E is for Exercise (after baby)

This particular topic requires the expertise of the rather lovely Jodie Evans – Physiotherapist, local Mum of 2 and ex TBJ customer. Jodie teaches local Pilates classes and runs sessions that you can take your baby along to, you can find more information on her Facebook page ‘More Core Pilates’ or send her a text 07387388671

RETURNING TO EXERCISE POST C-SECTION
A Caesarean section is major abdominal surgery and your muscles need time to recover.

TOP TIPS FOR EXERCISE POST C-SECTION
It’s so hard to find time to focus on yourself with a new baby. You have less time, certainly less energy and your core (deep, corset tummy muscle) and pelvic floor muscles, don’t seem to be co-operating anymore.
– Firstly, listen to your body. Everyone heals at slightly different rates, and has varying pain levels.
– Walk. Gradually increase the time/distance of your steady walks, as your pain and energy levels allow. The fresh air will certainly help you, and fingers crossed will send your new bundle off for a nap
– Pace yourself to avoid increasing pain levels. Often your muscles can’t function as they should do when you’re experiencing pain. Your core muscles and your pelvic floor, which are already weak from the stresses of 9 months of pregnancy, aren’t ‘firing up’ due to pain initially.
– Wake up these core and pelvic floor muscles. Take very short periods of time (3-4x/day if you can) to attempt to ‘wake up’ your pelvic floor and deep tummy muscles. The more often you attempt to tell these muscles to work, the quicker they are likely to respond. However, they won’t have much endurance to begin with, so little and often is the key.
*These exercises should be given to you by the NHS. It would be extremely beneficial to see a physiotherapist to check that you’re ‘engaging’ your core muscles properly.
Your post-surgical advice is usually not to lift anything heavier than your baby for 6 weeks. Advice then usually follows to gradually return to low impact exercise after approximately 6-8 weeks, and to reserve high impact exercise such as aerobics, running and resistance/weight training for a gradual return after 12 weeks. However, it’s important to be aware of the changes your muscles go through post-injury/surgery to plan your return to exercise.
HEALING PHASES
Warning, now bear with me for a little heavier reading ….six weeks post-injury/surgery your healing tissue is fairly mature, but as you stretch and stress your new scar tissue, it stimulates additional fibres to help strengthen and support the healing tissue/scar. This happens until the tissue meets the demands you place upon it. This period of healing takes place roughly between 6-12 weeks post-injury/surgery (although can continue for considerably longer) and is often referred to as the ‘remodelling phase’. Throughout this phase the scar tissue is becoming stronger, and can withstand more stresses that you place upon it.
It is due to these healing times that I don’t recommend postnatal ladies to join my Pilates classes until they are 12 weeks post C-section.
I totally appreciate how frustrating it can be when you wish to return to exercise, and all of its wonderful benefits ASAP. However, it’s also important for your body to heal, and pushing yourself too soon may mean that it takes you longer to get to your end goal. Enjoy the slower pace initially, and lots of cuddle time with your new arrival

C is for Colic

Looking back on the early weeks with my babies, I’m always wearing rose tinted glasses. I can’t recall the tiredness, the crying or the grumpy moments when I’d had enough of being a Mummy. But my diary reminds me when I go back in time and revisit how I felt. In the same way that the pain of contractions can’t quite be recalled in precise detail, those moments of total frustration at not knowing why your baby is crying or gribbling can be easily forgotten. But they were very real at the time, the sense of feeling totally overwhelmed, tired and tearful. Not being able to see the wood for the trees is an expression that springs to mind.

What I can recall is having a coffee with Hannah and crying into my flat white about how tired I was, why Bertie cried so much at night. How I had run out of ideas on how to help him fall asleep, worrying I was getting it all wrong.

I’m not sure if it was the white noise app set up on a sonos speaker (total impulse purchase by my husband!) the lavender infuser, the baby massage oil after his bath, or the position I held him in after his last feed. But he just started to settle, the crying in the night just stopped. I had some sleep and the whole family benefitted.

Bertie (or my other 2) never actually had colic, so I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is for those parents dealing with a baby who cries constantly. It must be so exhausting and worrying. Hence this blog on colic, to try and offer a bit of sign posting in the right direction.

Firstly it’s totally normal for babies to cry. Up to 2 hours a day in fact. But when it’s more than that, and the bouts of crying last longer than 2 hours, then its often labelled as colic. Colicky babies tend to be very red in the face when they cry, pulling up their legs to their chest and clenching their fists.
It can start as early as a few weeks, but its normally settled before they are 6 months old (phew!)

So what can you do? Well there are lots of suggestions/ideas/thoughts out there on what might help.

In terms of products, you could look at Infacol or Colief to help. These are liquid medicines that are given in little droppers straight into babies mouth prior to a feed. They help break up wind and ease gripe pain and are available in supermarkets and chemists.

Holistic therapies such as cranial osteopath and reflexology may benefit your little one hugely. Especially if you had a an instrumental delivery (forceps or ventouse) We have some local recommendations if you need them, just get in touch.

Your GP or Health visitor may be able to help, sometimes just having someone to talk to or suggest something else that you could try is helpful.

There are supportive organisations online too, Cry-Sis are one www.cry-sis.org.uk who offer a downloadable PDF of information as well as a helpline that you can call for free advice.

Try a sling, it allows you to carry baby, keep them close and upright. Check out Cheltenham’s sling library, offering you the opportunity to hire a sling and try before you buy. You can find them on Facebook.

Look for your family and friends around you to help – sometimes all you needs is a half hour break. Time to have a shower. Pop to the shop. Have something to eat. Identify the times of day that perhaps seem worse than others (its normally tea time/early evening) Arrange some support for that time. Perhaps get someone to help out with dropping round some dinner, or hold the baby for you. Or take the pram out. There is always someone willing to help.

Have a moan/chat/cry with your antenatal mum mates. Those WhatsApp groups that Baby Journey encourage are rife with activity in the depths of the night.

Finally, write it down. Or just make notes if you can. Then like me, you’ll read them back one day and appreciate that these things are only ever a phase, and that nothing is ever permanent. Which should be every new parents mantra. It certainly is mine.

Jules x

My Anniversary of Motherhood

Excitement is building, presents are hidden, parties are planned, and the bittersweet stress of elaborate cake construction is growing.

It is that special time of year when my first born celebrates his birthday.

Memories are bubbling to the surface too, I’m feeling nostalgic and misty-eyed at baby photos, reminiscing to myself of what pre-mother me was doing in the days before he arrived, before everything changed.

My Anniversary of Motherhood is coming around.

We have been his apprentices in an on-the-job training programme of parenthood. His firsts have been our firsts. We held our breath as he took his very first, and then it was headlong in to a flurry of firsts.

First feed, first night at home, first trying to get the rain cover on (epic fail, lots of swearing), first trip in the car, first day on our own, first poonami, first smile (amazing), first baby group (Wind the What Up?!), first teeth, first foods, first illness (terrifying), first words, first steps, first day at nursery and so many more. 

He has taken us through entire stages, from first nappy to last nappy, from sleeping beside me in our room to independent in a big boy bed, from pram to strutting along, he has led us on where he goes next. He has always reached for the next step without looking back, and I have marvelled at his progress, proud and amazed and sometimes a smidge sad that stage is over and wondering what the next one holds. Wondering what we will discover together next. Sometimes I worry that I haven’t appreciated it enough, that I haven’t documented and photographed enough, that he’s moving on already and I wasn’t ready yet.

But in the early weeks after he was born I met a lovely lady at a baby group who said to me with a smile that “it just gets better and better”. I will never forget the joy on her face or the hope and relief she gave me. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our moments, it’s not all #soblessed, but the lessons and the joys have layered up on top of each other to get us to where we are today. 

Each step he’s taken us on has brought us to this birthday, and he’s already talking excitedly about his next one and all the new things he will have achieved. I’m going to follow his lead on that, and look forward to more lessons and fun on the bumpy road of motherhood.

I might also have my own little party to celebrate my AoM with my labour playlist & baby photos, the prosecco is chilling ready!

Happy Birthday my amazing son, thank you for teaching us, we love you. x

 

The wonderful Rosie after one year with Team Baby Journey

1 year on…

Here we are, one year since I started teaching with The Baby Journey! It’s been such a fun and fulfilling year seeing so many lovely couples about to embark on the most incredible journey of all.
I remember way back in the days of the Baby Journey’s creation, admiring what Hannah and Jules had embarked upon and looking on with awe at how brave and creative and inspiring they were for following their dreams and starting a business doing what they love. I remember ‘liking’ their facebook page and writing them a message saying how proud they must be of the idea, helping parents become empowered and confident and bringing them together. I thought to myself ‘I’d love to work with them one day’. Fast forward 5 years and I get a message saying they want me in the team! I felt a bit like a kid at Christmas, I was so chuffed that I was cool enough to be in the gang, it’s a wonderful feeling knowing someone thinks you’re good enough at your job that they would trust you with their business!
It’s not just the work I was looking forward to, it was the whole thing, the friendship and being part of an awesome team. It hasn’t disappointed!
I’m so proud to be part of team Baby Journey, I think the work we do is brilliant. The classes, the social aspect, helping parents connect and become lifelong friends. Confidence is the key to birthing and parenting and this is gained through knowledge and supportive friendships, all of which are things we specialise in.
My highlight so far is seeing all the mums and babies at the coffee morning, all still friends, all meeting up regularly and some only a few months off their first birthday, meaning they were in one of my first classes! I had these friendships during my pregnancy and continue to do so, I know how important they are and I wouldn’t have come out the first year in one piece without them and I’m proud that I’m part of that for other parents.
I’m looking forward to what this year has in store for me and the lovely people I’m about to meet!
Thank you for having me team TBJ!

The one with the VBAC….

This next blog comes from the lovely Shona – after a c-section in 2013, find out how she got on in 2017 when a new little man entered their world…….

In 2013 my partner and I were expecting our first child. Nearing the end of the pregnancy we went to our local birth Unit for the tour. After looking around, I immediately wanted the birth to take place there. I remember walking around thinking “this is like a posh hotel” the rooms if I remember didn’t even have beds in! It was like an adult size soft play centre! And I loved the mood lighting and the whole place felt so relaxed and calm. Even a little guest book on a table in the corridor!

We went in for a routine 36 appointment and a midwife had a feel round on the bump. Then she got the Doppler on it with a slight concern look. They did a scan and told me Baby was in fact breech! So we sat down for a chat where I was told I would need a Caesarean. They said I could have an ECV where they could try and manipulate the baby into turning and they said there was a 50% chance of baby turning and if it worked there was also a chance of baby going back to breech position.

At this point I was quite overwhelmed by everything, as soon as I stepped out the hospital I cried A LOT! The thought of having an operation, the not being able to have a natural labour. I finally accepted that I was having a caesarian and I started to feel excited.

I had a pre op appointment and when I was 39 weeks exactly on 28 May 2013 we went to hospital and I had a scan which confirmed baby was still breech. So we waited in a room with two other couples and we were last to have the section. Our little girl Ruby arrived safely and the recovery went really well. I didn’t have any other kids to look after so it was easy to be able to rest and take it easy.

Then in November 2016 we found out we were expecting baby No.2 – so exciting! After the 12 week scan I had a consultation appointment and a chat about my options, I said I’d like a VBAC and they were supportive with my decision and explained the risks involved about 1/200 chance of scar rupture. But the option was there to have either. Which was the hardest because I didn’t want an option, I needed someone to tell me what to do!

So I started googling information on vbacs, and reading books. Educating myself on the risks, and in comparison it wasn’t much different to risks with a natural labour. I then went on YouTube videos of people’s vbac stories. Which inspired me and helped me so much in feeling better about it all.

So many thoughts going round my mind like “what if I go into labour and complications happen ending in a section anyway?!” “What if I get to 41 WKS and I’m more swayed to avoiding being induced?!” “What am I going to do if I have an elective section again?!”

Then one evening I was spotting a little. I rang triage for a piece of mind and she said it sounds like my plug coming away. However later when I stood up I did have a small gush feeling, and I was constantly getting this mucus type fluid keep coming. I Rang triage again! I was getting the odd tightenings then with this mucus. She said when I was getting tightenings/pains every 10mins then to ring up and head over.

I was getting pains every 30 mins. So I expected to just be at home all night before anything got really going. My thoughts at this time, because I had never experienced this before, it felt like it wasn’t real and it was all in my head. At 7;50pm I started jotting down the times of these tightenings and at 8:30 I realised they were every 5 minutes. It didn’t feel real! I called triage and another lady spoke to me this time. She asked if I could hold on at home but it was getting uncomfortable now when I was getting a contraction. She said I might be sent home but I wanted to go over and get checked out at least.

I was checked over and my waters had definitely gone. There was meconium in them. Which she thinks was old, where the baby had a trial poop! And at this point I was 1-2cm dilated. This was around 11pm.
I said to my partner I don’t think I could do this, I’m only 1-2cm and it’s hurting so much already, I could see myself asking for an epidural!!

Around midnight I was taken into a delivery room. It was so much cooler, nice and dark with a mood lighting.
The contractions got stronger and stronger and I was on the bed just literally wriggling around using the gas and air. The midwife with me was brilliant and we joked about her wanting to deliver the baby before her shift finished in the morning! Then at about 3:15 am and I was given diamorphine which was injected in my thigh. Again WOW! That stuff was even better. I was able to rest inbetween contractions now.

About 3:30am I had a canula put in my hand. Which I knew I would because of having the section previously and just in case there was any problems. At this point I was getting so much pressure with the contractions.

About 3:40am I was checked and I was 7cm now. And around 3:55am they put a clip on baby’s head to monitor him. I remember at this point the midwife telling me how well I was doing although I was quite sleepy between contractions.

It wasn’t so much painful at this point now, it was trying not to push everytime I had a contraction because the pressure was unbelievable. Trying to ride through that was hard, because all I wanted to do was push!

But then at 05:57am our little boy was born!! He was placed straight on me and I couldn’t stop saying “OMG I did it” that feeling was just incredible!! And probably the best feeling of my life. Getting to hold him straight away in my arms. My partner cut the cord and did skin to skin.

I cannot stress enough, to those thinking of having a VBAC then DO IT! If I were to choose, having a vagjnal birth was the best thing ever!

Educate yourself on the pros and cons! As soon as I started watching videos, I wanted to do a Vlog while I was still pregnant and another one after with the result! But it was too late when I was thinking of doing it, so have done a blog instead of my story to hopefully help inspire others!!

I was so happy it worked out and little things like being able to get straight in the shower and go out and about and do stuff. It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I didn’t talk myself out of it and went for another caesarean “just in case”

Everyone needs a bit of Shona’s positivity in their life!

The one with the planned c-section….

So our topic this month is all things Caesarean section – and to kick start it here is a lovely blog from one of our Baby Journey Mums (we are going to call her Mrs Wonderful as she’d like to remain anonymous!) So put your feet up for 10 minutes with a cuppa and enjoy….

“The journey to motherhood for my husband and I was to say the least a tough and emotional one…. after 8 years of trying to have a baby, we’d encountered numerous miscarriages, surgical procedures and plenty of heartache. We decided that enough was enough so opted for IVF as the way forward for us. When we finally received a positive pregnancy test after our first round and we couldn’t have been happier! Our dream of becoming parents was a step closer… we still had a long way to go but it was a very very positive start! I won’t bore you with the details but the pregnancy itself was as you’d expect filled with worry, sickness and lots of surreal moments!
Fast forward to 38 weeks and we had a routine consultant visit. What I did not expect at this visit was to come away with a C-Section date due to a breach baby! I did not have any preconceived plans… in a strange kind of a way, I lived each day at a time, appreciating every moment and not wanting to look too far ahead. So anyway… the day arrived, bags packed and sunglasses on! From start to finish the whole experience was incredibly surreal. Our consultant finished our consultation by saying, ‘so let’s go and meet your baby!’ That phrase will stick with me forever! The actual procedure itself went well and the sheer joy when we met our little miracle was beyond any words or experience I could ever explain!
You hear lots of things about feeding being difficult after a C-Section, for us this wasn’t the case but I know that for many regardless of birth type this can be so tough.
Hours past and we were on the ward. I found being on the ward the toughest part, the staff were exceptional but stretched to capacity and often if you rang the bell for assistance… you’d be waiting about 20 minutes. There was something illogical about the over night arrangement, my husband had to leave even though I physically couldn’t move to help my baby. It just demonstrated the immense pressure our NHS is under. The care from professionals, when we received it was faultless. We ended up staying in hospital for two nights and if I’m honest, I couldn’t wait to leave and get home to home comforts. Although there were a few negatives with the hospital experience, overall the experience was great!
At home, recovery was not as bad as I’d thought it would be. I was able to drive sooner than I’d thought and was up and about the day after the actual procedure.
The C-Section experience itself was such a positive one… so much so, that I am about 90% sure I will have another one in a few months time when I am due to have our second child (can’t believe I’m writing this… it happened naturally!!!)

So if you are in the position of knowing you are having a C-Section or end up having an emergency one, here are some top tips:
1️⃣ For hospital, pack a night dress rather than PJs as you don’t want anything that will come in contact with your scar. Have the same in mind for any clothes you wear for the weeks to follow.
2️⃣ Take Spa Tone (or similar iron supplement) you loose a lot of blood during a C-Section and this will help replenish your blood cells.
3️⃣ Coconut oil for your scar is great.
4️⃣ Skip if you don’t like poo talk… if you find yourself not having done a poo for around 2/3 days. I didn’t even have this on the radar but it ended up being 6 days and I can honestly tell you that when I finally did, I cried and the pain was worse than any C-Section pain. Just let your midwife know and they’ll give you a pessary to insert up your bum!
5️⃣ Probiotics are a must… your gut linings are interfered with after you have an anaesthetic so fill yourself up with yoghurts. A dear friend of mine stocked me up on these in a Hospital Survival Kit!
6️⃣ Slippers and a thin dressing gown – it’s so so hot in the hospital so thin cotton material is a must.
7️⃣ It’s common after a C-Section to have lots of trapped air between shoulders and neck. Lots of massages required!
8️⃣ Be kind to yourself and I mean really kind. You will have just been through a massive operation and then be thrown in to looking after a little human and all that that entails… Good luck!”

Waiting for the sunbeams to come……

I first became a Mummy over 10 years ago….

Blimey, just typing that makes me feel old. However all the emotions that come with being pregnant, then becoming a new parent are still very fresh in my mind. As if it all happened yesterday. Like most Mums, I can recall my birth stories (all 3 of them) with ease, it’s mixed feelings knowing that I wont ever do it again.

When I was pregnant with Lottie, my now lovely vibrant and spirited 10 year old daughter. I had been a midwife for 5 years already. I attended antenatal classes, looking back this was probably where the embers of the Baby Journey were lit. But that’s another blog entirely….

I felt physically and mentally ready for the challenge of becoming a Mum, I was excited and enjoyed all the prep work in packing bags, buying tiny baby clothes and painting the nursery. When my due date came and the labour started, my straight forward labour unfolded and Lottie arrived in the early hours of the 3rd August 2007. No horror story to be told I’m afraid….

My husband Jim was wonderful, he encouraged me, cracked inappropriate jokes and made me smile. My lovely Mum was the perfect balance of being kind & firm, keeping everyone fed with items from the biggest labour picnic I’ve ever seen to date. The cherry on the top of my labour cake was having my beloved Hannah there. We’d become firm friends over the years, there had been many wine fuelled conversations in pubs (prior to the pregnancy I may add!) when we smiled at the thought of delivering each other’s babies. I still owe her a labour…….

At the point at which Lottie was placed upon my chest, I vividly remember these HUGE eyes looking up at me. I felt lots of things at that point in time. The biggest feeling was utter relief that it was all done. I had achieved what I had only seen other women do until that point. I had survived. I was a Mummy. What was I going to do now? The lady on the front cover of the JoJoMaman Bebe magazine that I had packed in my labour bag, appeared to have sun beams coming out of every orifice…….. where were mine?

All I could do after the birth was vomit into a paper bowl, wobbly my way out to the shower and worry about how I was ever going to poo again? Being British, a cup of tea and some amazing NHS toast would fix me up and then surely the sun beams would come. Right?

Jim carefully strapped Lottie into her car seat, she looked a lot like a little boiled potato with a slightly angry face. We took her home. Family and friends swamped our house with tears of joy and lots of pink outfits and cards. Champagne corks popped. But still no sunbeams. I felt numb. Tired. Anxious. Vacant is a good way to describe it looking back.

Like a robot I fed her, changed her and cuddled her. Feeling like maybe I’d made a mistake at times. Craving my ‘old life’ at times. Was I going to be the worst Mum ever?

Then when she was 2 weeks old I was changing her before a bath in the nursery when I decided to play a song for us both. It was Takes That’s ‘Rule the World’ and all of a sudden I was holding her close, dancing with her and the tears were streaming down my face. I felt this incredible need to keep her safe, hold her little body next to mine and never let her go. To always be there for her, keeping her safe and to love her as much as I could. I sobbed and sobbed until there was no tears left.

The sunbeams had arrived.

Interestingly the exact same events unfolded after my 2 boys were born too. The sunbeams took a while to come. But I knew that they would. I just took my time.

So if you feel numb, wobbly and a bit confused after birth. It’s ok. Take your time. Be nice to yourself. You can talk to your loved ones about it. Or write it down.

You could even try a song. I still can’t listen to that song without tears appearing.

Big hugs, Jules x

Babies & the Power of Love

Vicky & Alice from Babies in Bloom are guest bloggers for us this month, talking all about love…..

The month of February is all about love; much like motherhood!  We, at Babies in Bloom Cheltenham, have the pleasure of giving this topic food for thought.  And let’s face it, on a list of life’s important subjects, you can’t really beat ‘Love’.

Of course, all mothers love their children.  A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world.  And it is because of this that motherhood has the greatest potential influence in human life.

It’s pretty obvious that babies require love.  But did you know that their physical development actually needs it?

Amazingly, 80% of a baby’s brains develops in their first three years, so the early experiences a baby has during this time can actually sculpt the structure of their brain to build the foundations for their future.  This initial rapid growth is essentially a wiring process, where the connections that are stimulated flourish, and those that aren’t wither away.  Research shows a lack of love can result in lower production of our growth hormones.  Contrarily, emotional warmth causes release of the body’s love hormones, which stimulate growth!

So how can we ensure babies’ early experiences are positive ones?  You guessed it – Love!

Babies’ emotional environments are the most important influence on their brain development, so creating a positive atmosphere filled with love is essential.  From birth, babies instinctively seek out attachments with their mothers.  It’s no coincidence that the distance they’re able to see is from their position of feeding to their mother’s eyes, and that they’re able to recognise their mother’s smell and voice as soon as they’re born.

Babies are born ready to interact, so responding with love is key.  For example, from the very start, a baby will signal that they’re hungry, their mother responds by offering milk, and the baby indicates their contentment by sucking and settling.  Going forwards, this communication is essential for babies’ cognitive development, such as learning to talk.  When a baby babbles, their mother’s repetition of these sounds and turning them into recognisable words will eventually give meaning to their baby’s noises.

This responsiveness is also necessary for babies’ emotional development.  Babies aren’t born contented and confident.  They need their mothers to help them recognise and manage their own emotions.  Babies are full of powerful feelings, often associated with physical sensations.  When they project these overwhelming emotions, they need their mothers to make sense of them with a calm and sensitive response such as, ‘Oh dear, what’s the matter?  Maybe it’s your tummy’.  If a panicky feeling by a baby is received with a panicky response by a mother, such as, ‘I don’t know what you want!’, the baby won’t learn to understand the feeling themselves.

These are a few of the basics.  Our postnatal course explores this topic in more depth, looking into areas such as how babies uses their six main states of consciousness to guide their mothers in their care-giving, and what strategies babies use to console themselves (an awareness of which can enable mothers to allow their babies the opportunity to soothe themselves, helping them to develop resilience to adapt better to stress in the future) – in addition to all those other important topics mothers with new babies need to know about!

To summarise, early experiences really do matter and can shape the architecture of a baby’s brain; And the secret ingredient to creating the best start possible…..is Love!

“I believe in love at first sight, because I’ve been loving my mother since I opened my eyes.”

The one at the Cheltenham Birth Centre….

Here at The Baby Journey we love an honest and empowering birth story. So to kick off the month of February, here is the story about the arrival of a beautiful boy called Rory, from his Mum Kylie……..

I am a first time mum. I had all the hopes, fears and expectations that go along with that. I dared to hope I might have the ‘good birth’ but also had a strong dose of reality of what a first time labour might be like. I prepared as best I could…I went to pregnancy yoga (lotusbud yoga), I did the Baby Journey Antenatal classes, and I bounced on my ball at home whenever I could 😂 but most of all I remained relaxed and calm about what was to come!
On August 12th 2017 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy called Rory weighing 7lbs 13oz. I started contracting at about midday and arrived at Cheltenham Aveta Birth Centre at 18.45 in advanced labour. I was shown straight to a pool room, given the gas and air and helped into a lovely warm pool. But most of all….I was greeted with kindness,love and warmth by the staff and there was no internal examination to endure or twenty questions! They are the experts in normality and they knew that Rory was on his way without having to perform checks to ‘make sure’. After all first labours are always long aren’t they!!? 😜
Rory was born within 2 hours of arriving, in the birthing pool. My husband was treated with respect and the same care was extended to him. He was not a ‘spare part’.
We then spent time getting to know our son while the staff continued to care for us all and we left the following morning to begin our lives as a family of 3.
If you are lucky enough to experience a positive birth like I did and many others do, then please shout it from the rooftops, tell everyone you know (especially other pregnant mums) because the fear of birth and the shame in feeling like you had an ‘easy birth’ and so don’t have the right to share your story is what is perpetuating the fear for others. Trust me it wasn’t ‘easy’ but it wasn’t traumatic and it wasn’t horrendous and it wasn’t ‘something you have to just get through’. It was the most amazing, intense, life-changing moment of my life.
And definitely worth it!!

Making time for me….

Making time for me is not something that we find mothers do very well.

To be honest we don’t do it well ourselves, and we don’t know many mummies who prioritise themselves (actually no, can’t think of any). Especially when our little ones are little. When we have a baby who wants to be held, or rocked, or jiggled, or fed. When we have little mouths to feed, faces to wipe, bottoms to clean, tiny clothes to wash (again).

There’s always something that your family needs that seems more important than that something you wanted. A soak in the bath. A few chapters of your book. A snuggle up with a magazine. A nap. A phone call with a friend. A class at the gym. An early night. A hair cut. A run. A baking session. A manicure. A swim. A craft session. A catch up on the news. A massage. Whatever that thing is that restores you, that recharges your spirit and decompresses you again so that you can be you. The best version of you, not the slightly ratty, frazzled, stretched to the max you. Somehow it seems selfish, we feel guilty, we think something else deserves that time more. It feels indulgent, somewhere we feel like we don’t deserve it and we should give that time to something else. Someone else.

It’s bonkers. It doesn’t make any sense, we all know that we have to look after ourselves. We’ve all seen the quotes “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, “self-care is not selfish”…. but there’s a little goblin of self-doubt in us that keeps us pushing ourselves to the bottom of the list.

So, here we are in mid January, it’s rainy and grey and payday is dragging its heels. We challenge you to do something this week for you, and try to keep doing it every week from now on. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t pan out some weeks. Just try again.

Ask your partner to support you, they love you and they want you to feel good, and they need you to look after yourself as well as you look after everyone else.

We promise to do it too. We know we feel better for it. And our families feel better for that. x

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