I am proudly both. It's true that when you have pain or deep hurt because of something, sometimes anything on the topic is tough to read. You feel defensive, you feel the words are directed at you as if you did something wrong.... And the subject of birth of how we birth is the same, perhaps even more challenging to process and work through....
Not everything in life goes according to plan.
One of my friends told me that her C-section was the best and the worst experience of her life. And that's exactly it for me. It was the best because it enabled me to have my twins healthy after being diagnosed with HELLPP syndrome, and the worst because it was frightening and not the way I wanted to birth. I took a long time, but I've come to terms with the way I birthed...."
Michelle Zipp from her blog ~  February 6 2012.

"There is a line across my stomach, the pouty frown of a scar carved into my skin in the shape of a crooked, stretched-out "C" ....
Generally it hides quietly below the surface under a pair of jeans or a dress or, gasp, even a bikini. But when mom talk involves sharing birth stories, I notice that having a line on my stomach quickly draws a line in the sand:I'm one of those.....
I know that the number of C-sections happening every year is skyrocketing at an alarming rate. I know that some doctors prefer convenience over care. I also know, however, that my doctor was trying to protect me - from cervical cancer.
The road that led me to having a C-section was a rocky one. It began unknowingly when I was 11 weeks pregnant. The usual tests conducted early on in the pregnancy revealed some unusual results.....
To be clear, I was not diagnosed with cervical cancer. Tests revealed the presence of abnormal cells on my cervix - cells that couldn't be fully diagnosed or treated without risks to the pregnancy....
At 38 weeks, with the okay from my doctor, I was induced. But nearly 24 hours into labour, I wasn't progressing. My son's heart rate was low... Baby was not getting enough oxygen.... He wasn't even a minute into this world and he was already stressed. Emergency C-section it was....
It all felt brisk, cold and unnatural. But just like that, my little six-pound, ten-ounce blueberry squealer was born, and it felt warm, fuzzy and happy....
So, yes, I have a scar on my stomach. Maybe you don't. But the truth is, people come into parenting in so many different ways - whether that's through vaginal childbirth, cesarean, adoption or even fostering kids. Are any of those methods really unworthy or less deserving than an other? Do they count less? I can't imagine a child who would think so....
My son was potty trained in two days. Maybe yours wasn't. I don't believe that colouring on the walls is such a bad thing. Maybe you do. Being a parent looks different in every household. But it doesn't matter. We are all moms. And that should be enough."
Andrea Stanley from her blog ~  October 7 2011

Tuesday, May 8, 2012



Four Mums who are celebrating Mothers Day this year with their first baby, talk about themselves and their experiences in motherhood.
‘Beautiful chaos’ are the words that come to mind, when I think about what it is like to be thrown into the world of motherhood. The beginning of an incredible adventure. Rico David Hayden was born on the 15th of February, two weeks overcooked. Our family created. I of course had already been a mum for 9 months, as my body grew this little miracle.

The most overwhelming, amazing moment of all was when we heard him cry and lay eyes on him for the first time. This baby was so loved and wanted.

The first 6 weeks were challenging, as Rico had both reflux and colic. I barely had time to shower or eat. Everything else got pushed to the side. It was during this time that my own amazing mum came alongside me. What a blessing. She helped me to cope and encouraged me every day that I was doing a good job. Mothers are a gift from God. My wonderful husband’s support, hugs and practical help, were a necessity for my survival during this time as well.

Today Rico is 7 weeks old and I finally got to plant my organic vegetable garden for the winter. It is little projects like this which bring me great pleasure and make me feel like a human being again.

I love being a mum. Words cannot even explain the joy I felt when he looked at me with those big blue eyes and smiled for the first time. He is delightful and brings so much laughter to our home.

If I could offer some advice for soon to be mums it would be; 
1) Enjoy the journey and remember it does get easier. 
2) Put yourself and your family first. 
3) Don’t try to be the perfect parent, it’s impossible.
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day
It is very surreal that I am about to celebrate my first Mothers' Day. Mothers' Day has always been about celebating MY mum and now I get to be in on the fun! To be honest, it hasn't completely sunken in yet that I am a mother. Hopefully Mothers' Day will help reinforce my beautiful new identity.
Hamish is almost four months. (D.O.B 18-12-11)
Since becoming a Mum, I have had to get more used to being 'out of controll' and this has been hard for me. Also, I think I have become more patient (this is an inevitable trait of a new mum!) 
My wise sister-in-law gave me the great advice to keep doing the things that I love that connect me with who I was before I had a baby... so walks in the sun and being a frequent visitor at the pram friendly cafes have kept me going!!!
My little boy has a dominant birthmark of his face. We are told it will fade but for the time being it is quite confronting and sometimes awkward when introducing him. It is such a minor thing but I was struggling with it and I hated the fact that I was struggling with it! One day I was looking at Hamish and I felt compelled to kiss his birthmark and tell him that I love him just the way he is... with or without his bright red birthmark. I was amazed at this heart of mine and surprised by these new feelings. My heart felt like it was going to explode. I felt so bonded with this little person. I had a small taste that day, of the way God loves us unconditionally.
My advice to mums-to-be is, hang in there... the early days are really tough but the smiles start and the fog lifts. Also, on a very practical note, cook lots of meals for your freezer during your maternity leave. Cooking is the last thing you'll feel like doing in the busy early days with baby.
 I am so excited to celebrate my first Mother's day with my baby. I did celebrate last year while I was pregnant but this year will be extra special because I will be celebrating with Tilly and with the knowledge of how amazing it is to be a mom. Tilly is six months at the moment. She will be a few days shy of seven months on Mother's Day.
Besides it taking an eternity to get out the door these days! ... since becoming a mom, my heart feels bigger; I just love my little girl so much and I am remembering to enjoy each day and what it brings because time flies. Despite the crazy busyness of having a baby/child(ren), I think the most important thing to hold on to is relationships. Don't stop date nights with your husband or spending time with your friends. Sometimes you can and should get a babysitter, other times you can't but babies are very portable and will sleep anywhere if they are tired. Those who love you won't mind putting up with some baby crying and distraction and you will love the adult company. 
 My advice to other moms or those who would like to be moms: take all advice with a grain of salt. Lots of people will want to give you advice, most of them are well meaning but YOU know your baby best. Also, you will never be able to "afford" children so don't let that stop you from starting a family if you feel ready.
Life is so much different from this time last year! Our 11 month old is walking now & he's a really busy social butterfly who loves the out-doors. Which means I'm busy, constantly! I'm forever trying to keep bugs, plants & dirt out of his mouth & always chasing him & playing with him.
I love our life now that Judah is in it! He is such a blessing & Andrew & I have grown so much, together, as well as individually. I know I'm a lot stronger now from digging deep in the tough times. But my heart also breaks alot easier now too, at the sight of Judah hurt or sick or even at the thought of other children being hurt. I laugh more than I ever have because of this special little boy & I care far more deeply than I ever thought possible.
No one told me how dramatically your life can change after bubs. Or if they did maybe my baby brain just blocked it out?!
Initially I tried desperately to hang on to my social life. I just figured Judah would go where I go. But that proved way too stressful because it interrupted his sleep too much, and the boy does like to sleep!
I found that as soon as I embraced the fact that life would never be the same & started to carve out a new social life for myself & our family (one that fit his routine instead of mine/ours) everyone was a lot happier & relaxed. 'Big sacrifice' I hear u say. I thought it would be but amazingly, even though sometimes its extremely hard to put my wants & needs on the back burner, the grass is definitely greener here now. And when I get to witness huge moments like his first steps, first words, new facial expressions, or even if i just get to be there to scoop him up in a big cuddle when he is upset, any sacrifice, be it work, socializing or even time to myself is so worth it because I know this time is so limited & he'll be off to school before I know it & probably too cool to cuddle Mummy the way he does now.

I am so grateful a good friend of mine had the wisdom & foresight to tell me these three things that revolutionized the way I see motherhood;
1. Enjoy & savor every moment. The good ones as well as the bad. Because before you know it, they're grown.
2. Take time to sit back & take it all in. Because time flys.
3. Count your blessings daily because a child is an immensely wonderful gift & motherhood is a privilege some people never get to experience. If you are living this experience, no matter how hard at times, you are blessed!


THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ when it comes to Sunday don't build up huge expectations of what you are HOPING the kids will give you/do for you/say to you.... because they may not. Take the day as it comes, and savor and enjoy being with your kids, or if they are not with you, relive happy moments with your kids from memorable times of the past. 
Next week there will be articles online and in the media about mothers who were let down over what didn't happen on their special day - but no one benefits in reading them. 
Head into this Sunday with an open mind that is full of reasons you are thankful for each of your kids.Then yours will be a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY.
             HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO EVERY MOTHER               

Sunday, May 6, 2012


"Very high vitamin C - One lemon can provide 50% of the day's requirements ... the cultivation of the lemon goes back  at least 2,500 years. It originated in the Indus valley of Northern India .... valuable in its vitamin C concentration as a drink to ease the symptoms of the common cold."
Jack Forsyth's : Scrumptious Tucker

In New Zealand, May is the last month of Autumn - winter is close now. The other morning when I walked our dog there was frost along the roadside at the bottom of our hill. In winter it will get even better with paddocks and fence posts covered with white frost. Each of our kids have loved the early morning walk on such mornings. They take off a mitten and run their finger along the fence tops to scoop up a finger full of frost. Then into the mouth it goes and to their surprise their warm mouth instantly feels hot in contrast to the frozen water temperature.
Winter is notorious for colds, coughs and flu.
Although it has been believed that people with low immunity, high stress levels, who are sleep deprived or have a sudden change in body temperature, are more likely to catch cold, they in fact are not. Conclusive research from various sources all agree that the two primary ways of catching a cold is by ~
                 * hand to hand contact with people who already have a cold or touching hard surfaces recently touched by people with colds.
                 * from people who cough or sneeze on us, sending their bugs to us through the air particles.
So washing and drying your hands before touching food or your face seems to be a sensible practice.
But if you do catch the cold, you need help.
If you like home-made cures then you will love this month's drink recipe.
My sister, Jules, made up this recipe and I think it's a prize winner!!
It has cured many a cold, cough and flu in our family, and even on one occasion cured a terribly ill chicken who continually coughed and sneezed.
The drink has ~
LEMONS which are known for their high vitamin C content
GARLIC which contains allicin, which is a natural antibiotic. Allicin is produced when garlic is bruised, chopped or chewn. 
ROOT GINGER is an immune system and energy booster. It has good amounts of iron which protects against viral infection and is a de-congestor.
HONEY is a natural energy booster and immune system builder. It has anti-bacterial properties which fight disease, helping particularly with sore throats. Manuka honey is the most beneficial health wise. 
MINT is rich in vitamin A and C and can inhibit the growth of some bacterias. It assists to unblock the airways, helps with breathing, relieves heads congestion and head aches and has calming properties.
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Garlic clove
2cm slice of Ginger root
1 teaspoon Honey - Manuka honey if you can.
6 leaves of fresh Mint
1/3 cup of boiling Water
Boil the kettle with a small amount of Water.
Put a clove of Garlic into a mortar and pestle and crush once so you can easily remove the outside skin. Add Ginger root and washed Mint leaves to the mortar and pestle.Crush and pulverize with the mortar. Dissolve honey into a cup by pouring in 1/3 of a cup of boiling Water. Add Garlic, Ginger and Mint and stir. Finally cut and squeeze the juice from a lemon into the cup.
Rather than drink the drink it is best to gulp it as it is pulpy. One drink may be enough, but for severe cases I recommend to drink one near the start and finish of each day for the first week, then one a day for the second week. You will feel an improvement within two days. 
If treating an animal, use a medicine dropper to get it into their mouth - quantity depends on the animal weight. For our chook we dropped a few drops every few hours.
An alternative to Lemon is Pineapple juice which has great amounts of vitamin C, but also has Bromelain which helps suppress coughs and assists in loosening mucus.
Another alternative to Lemon is Guava, which loosens and reduces mucus and disinfects the respiratory tract, throat and lungs. It's also rich in vitamin C and iron which helps prevent viral infections.

THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS~ make sure you have these ingredients handy for the next few months. Your kids will love crushing up the garlic, ginger and mint in the mortar and pestle - even tiny kids get great satisfaction bashing food. 
So sorry about the terrible photos - I had to use my phone as the camera is in India.