Author: Janine Smith

Frankie Aitchison Psychotherapist & Counsellor

I have known Frankie for several years now – she’s wonderful and I am so pleased to be able to recommend her psychotherapy and counselling practice. Frankie has created a safe space for women of all ages to focus on a range of issues which could include… lack of confidence & low self-esteemlow moodunexpected deathgrief & lossbabylossinfertilityrelationship challengesmotherhood challengesisolation & loneliness To find out more about Frankie’s psychotherapy and counselling services, head over to her website:

antenatal classes newcastle tyneside

Managing birth expectations

It’s a difficult issue and one which is never perfect but it’s an important issue which I try to focus on with my classes and with my writing. Some people have general expectations about birth and others are more fixed, which a specific labour/birth in mind – this is all really valid and normal. Getting the balance right can be difficult though – over the years I have spoken to make mums who have only focused on some type of hypno as their birth prep and have felt completely equipped and prepared for the reality, which could mean more challenges. Every birth practitioner has a difference perspective on this, as does every pregnant woman – some focus only on straightforward birth for fear of jinxing it by learning more about caesareans and interventions, others focus on the straightforward and the complicated. I am a well trained and experienced antenatal teacher and I know dealing with expectations will never be spot on for every expectant parent – my practice is all about knowledge, skills and assertiveness …


I am developing a co-ordinated approach to information, feedback & experiences, suggestions, support & conversations about birth for expectant parents across Tyneside. If you are pregnant, I want you and your partner to be able to access good information and support and to benefit from honest and experienced conversation about birth and birth preparation. Pregnancy can sometimes feel isolating as you work out what are good classes to attend, what information you need to know, what’s good to read, who to follow on social media. My aim is to share a range of articles, tips, suggestions, checklists and recommendations, along with links to other sources of information and support. I will be using #tynesidebirth on Facebook and Instagram and on my website so you can find articles and get involved in the conversation. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions. Janine

antenatal classes newcastle tyneside

Birth on TV

I don’t watch many real birth programmes on TV mainly because they upset me so much and make me angry. The ones I have seen mainly show women on a bed – with no apparent reason for being there; and it’s all bright lights, interruptions and being told what to do and then is it any surprise that each labouring woman struggles and needs assistance. Labour and birth can be bloody tough – there’s pain, there’s endurance and there needs to be the right mindset/preparation, knowledge and support for the unpredictability and the amazing intensity. Women’s needs vary so much in labour but as a mother, as a doula and as a seasoned antenatal teacher I do know what can make a difference: being listened to; being asked what you need; being treated with kindness, compassion and professionalism; a gentle birth environment so you are encouraged to move and respond to the needs of your body and your baby with active birth equipment and birth pools; softer lighting and quiet; medical staff who are part …

Back to work…

The holidays are done so the practice is back open as normal with antenatal classes, baby massage, mother cuppa and 1:1 sessions. I have been a busy bee updating the website, putting plans together for new content for pregnancy, birth, babies and early parenting, prepping for new online courses/support and designing new 1:1 sessions for parents… Just get in touch if you have any queries… Janine x