BABY MASSAGE- A Language Of Love. Some of the amazing benefits for you and your baby.

Have you ever had a massage? If yes, then you know just how much more relaxed, lighter and well you feel following a Swedish, raindrop or hot stone. There are so many amazing health benefits to a massage, and these health benefits resonate with your baby during this holistic practice too. Baby massage offers the following:

• Pain relief (teething, colic, wind, constipation, reflux, nasal congestion)
• Reduces stress and anxiety (for your baby and you)
• Relaxing for you and your and baby
• Helps promote sleep
• Releases oxytocin, which enhances a special bond between you and your baby

 

 

During the baby massage classes and workshops I offer, as well as the health benefits for your baby, I highlight to you the importance of ‘The 3 C’s’.
Connection
Communication
Community

Connection through baby massage

A deep connection between you and your baby develops from the beginning of the massage. With continual eye contact and touch, you can’t help but constantly check in with your baby, thus building the foundations of a loving bond, and furthermore, secure attachment. Oxytocin is released and will leave you both feeling relaxed and more aligned and in tune with each other.

Communication isn’t just the art of talking, communication in baby massage is a language of love. Your baby will give you cues throughout the class and as a mother, using your maternal instincts, you may be able to understand these cues. Cues include smiles, coos, eye contact, kicking legs, crying, winging, wriggling etc. By responding to your baby’s needs, you are being a responsive parent and communicating with your baby and showing your baby that he/she is loved.

Community takes place in the workshops and classes I offer. The sense of a ‘village’ or ‘tribe’ or ‘support network’ through mummy friends really helps you as a mother to feel supported, loved, listened to and nurtured. If you are attending a 1:1 session with me, then the idea of a community can be extended in the home. Following your learning with me, you can teach other family members the massage strokes, therefore encouraging the whole family feel a part of such a loving daily ritual with your baby.

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Towards the end of the classes or workshops, I always finish with a discussion about a motherhood topic, such as: mum guilt, self love/self care, baby development and even returning back to work. It’s important for all of the mums I teach, to feel heard and validated. By talking and listening to one another in a nurturing environment really helps to reassure you as a Mother.

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I trained with Blossom and Berry Baby Massage and Yoga and learnt so much. I am so passionate about forwarding on this knowledge and teaching you and your baby. After all, we are raising the next generation and early integration is so important if we want our babies to thrive in life. If you would like to learn baby massage with me the please get in get in touch I offer so much more than a parent and baby class, I offer support and I teach love. #lovecreateslove

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INHALE, EXHALE: Breathing Exercises To Support You Holistically From Pregnancy, Through To Birth And Beyond.

Breathing is second nature to us all. We take our first breath the moment we are born. We breathe in, we breathe out. We inhale, we exhale. But do we know truly how to breathe effectively? Being mindful of our breath can really help us to stay calm, focused, and relaxed. Breathing techniques can help reduce our anxiety, regulate blood pressure and keep our cortisol levels to a minimum. Hence why breathing techniques are taught in some antenatal classes (especially hypnobirthing) For a woman to birth her baby with as little intervention as possible, oxytocin needs to be present. And for oxytocin to be present, cortisol levels need to be at a minimum. And for cortisol levels to be at a minimum, a pregnant woman needs to be as stress-free and as calm as possible. And to help a pregnant woman to stay as calm as possible, you begin with the breath.

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Below are a few breathing techniques and exercises that have helped me on my motherhood journey so far:

• GOLDEN THREAD
This is a breathing technique used in yoga practice. The inhale is taken through the nose, followed by a longer exhale (can be doubled) and passed through the mouth with pursed lips. All the while, imagining that a golden thread is moving from your lips in a figure of eight motion/ or a long straight thread.
I learned this breathing technique in pregnancy yoga and applied it during labour with both of my daughters. For me, it worked wonders.

• J BREATHING
This is a breathing technique taught in hypnobirthing classes. It’s a technique used to help assist you during the birth of your baby during the ‘pushing’ phase. By breathing in through your nose and out through your nose (whilst imagining you’re breathing out the motion of a J bend/pipe- or imagining you’re doing a poo!!) you are using the muscles to open up the space for your baby to be born.

• BREATHING AND STRETCHING
This can be applied to any stage in your life, but especially motherhood. Being a mother is testing at times and when our children push the boundaries, we are pushed to our limits. By stopping in our tracks, taking deep breaths in and out and really being mindful of the present, we are helping to diffuse any tension and stress. I have raised my voice a few times (I am human and struggle sometimes too) and I find it supportive if I roll my shoulders back and take a few breaths. My husband and i also encourage our eldest daughter to take a big stretch up to the sky and a deep breath and to repeat this three times. It helps to calm her down and settles her after she’s been crying or having a meltdown.

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As with a lot of breath work, you may benefit from having your eyes closed. You may find this helps you to stay grounded, focused and feel more connected to your mind, body and soul. Some say the best things in life are free and breathing is a true example of that. Breathing allows us to gain clarity and concentration in our lives. It also helps us to slow down and live in the moment.

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NEWBORN BABY, NEWBORN MOTHER. An insight into the ‘change’ from Womanhood to Motherhood.

 

“THE MOMENT A CHILD IS BORN, THE MOTHER IS ALSO BORN. SHE NEVER EXISTED BEFORE. THE WOMAN EXISTED, BUT THE MOTHER, NEVER. A MOTHER IS SOMETHING ABSOLUTELY NEW”.

This is a famous quote from the spiritual guru, Osho. I can certainly relate to this. I’m a mother of two and I saw myself as a mother for the nine months leading up to my first born’s birth, but postpartum, I soon realised that carrying her for that time was just preparation for my role as a mother. Both pregnancies have helped me to build a connection and bond between my daughters and I. and both fourth trimesters have helped me and my daughters to deepen our connection and build the foundations of secure attachment.

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For mums who are fortunate to have given birth, you’ll know the emotions that you feel when you first meet your baby. Happiness, elation, contentment, overwhelm, exhaustion, fear, love. And Change. A huge change occurs when we become mothers. I have always dreamed of having children and a family of my own since I was young. But I now believe that wanting children and actually becoming a mother are completely separate.

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Becoming a mother changes a woman. Motherhood changes a woman physically and emotionally. For me, all of the following changed:
• My priorities
• My responsibilities
• My values
• My purpose in life
• My status
• My relationship with my husband
• My body
• My skin
Without realising, the old Me had changed, for the better, for the worse, all within a moment, and that moment was the birth of my first daughter. I will always be forever grateful to my daughter as she helped me discover my why”.

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During the pregnancy of my second daughter, I read Dr Oscar Serralech’s “the postnatal depletion cure” for any of you bookworm mums out there, eager to learn about the mental health of mothers postnatally, then this book is for you! It gave me a greater understanding of what I had experienced during those early stages of motherhood with my first daughter, and it’s helped me during these early stages again (my daughter is 11 weeks old) by giving me the tools, knowledge and power to be a more confident, well and supported mother.

DR OSCAR SERRALECH BOOK

I strongly believe that motherhood changes a woman and none of us are the women we once were. I’ve seen women in high powered jobs find motherhood the toughest job in the world, due to its unpredictability. I’ve seen the most laid back of women searching for some kind of routine or structure when becoming a mother. And I myself have found a strength of assertiveness, will and a backbone I didn’t know existed before motherhood.

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There are so many different types of mothers and so many different ways to mother. Just like our children, no two mothers are the same. But one thing we do all have in common is change. And as Alexandra Sacks explains in her Ted talk, she gives us a new way to think about the change in motherhood. She gently explains the transition between womanhood and motherhood and she calls this change, this transition ‘Matrescence’. So mums, we all go through, Matrescence, together, that’s our common ground, our deep connection between mother to mother. And remember, when your baby is born, the Mother in you is also born.

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FINDING AND MAKING THE TIME FOR SELF LOVE- LET’S MOTHER OURSELVES BEFORE WE MOTHER OUR CHILDREN

 

So here I am back to blogging after 9 short weeks. I posted my last blog just a few days before Florence was born. All parents say how quickly time goes when you have children, Matilda is two already, so I know first-hand how fast the time goes. But life with two is just zooming past, it really is. I give gratitude daily for having two wonderful daughters and try my hardest to appreciate every little moment, milestone and memory.

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Being a mum is the most magical thing that has ever happened to me. It’s allowed me to see and live my purpose in life, it’s given me a strength I didn’t know I had and it’s allowed me to be the best version of myself. It’s also been the most challenging too. I’ve lost my patience, I lost my identity for a while, and I’ve lost time for me. Overall, being a mum is bloody hard work, it’s exhausting. But gifting myself self-love daily really helps me to stay grounded and not lose my patience so much.

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Self-love is something I am passionate about, because without a happy, calm mum, how can we expect to raise happy, calm babies? Before children I didn’t label my beauty treatments, bath times, the books I read, the courses I would take, alone time, meditation, gym classes as ‘self-love’ I just saw them all as a little bit of ‘me time’ and took this time for granted. Now I’m lucky if I can have pee in peace. Self-love to me is so important as it allows me to feel good, achieve better and stay sane. I truly believe we need to mother ourselves before we can mother our children.

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Being a mum of two now, I find it even more difficult to find the time for self-love. For me, self-love isn’t about relaxing in an hour long bath (although it used to be 9 weeks ago) Self-love as a busy, exhausted mum is finding little pockets of time on dog walks, whilst cleaning the house, during breastfeeding, straight after a night feed, during my daughter’s naptimes, before bed, in bed. And using that precious time wisely, really wisely. Over the last 9 weeks I’ve managed the following (with my daughters in tow):

• 45minute walk most days
• Daily gratitude
• Mindfulness and meditation
• Naps when my body has needed them
• 15 minute journaling most days
• Face masks
• Read my book
• chamomile tea most evenings
• A free online ‘Master your message’ marketing course run by the inspirational Suzy Ashworth, Mindset and Business Coach
• 10 minute self Reiki treatments most days
• Listened to Ted talks and podcasts daily
• Reflexology appointment by the lovely Claire at Your Perfect Balance (ok, so I didn’t have Matilda with me, but I did have my Florence, and she enjoyed some reflexology too, which was just magic)
• Written this blog

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My self-love routine is not at all what is used to be (although I will get those days back, I’m sure) but because it’s so important to me, I somehow find the time, I make the time. And in return, I’m even more grateful for the time, because I know how precious it really is.

To the exhausted, tired, burnt out Mother, if there’s one thing you can do today, it’s to gift yourself some self-love, You truly deserve it.

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MOTHERHOOD OVERWHELM- How To Recognise This Big Feeling And Make Small Changes in Your Lifestyle To Become The Best Mum You Can Possibly Be

Have you ever felt like you can’t cope? Like you’re suffocating? Like you’re drowning? If so, then you may be battling with overwhelm. I had never suffered with overwhelm until about 6 months ago. My husband asked me why I had been so stressed and emotional (being 8 weeks pregnant and none the wiser may have had something to do with it) Soon after that, we found out we were pregnant with our second baby. At that moment, the thought of having another baby, along with a toddler, a recent move, a puppy and three part time jobs… filled me with dread, anxiety and OVERWHELM.

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I had a few melt downs and some big emotions to deal with, and for someone who practices reiki, mindfulness and meditation, it was so out of character or of me and I knew something (or many things) in my life had to give. I watched a Facebook live video featuring JENNIE HARRISON all about overwhelm and how to channel our feelings. She spoke openly and honestly and I started to understand the root causes behind my feelings and raging hormones.

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I focused on the main areas of where I felt my overwhelm was being triggered and I put everything onto paper (this helped a lot)
• EMOTIONAL- I had lack of energy, I was tired, exhausted, sleep deprived. Pregnant!!
• MENTAL- I had lists upon lists that I kept in my head. At the time I wrote some things down, but not all.
• PHYSICAL- mum and baby groups, cooking, cleaning, work, socialising, housework.

All of the above contributed to my feeling of depletion and overwhelm, and I knew that to look after my growing baby and the rest of my family (and most importantly, myself) I needed to make some changes to my lifestyle:
• I took naps or rested when I was able to
• My husband and I hired a cleaner (since I have gone on maternity leave, financial circumstances have changed and we now have no cleaner, but Im ok with that)
• I stopped teaching sing and sign (I would eventually like to go back to teaching this class)
• I continued to write daily lists (but with a timeframe included)
• I started pregnancy yoga
• I deleted myself from some WhatsApp chats
• I dedicated one day a week to just me and my daughter
• I started to say no (to events and things which weren’t fulfilling me)
• I reduced my expectations of myself and started to do things for me (Self-love and self-care are so important)

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By making small changes in these areas of my life, I felt a lot more organised, balanced and content. Now, I know when to recognise those feelings of overwhelm, I take deep breaths, or I get an early night, or I run myself a bath, or I ask my husband for help.

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The daily grind can really take its toll on us mums and it can honestly feel like groundhog day with the piles of washing, cooking, cleaning, work, playgroups, keeping up with friends and family (I’m sure you can all relate) But by compartmentalising each area of our lives and making small changes to our lifestyles, we can help ourselves to become the best mums that we can possibly be. Sometimes in life, something has to give, it doesn’t mean to say that we are giving in, just letting go of what doesn’t serve us anymore.

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SELF LOVE. LEARNING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF-LOVE AND SELF-CARE. AND LEARNING HOW TO TRULY LOVE YOURSELF.

 

SELF-CARE
Self-care, I discovered very recently, is just one strand of self-love. Self-care includes acts and practices such as:
• Bubble baths
• Early nights
• The odd glass of wine
• Chilling out with a cuppa
• Reading a good book
• Spa days
• Hair appointments
• Beauty treatments

Self-care is all about the small ways to give us women and mums a little boost, to make us feel rested and relaxed and to make us feel good about ourselves, whereas self-love (You could say) is on a much bigger scale.

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SELF-LOVE
Self-love is more than a cup of tea when you’re feeling down, it’s more than a bit of colour on your nails when you’re feeling a bit low. Self-love is truly loving yourself from the inside out. Its acceptance. It’s setting invisible boundaries for yourself and others around you. It’s forgiving yourself. It’s finding and knowing your strengths. It’s being intuitive. It’s being positive in your truest form. Self-love covers many self-nurturing qualities, and self-care is just one strand.

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SELF-LOVE RETREAT
On 9th September, I attended a self-love day retreat with Infinite Reiki . I cannot speak highly enough of Sarah Varela. She is a wonderful reiki teacher, healer, mother, and all round inspiring person. Sarah and her friend and fellow colleague, Charlotte (who I had met for the first time and who is equally as lovely and inspirational) both led the retreat with such compassion, empathy and grace. I loved every minute of it. I would love to explain more, but ‘’what happens in the reiki room, stays in the reiki room’’.

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THE TOOLS OF SELF-LOVE
I’m not telling you to scrap your self-care rituals at all, because these little doses of care all help towards loving ourselves a little more. Bath time for me is my happy place and I will always have time for a bath, a cuppa and a good book. But try adding some of these self-love tools to your day, or even one of these tools to your day. Trust me, they will help you on your self-love journey and help you to become the best version of you:
MEDITATE– meditation helps your mind and body to relax and unwind. Its proven to affect attention and brain function if practiced regularly. Just five minutes a day can help you and improve your wellbeing.
MIND-OVER-MUM TIP– the next time you have peace and quiet, sit up, close your eyes for five minutes and be still. It won’t come naturally to you straight away, but over time you will learn to be still, be calm and just ‘be’.
MINDFULNESS– mindfulness is an act which helps you to pay particular attention to the present moment. We are so good at being busy and are often on autopilot that we forget about the here and now.
MIND-OVER-MUM TIP– Next time you brush your child’s hair, pay closer attention to the softness of their hair, the colour of their eyes, the sound of their voice.
YOGA– Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on the mind, body and soul. Its less about looking good and more about feeling great.
MIND-OVER-MUM TIP– trying to fit in a yoga class can be tricky with a busy schedule. Try downloading a yoga app, that way you can practice yoga in the comfort of your own home.
JOURNALING– Journaling can help you to get over emotional barriers and hurdles and see the good in a bad day. Journaling is a great everyday tool for developing mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
MIND-OVER-MUM TIP– create a journal in the form of a diary or a note pad. Before bed, write down all of your thoughts and feelings, write down dreams and aspirations. You can even get crafty with doodling and different colour pens.
GRATITUDE– Gratitude is a wonderful thing and makes you feel better about yourself.
MIND-OVER-MUM TIP-When waking in the mornings or before bed at night, try this useful tool. Be grateful to three people in your life, or three things you accomplished in your day, or the yummy food someone cooked you, or how about the person that held open the door for you today.
AFFIRMATION CARDS- Affirmation cards can be a lovely gift to ourselves. The words or quotes of inspiration and encouragement teach us to be kinder to ourselves and in turn, treat ourselves with more compassion and love.
MIND-OVER-MUM TIP– next time you do an online shop, add some affirmation cards to your basket, or you could even try making your own affirmation cards.
LETTER WRITING– letter writing is a great way to blow away old cobwebs and rid yourself of any guilt or anxiety.
MIND-OVER-MUM TIP– You could write down things that you’re afraid to say out loud or things it’s now too late to say. Be it a letter to yourself, a friend or a family member. Just be mindful of getting rid of the letter, a little like getting rid of your guilty or unwanted thoughts and feelings.

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So, self-love we have discovered is good for our mind, body and soul. It helps us to stay calm, loved and nurtured. It encourages us to be kinder to ourselves and helps us to live our best lives. Go on… live your best life.

My Pregnancy number 2 Announcement. Feelings and all.

 

Rather than post a happy picture on Instagram or write a lengthy post on Facebook letting the world know I’m pregnant with baby number two, I wanted to take you on the journey of my pregnancy so far, feelings and all. I know of the phrase ‘second child syndrome’ but there should definitely be a phrase called ‘second pregnancy syndrome’.
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It was a romantic feeling with my first pregnancy of Matilda, my husband was downstairs cooking whilst I was upstairs in the bathroom taking the test. Together, in that moment of anticipation and waiting, we saw the two lines appear and were over the moon. I laughed with happiness, he almost cried with joy. We were on cloud nine, it was the beginning of our little family and the start of many happy memoires, and we were so excited. I would love to say the same scenario happened with our second pregnancy, but it didn’t.
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Our second pregnancy with this little babe felt so different, feels so different. We had both wondered why I had been feeling so tired most of the time, I put it down to being a mum to a toddler and a puppy, starting up a business, having a part time job and running a house. I suppose subconsciously I knew those factors were not the reason to me feeling complete and utterly exhausted, so whilst he my husband was at work, I peed on a stick. Two lines appeared, my heart sank and before I knew it I was off to a baby class with Matilda. I had no time to process how I felt, but at the same time couldn’t think of anything else.
I video called my husband later that day and told him the news, he was happy, shocked but happy. I still didn’t know how I felt (and it makes me sad right now to even write that). My first pregnancy I fully embraced, I got every book and app going, I took care of myself with meditation, yoga, baths, sleep, I started online shopping for all things baby. But this time round, it’s different, so different.

I am terrible for keeping my own secrets, so we (well, I) told a few people before we had our first scan. But saying it out loud didn’t quite feel real though. During my first pregnancy I had terrible nausea for the first 14 weeks, so I physically felt pregnant, every single day. However this pregnancy, no nausea, no sickness. I’ve had no symptoms at all really (except for the heightened emotions, hormonal imbalances and the massive sense of overwhelm).
pregnant 2One day in particular, I hate to say this out loud to the world, but I didn’t wat to be pregnant, I know that is such an insensitive thing to say, but I didn’t. I felt so overwhelmed by life as it was already, this pregnancy just added to the overwhelm.

Within about four weeks of finding out we were expecting, we had the scan. Well, the flood gates opened that day. I saw our baby on the screen and I cried. I cried out of guilt, guilt of not wanting to be pregnant, guilt of not feeling 100% happy with being pregnant, guilt of deserting this baby (because that’s how I felt I had behaved). In that moment, I said a prayer in my mind, I apologised for abandoning this baby and I made a promise to love this baby with all of my heart and fully embrace pregnancy, just like I had done with Matilda.
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Since our scan, I have started reading Sophie Fletcher’s Mindful Hypnobirthing and I am looking forward to reading Kimberley ann Johnson’s The fourth trimester. I have booked onto a pregnancy yoga class, and I am taking more time out for my self-care practices such as making time for bubble baths and looking forward to enjoying a self-love day retreat.
books.pngPlease don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that I am pregnant, I don’t think someone can say they aren’t ‘trying’ to conceive if they technically aren’t using contraception. I just didn’t know I would feel the way I have done, that’s all. Our dream family of four and a puppy is on its way of becoming complete and after seeing the scan and seeing baby for the very first time, I am honestly looking forward to the next two trimesters. I am so excited to see Matilda become a big sister. And I can’t wait to meeting our little baby.
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MOTHERHOOD STRUGGLES, HOW STRUGGLES CAN LEAD TO COMPARISON AND HOW COMPARISON CAN LEAD TO JUDGEMENT.

 

This blog, some of you may be pleased to know is short and sweet (a bit like me 😉 ) I’ll be honest, I’ve tried to think of hundreds of words to write to fill the space, but I really don’t need to. The message I’m trying to get across to all you lovely, good, hard-working, strong, patient mothers is plain to see throughout in just a few words. I hope you enjoy this one and it really helps you to think differently and be a little more confident as a mother.

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Every mother at some point has struggled. Struggled through pregnancy, struggled with their birth, struggled with the beginnings of motherhood.
Motherhood struggles include:
• Feeding
• Teething
• Sleep deprivation
• Birth trauma
• Loss of identity
• Fear of judgement
• Lack of patience
• Mum guilt
• Lack of self-confidence/ self-worth

The list is endless and the struggles are real. As a mum, many of us learn to put on a brave face, hold the family together and put ourselves at the bottom of the pile. This pressure is tough for us mums already, so why are we making it tougher than it already has to be by comparing ourselves and our children?

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Every mother and child has their own struggles but mums, it’s so important not to compare another mothers struggles with your own, as comparison is so unhealthy for anybody. The thing is mums, everyone copes and deals with their own motherhood problems in their own way. What may look like a happy mother on the outside may really be an emotional mother on the inside. What may seem like a perfect, made up mother on the outside, may actually be a lonely mother on the inside. What may seem like a mother who has the perfect child on the outside, may really be a mother whose so sleep deprived from her child’s bad sleeping habits that she’s breaking inside. Two business mothers I follow on Instagram are The Step Up Club and on a podcast with Motherkind one day, they said this quote and it really has stuck with me:

“Don’t compare someone’s outside to your inside”

I’ll let you just sit with that quote for a while, re-read it if you need to, write it down on a post it note, have it framed. Just remember it.
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Mums, what I’m trying to say is, please don’t compare your struggles with any other mothers. I’ve thought a lot about this recently and I’ve come up with this:

‘Comparison is the first stage of judgement’

And mums, it’s not pretty. As soon as we struggle, we start comparing, and as soon as we start comparing we plant a little seed of judgement in our head. This could be judgement about others or even about ourselves. That seed grows and grows until it becomes an ugly weed. So mums, instead of comparing and judging, we could be using this energy into supporting other mothers and ourselves. Instead of knocking ourselves down, try building ourselves up. Try to pick out your good qualities as a mother, because trust me, every mother has at least one. Just remember, we all have our own struggles and we all have our own insecurities. But let’s all try to be a little kinder to ourselves and to one another. The struggles are real and motherhood is underestimated, but fellow mums, motherhood is such a wonderful experience and such a gift, so let’s all try to embrace it and love (almost) every minute of it.

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Self-Care During Pregnancy. My Self-Care Journey

 

SELF CARE. SELFISH OR NOT?
It was only during pregnancy that I started to be more aware and conscious of self-care and the importance of it. Before then, the phrase ‘self-care’ would have screamed selfish or self-indulgent to me. During pregnancy though, I had more care for myself than I ever had before. I did everything I possibly could to take care of my mind, body and soul (and my growing baby). From baths every night to weekly pregnancy yoga classes, from daily morning meditation practice to pregnancy massages. Taking care of ourselves is not a luxury, it’s an essential. And it’s extremely important during pregnancy.

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FIRST TRIMESTER
I found out we were pregnant (I always say we) at about 3-4 weeks. It was the most surreal feeling seeing positive on the three (yes three) pregnancy sticks. I felt very sick for the first seventeen weeks of my pregnancy, although I was lucky enough to never be sick. I took this time to nurture myself with a daily morning yoga and meditation routine which would set me up for the day, I found it gave me time to rest and recharge. I would try having early nights and I learnt to say no. For someone who used to be a social butterfly and out most school nights, saying no was a big step for me. Due to the nausea, I swapped my three big meals a day for about seven small snacks instead. I traded toast for bananas, mackerel salads for cheese and crackers and cereal bars for cherry tomatoes (I craved cherry tomatoes). I listened to my body and what my body needed, my body had. I have to say though, during my whole pregnancy I treated myself to one too many afternoons teas, forget the saying ‘eating for two’, my mum said I was ‘eating for three’…oops.

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SECOND TRIMESTER
This trimester I felt on top of the world (as many pregnant women do) the sickness had gone, I had the best night’s sleep most nights and I was finally enjoying being pregnant. I have always been a tired person and able to sleep anywhere, so although the tiredness hadn’t fully disappeared, I managed it and every single day would have a thirty minute lunchtime nap at work after my cheese and crackers. Every night I would enjoy a warm bubble bath and really pamper myself with time out. I loved every minute of my pregnancy during this trimester. I did a lot of reading and research and I actually felt like I was a mother already. I joined a wonderful weekly pregnancy yoga class with Naomi ‘Yogababe’ I signed up to a water birth class and a hypnobirthing class and I was so excited for my birth, my husband and I just couldn’t wait to meet our baby. I felt I truly embraced pregnancy and felt so connected to my body and my baby.

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THIRD TRIMESTER
When I was about seven months pregnant I developed excruciating hip pain. My body struggled to cope with the weight gain, I found it hard to walk, stand, drive and get in and out of bed. I saw my GP who signed me off work for two weeks (before that I had taken about three sick days in about ten years) my GP prescribed me medication and referred me to a physiotherapist. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even use my prescription because I was so intent on not taking any pain relief, not even paracetamol, prior to my birth. My way of thinking was that it would hinder my chances of having the natural birth I hoped for (and very fortunately had). I wanted to choose a holistic route as possible for my hip pain, so I went on to have osteopathy and reflexology. One session of reflexology worked wonders. The woman I saw worked her magic and I would recommend this treatment to any woman with any kind of suffering in her life. It was so transformative. During this trimester I had two of the most amazing pregnancy massages at the Thermae bath spa (as a birthday treat from my husband) and at Beauty at The Bay which I can’t recommend enough. I really took this time to pamper myself and rest as much as possible prior to my baby’s arrival. All the time I kept up my daily meditation, baths, reading and weekly yoga classes to keep my mind and body well looked after and nourished.

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YOUR GROWING BABY NEEDS YOU
I hope you’ve found lot of self-care tips throughout this blog and are really enjoying your pregnancy journey, after all your pregnancy journey is just the beginning of your motherhood journey and you deserve to be looked after and loved. If you’re still struggling with the whole idea of self-care, then try taking a different approach to it. Instead of thinking of ‘you’, think of your growing baby. Your growing baby NEEDS you to be well enough and healthy enough and rested enough so you can in turn provide them with the wellness and health they deserve. Self-care starts with you, and remember it is not a luxury, it is an essential.

Mum guilt. What we feel guilty for and how we can shift our mindset.

MUM GUILT
Mum guilt is a real thing. Many of us mothers feel that overwhelming sense of guilt and if you are one of the lucky ones who don’t, then you have probably learnt to become so confident and happy with your decision making that you don’t let the guilt affect you so much, hats off to you mothers.

Mum guilt can rear its ugly head in all shapes and forms:

• Breast feeding your baby whilst your partner or family member are cooking or cleaning around you
• Napping with your baby whilst There’s a hundred jobs to do in the house
• Going back to work after maternity leave
• Leaving you baby for the first time overnight
• Seeing your baby cry at nursery at drop off time

I have experienced all these forms of mum guilt throughout my motherhood journey so far and its not a pleasant feeling. In fact it’s a very emotional and depressing feeling, as many of you mums can probably relate to? But mums, I’ve soon come to realise that it’s us and nobody else, who put that pressure and that guilt on ourselves. So mums, if it’s us that puts that guilt and pressure onto ourselves, then surely it’s us who can just as easily shift that guilty feeling too.

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HOW DO WE SHIFT THE MUM GUILT?
There are some ways to shift the mum guilt and they all start with us, how we can adapt to different scenarios, change our attitude about things and shift our mind-set into a more positive one. We can try at least, can’t we mums?
• During breastfeeding or napping with your baby, instead of thinking that you’re not helping or you’re letting the house go to ruins, change your way of thinking. You are helping your family. By feeding, comforting and supporting your baby with so much goodness and nutrition, you are contributing to your growing family.
• During those times when you nap at the same time as your baby, don’t ever feel guilty or bad about it. You are showing nothing but care, affection and love to your baby and in turn you are aiding your body to rest, relax and heal. After all mums, you and your baby’s health and wellbeing are so much more important than any housework or chores.
• Unless you are a mum who can’t wait to get back into the flow of work and own a little bit of independence once again, going back to work can make many mums feel so guilty. Guilty about leaving your baby and missing valuable time with them. For those mums who do feel that guilt, try to reframe your thinking and concentrate on your time at work as serving a purpose. A purpose to earn money for your family, to pay bills, to treat your family (or even yourself)

• Leaving your baby for the first time overnight can be quite daunting and sad. But mums, think of the reason why you’re leaving your baby. Is it to go out with your partner? Is it to go out with your friends? mums, please don’t feel guilty for that. You need your time with your partner and your friends more than ever. It’s important, well deserved and well earned. I remember the first time my husband and I left our baby overnight, it was the evening of our best friend’s wedding. And you know what? I had the best night dancing with my friends and I had the best sleep after five months.
• Seeing your baby cry at the nursery drop off can be heart wrenching. The nursery conversation is a controversial one and I will the leave the controversy for another blog. But from my experience, the tears do stop, the smiles do increase and your baby’s brain development, social skills, empathy and knowledge all increase. So mums in this case, surely all the positives outweigh the negatives.

present parenting

Present parenting to help diffuse the mum guilt
Mums, I hope this helps you to slowly change your mindset. Of course nothing is better for your baby than a mother’s love, your love and your time. But let’s stop putting that mum guilt onto ourselves. As long as you are completely present with your baby and you’re content with your parenting then you may find the guilt diffuses slightly.
When I was listening to a **motherkind** podcast with Marianne Williamson it made me think about my mum guilt. It was a controversial podcast but she gave some good advice:
‘’make sure you spend at least one hour a day, just you and your baby’’
I am now fully conscious and aware of my time with my daughter. On the days before I go to work and she goes to nursery or grandma’s house, I make sure I have a whole hour with her. This is quality time to play, read, sing, colour, dance, whatever her little heart desires. I am one hundred percent present and value that time so much with her. The nursery drop off is a much happier one and the mum guilt is no longer.
motherkind photo