All posts filed under: Birth, Baby & Family

A unique range courses and support for expectant and new parents across Tyneside

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 …

#tynesidebirth

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

Mothers and the emotional load

Much is written about the motherload – the organising of children’s schedules and the household, – but let’s focus on the emotional load for a second – feeling responsible for, monitoring and worrying about your child’s wellbeing and development. It’s a huge load to carry, it takes time and investment and it can be overwhelming and exhausting. It’s part of the parenting package, it is crucial to older children and teenagers yet it is another invisible role often of mothers although I am sure plenty of dads take this on as well. Children always need our time and attention, as parents we need to listen to what they are really saying through, often through their actions rather than their words. And this is vital as children get older and then become teenagers – we often need to be their cheerleader, their counsellor, their life coach and their personal assistant (in addition to taxi driver, cook and entertainment’s officer) for them and their friends. This role starts when we carry our newborn baby when they need …

birth and new baby newcastle and tyneside

My experience of birth trauma…

I experienced birth trauma after the birth of my third baby 12 years ago, which left me with PTSD. Initially it was assumed that I was ill because my son – who was born with a severe heart defect – died during heart surgery when he was 3 days old. But it was only when I started seeing a psychotherapist who specialised in grief and trauma that we worked out that beyond the grief and trauma of losing a child, there was also birth trauma. It was a complex trauma of grief with the impact of an emotional pregnancy and the death of my baby. Being pregnant with a baby who had two life-threatening defects was emotional torture in many ways – with additional scans, discussions with consultants, a great deal of hope, a great deal of despair and helplessness, along with plans for his birth, if he lived that long and an attempt to prepare for early life in the heart unit. If Jamie had lived, we faced months in hospital with him so there …

When birth is bad…

Everyone wants a straight-forward birth with mum and baby 100% ok at the end of it – of course we do, that is not too much to ask. But pregnancy and birth can be unpredictable and it can be impacted by different factors. I have been working with expectant parents for almost 18 years so I know birth and its preparation well, as well the varied expectations of parents and what can impact labour and cause it to be more complicated. I am passion about equipping parents as well as I can for the unpredictability, of working with their midwife/doctor to continue to gather information, to know their options, to be able to stay as calm as possible and to put themselves at the centre of their care. But I never make promises of an easy, straight-forward birth and my sessions include lots of discussion about the reality of birth. This is combined with positivity about mindset, robust coping strategies, assertiveness and just breathing to stay calm because you have to put yourself in the …