Maha Al Musa is a 51-year-old NSW mum who has made headlines around the world by pledging to continue breastfeeding her now five-year-old daughter as long as she likes, even if it is until she is 10.
She's also an advocate of belly dancing through childbirth.
Yep, she's pretty unique.
Al Musa feels that her body was made for childbirth and breastfeeding. She danced her way through labour pains and embraces every single aspect of motherhood after having her third and final child.
However she raises quite a few eyebrows by breastfeeding daughter Aminah whenever she requests milk. The practice is called "extended breastfeeding" and many mums are embracing it, believing it wards of illness and optimises health.
"I am sick and tired of being told by outsiders what I can and cannot do with my body and my baby," she says. "When will we start to hand back the power to mothers and parents and respect the journey of a thousand miles. A journey that has been taken for thousands of years. My knowing and my instincts are embedded within my veins and are a result of those whom have walked the earth before me."
Al Musa agreed to talk to me because I can't help but admire how much she celebrates the two parts of motherhood I struggled with the most. I experienced so many problems through childbirth and was guilty of swearing, screaming and sobbing my way through them. And when it came to breastfeeding ... I wasn't a natural. I really struggled and it was really painful.
Could my first few years of motherhood have been greatly improved by a complete attitude change on my behalf?
All I needed to do was accept that my body knew what it was doing, to understand that pain was part of the process and focus on something that celebrated my body instead of fighting every moment of discomfort.
Here's what Al Musa had to say when I interviewed her:
What are your views on women's bodies when it comes to birth and breastfeeding?
We were designed for this and we are very much influenced by our emotional and energetic body that flows in unison with our physical body
I speak of this in my bellydancebirth teachings - that we must be mindful of the many bodies we as women are "living in" and each has an influence on the other. Often in mainstream childbirth education we neglect this understanding and I believe it if we are not holistic in our approach we can label women's bodies as problematic when in essence it may just be that she is feeling unloved, insecure, unsupported, misunderstood, hungry, cold, sad etc . A more compassionate approach when we are dealing with birth and breastfeeding may very well be the medicine a woman requires to "let go" and feel what her body can do.
Where do most women go wrong?
I see that women hand their power over to an "expert" or someone outside of themselves whom they believe are an authority instead of trusting the knowing that is inherently within. In this modern day there is so much information "out there" that distracts and dilutes a woman from her inner resources.
I often say that the Living Book is within, many chapters have been written and there are more to write. Trusting in ourselves is a good foundational starting point and then move like a spiral from this place to the outside rather than the other way.
Do you regret weaning your first two children at two?