Letter to a new mother on Mother's Day

Dear New Mother,

CONGRATULATIONS you amazing woman. 

You have just done something truly magnificent. 

You have grown a child within you, and brought them into this world. 

Extra big kudos to you if this is the first time you have done this, as you have just undergone one of life’s great transformations to become a mother. A mother has been born as well as a baby.

When I think about you, I can’t help but be flooded with memories of my own journey into motherhood.

'Tis the season

Christmas: Lists. Shopping. Decorating. Wrapping. Christmas craft. Presentation ceremonies. Dance concerts. Carols. Christmas catch ups. Cooking. Eating ... Fall in a heap.

Sound familiar, mamas?

If this is you, it’s time to slow down, take stock and take some time for ‘self care’.

Amongst the Christmas craziness, I often find that this time of the year can actually become a time of reflection.

In fact I love this about Christmas.

Once a caesarean, not always a caesarean: tips for planning VBAC

So, you have previously had a caesarean and are now planning your next birth.

Congratulations!

There is much to weigh up when considering your birth options after having a caesarean. Anyone who finds themselves in this situation will likely be looking for the best and safest option for themselves and for their baby, and will be considering whether to have a repeat caesarean or to attempt a vaginal birth after (their earlier) caesarean - commonly referred to as VBAC.

Looking at all your options can help you plan a positive birth experience. Many mums choose to have a repeat caesarean, while many other mums plan a VBAC.

So how do you make these decisions to help you plan a positive birth - whatever your chosen path is? 

 

 

Why Calmbirth® Rocks

Yesterday there was a knock at the door.

It was a Dad who had attended my Calmbirth® classes with his wife a couple of months ago.

This man was beaming.

He had come from the nearby hospital to the share the glorious news of the birth of his son.

I hugged him, and I felt my heart swell. I felt so happy to hear this news.

The birth of a baby is always wonderful news, but this one was pretty special. When I first met this couple they were fearful as their previous baby was stillborn. There were a lot of complex emotions around this pregnancy and birth.

I watched this couple bravely take steps towards planning for their birth during the classes, and I witnessed them change a little. Their body language changed, they let go of some of their fear, and they re-focussed and prepared for this birth.

By the end of the weekend they were openly sharing their story, and there was a sense of optimism about their future.

Please forgive me if I say so, but I have the #bestjob in the world.

Blessingway: a powerful and empowering celebration of an imminent birth

The upcoming birth of a baby heralds much excitment and many cultures have traditions to celebrate this. 

You will have heard of, and possibly have attended, a baby shower where, generally, female friends and relatives of the mother shower her with gifts for her baby. Other cultures focus on the needs of the mother during the later stages of her pregnancy, her transition into motherhood and her preparation for birth.

One such tradition which is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to a baby shower is a Blessingway.

A Blessingway - or Mother Blessing - draws from a traditional Navajo ceremony. The ceremony is (usually) a gathering of women - a ‘women’s circle’ - that involves a variety of rituals to honour the pregnant woman, providing love and positive energy to encourage and support her preparation for birth, and allow her to receive all the positive female energy being offered. The ceremony is designed to reflect the wishes of the mother.

Confessions of an almost-reformed-kinda-control-freakish mum

In ‘stereotypicalland’ Mum spends more time at home looking after babies and kids. Mum is organised, efficient – and sometimes a little bit crazy – keeping the household rolling. She will also have her way of doing things, and will often expect Dad to do things the same way. 

But alas - dads are wired differently. Their brains just don’t operate in the same way (– as ‘normal’ mum ones do!). 

I was given some good advice as a new mum. It was to expect that Dad wouldn’t parent in the same way that I would. 

And that is OK.

In fact, it is wonderful. 

This wise person strongly suggested I resist the urge to tell ‘Dad’ how to do it ‘properly’. This will be hard, she said. But you need to hold your tongue. Zip it. 

And it was hard.

Birth stock photos – does a picture tell a thousand words?

This blog thing is pretty new to me. I am enjoying it, and I like it when all the fragments come together. The aesthetics of a blog are also important to me. It’s very satisfying to find the perfect image to accompany the piece.

Like my work, my blogs are mostly about birth, babies and parenting – nothing too unusual, and yet the available ‘stock’ photos of birth disturbingly misrepresent normal birth. It is near impossible to find realistic photos that reflect what occurs and what I see at births. I am trying to work out why…

Yes - I do get that birth is a private experience, and most women probably don’t want to put their vaginas on the internet (well, some are quite keen to, but that’s a whole other story…!).

However, with the increasing popularity of professional birth photography, I am surprised that there are not more realistic images of births out there – or even ‘fake’ photos at least trying to fairly accurately mimic ‘real’ birth scenarios.

Hi Mum – it’s me! How babies communicate from day one

Birth.

A brand new baby. 

A wonderful, exciting and intense time. 

Without doubt, many new mums and dads are ‘jolted’ into parenthood - the steep learning curve in the initial weeks of parenthood can leave us feeling tired, overwhelmed and unsure.

For first-time parents this is all ‘new’ after all, and most of us look for guidance, finding ourselves searching desperately for the instruction manual for this new little person. 

The mass of parenting books can be contradictory, as can the suggestions of well-meaning friends and rellies.... 

All the advice can be confusing.

Labour land, rock gods and The Big 4 – A guide to understanding birth hormones

The birth process for mammals is a hormonally driven process.

Having a good understanding of this process can help pregnant mothers work with their body in labour, as the 'cocktail' of hormones that can flow through a women’s body during labour can either ‘support’ labour or cause the uterus to work less effectively and cause pain to increase. 

This wonderful hormonal cocktail mix is responsible for starting labour, strengthening contractions, providing pain relief and even slowing or stopping labour - but how do we stimulate the hormones that support labour and manage the ones that cause the uterus to work less effectively and cause pain to increase?