All posts filed under: Let’s Talk About…

what’s the point of antenatal classes…

I work with a lot of parents – antenatally as well as postnatally – so there is always a lot of discussion around birth and preparation for it. A common themes is the assumption that all antenatal classes are the same – they’re not. There can be a lot of well-meaning antenatal classes out there but that doesn’t mean it’s effective birth preparation. Good antenatal classes can make a huge difference to confidence which means that expectant parents can have more understanding of the process, a greater belief in their ability and the confidence to ask questions, to put themselves at the centre of their care – this is so important because maternity units can be busy and even the most brilliant of midwives are juggling. Labour can be straight-forward, or it can be tough going – I am passionate about preparing you as best I can for the changes that can happen so you feel better able to go with it, to stay calm and to keep gathering the information. My antenatal classes focus …

knowing how to use your breathing

Using our breathing is being taken more seriously than ever before – with yoga, meditation, mindfulness, hypnobirthing – but it can still be ridiculed and it is still often seen as being in isolation to our every day lives. It can be used in classes and reactively with pain, panic and anxiety but it could also be used everyday, just to balance us out and to get rid of any tension we might be holding on to. I use breathing and relaxation techniques in my birth preparation sessions, as a birth doula, with postnatal mums, with anyone who is anxious. I teach and use simple but effective breathing skills to keep you calm, to head off any panic, to relax your body, to manage and ease pain. I use and teach what works for me – so I keep it about simple focus on your breath and on relaxing your body. Personally, I’m not into flowery language and descriptions – I stick to simple language and facts and I find that it works. But I …

The criticism of Meghan Markle

Crikey, where to start? Since her interview for ITV in which she has spoken about her struggles since becoming a mother and how very few people ask how she is, she has come in for a bit of a Twitter thrashing. While there are plenty of women who sympathise with Meghan as she finds her feet as a new mum (not to mention a wife, a member of the Royal family and someone who has been targeting by our press) the criticism seems to take aim at her privilege, that she shouldn’t be struggling because she has money and help. Becoming a mum can be one of the hardest transitions there is not enough people ask “How Are You Doing?” especially after those early weeks, when the expectation is that we have now adjusting, that we are over the hard bit. I don’t know Meghan, never will, she could be being dramatic (after all she was an actress) but she could also be being really honest and open about how she feels as she adjusts …

What type of birth do you want?

The response to this varies a lot and there’s obviously no exact answer – it’s so personal to everyone but that’s the point. It’s an important question to think about because it goes beyond just wanting everyone to be ok – we all want that – it can help you to focus on what you would like your labour and birth to be like, what your options are and how you make that happen. I work with expectant parents who have such different birth preparation needs – caesarean, induction, anxiety, homebirth, wanting an undisturbed labour, wanting an epidural – my job is to provide the information as well as posing the questions to work out options and strategies for more control and calm rather than over medical if that isn’t needed. Think about what you would like it to look like and then explore your options to make that happen. Labour and birth don’t have to be medically cold and without options – caesareans can be calm, induction can involve positions and gravity and a …

babyloss awareness

Surviving Babyloss

In the first few days and early weeks after my son died, I wished to feel normal again. I longed, not just for the pain to ease, but just to feel like myself again. It felt like I lived in a bubble, everyone around me was living their normal lives but I was in a very lonely, isolated bubble of vulnerability and pain. I have never felt pain like it – physical pain, mental pain that affected how much I could do, how much I could cope with, how much I could enjoy, how much I could focus on. I felt like I could break at any moment – each day was about forcing myself to get out of bed, to do something rather than just wallow; to do something rather than just desperately want my baby back. There was an aching in my arms for the baby I  couldn’t hold and a physical pain in my heart as it ached for what I had lost. In those early weeks I wasn’t sure how much …