Thursday, May 21, 2015

Week 18

I skipped last week because there wasn't much to write. I've been feeling ok and we went for a private scan to check the baby was too, everything is as it should be.

The past week I've been wondering if my uterus is about to drop out and my vagina fall off, the pressure in that area has been insane. It's the weirdest feeling in the world and it's so hard to describe but I've been told by Clemmie that it won't fall out / off. Phew. My boobs really cannot grow any bigger, Lil has established they're bigger than her head and I swear they're the main reason I'm gaining weight! BACKACHE. I've achey legs and an achey back and front and those have been helped by some pregnancy rubs from my sister (she's a sports therapist).

I'm super tired again and by 6pm I'm ready for bed. I'm no longer weeing eight times a night now, the baby seems to have moved up a bit. I did break the toilet seat this week though... oops!

My birth clinic appointment was interesting. I walked in adamant that I wanted an elective c-section (I've been speaking to lots of mamas about elective sections and VBAC's for their second births) and had my argument prepared but was stumped when she told me why I'd had an emergency CS... Lil was back to back (explains the mental pain) and then turned half way and decided to lift her head and poke her chin out. There was no way she was coming out in that position. There's no reason, medically, why I can't have a natural birth. We'd been told that it probably wasn't going to be possible to have a natural birth again, about 12 hours after having Lil, so I had prepared myself for that conversation. After lots of talking and reading, I've decided that at this point in time I'd like to try for a VBAC and know that with the support of The Calm Birth School and my lovely midwives I will be able to achieve it. Providing this one doesn't get up to mischief...

This week I'm feeling a lot calmer and a few people have commented on how peaceful I seem, as though I'm a raving nut job any other time (if the shoe fits I guess). I certainly feel a lot less anxious now I'm further into this pregnancy and perhaps it's because I'm older than I was when I had Lil (obviously) but I just feel so comfortable in my body and at ease with pregnancy (long may it last).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Calm Birth School

I never went to any kind of antenatal class when I was pregnant with my first. I don't know if it was because I was naive in thinking I knew what I needed to when it came to being in labour (turns out I knew nothing) or I those kind of classes just weren't for me... either way I got through it (just) but it would have been handy to really prepare myself for what was ahead.

This time around I am arming myself with as much information as possible to achieve the birth I hope to have. And I'm starting with The Calm Birth School...

The Calm Birth School was founded by hypnobirthing expert and celebrity practitioner, Hollie de Cruz, and writer, mentor and pregnancy coach Suzy Ashworth. It is a four week video program consisting of 13 bite sized video classes, 5 MP3s, a full course handbook and ongoing support in a private student's group. Classes will be delivered to your inbox once a week for four weeks, or you can get through them as quickly as you like via the online member's area.

I had a few questions for Hollie:

Why should I choose TCBS hypnobirthing program? I know how to breathe, surely there can't be much more to it than that?

It's funny, because when we think about breathing, most people (in western culture at least) consider it just something we do to 'not die'. The breath is so much more than that though, and at The Calm Birth School we will coach you through learning to use your breath as a very powerful and effective tool. Like any new skill, it requires good technique and lots of practice, and this is what we'll be setting you on the path of on our course. All of our muscles need blood and oxygen to work, and the uterus (our birthing muscle) is no exception. The breath plays a vital role in this, and also in keeping our baby calm and happy in the womb. When we are scared, we tense up and our breathing becomes shallow and less effective. That causes infinite problems in birth and leads to women having traumatic and painful experiences, because their minds and bodies are not aligned. Alongside the breath (there are 3 simple but specific breathing techniques to master), you'll learn about the physiology of birth - so what's happening in the body, and how to control the hormones you release on the day to work in harmony with your muscles and your baby. You'll learn how to create the perfect birth environment, how to communicate with your caregivers, a massage technique and some highly effective self hypnosis tools. And when we say hypnosis, we don't mean pocket watches and dog barks, we mean accessing a deep state of relaxation with a heightened state of mental awareness.

I have an elective c-section planned, will this course still be relevant to me?

Absolutely. People tend to think hypnobirthing is very prescriptive and is all about home births with joss sticks and an Enya play list. This isn't true. Whilst we're not against a bit of Enya at The Calm Birth School, our aim is to prepare and empower women for a positive birth experience, and we certainly don't sell an idea of the "perfect" birth, because frankly, there's no such thing. Every woman is different, and we are giving women the confidence to find out what birth is best for them and then prepare for it in the most wholesome way possible. It's about making informed choices, knowing what those choices are, understanding the process of birth and learning to work with the body rather than against it. It's also about taking charge of what you can control, letting go of what you can't, and navigating the turns of your baby's birth on the day. I planned a home water birth and had an emergency c-section, yet it was still the most calm, empowering and positive experience of my life because I trusted the process and had the tools I needed to enjoy it.

Do I need to study the program with anyone else or can I do it alone?

The Calm Birth School course is designed for women and their birth partners, so ideally you will watch it together. We often underestimate the role of the birth companion, but their job is very important. They are there to create and maintain a safe, calm space where mum feels relaxed enough to focus on herself and her baby. And the beauty of The Calm Birth School program, being video based, is that if it's a struggle to make time to watch all the videos together, you can both watch them when it suits you and as many times as you like...even in different parts of the world if necessary! With all that said, we've worked with lots of mums who have chosen to birth on their own or with someone other than their partner. Again, we are all about tailoring our support to your needs during pregnancy and birth, and a lot of this is done through our private students group on Facebook. It's the feature that sets apart The Calm Birth School and bridges the gap between attending in-person classes and just reading a book - think of it as distance learning with hand holding!

I feel very anxious after my first birth, once I've finished the course will my mindset be different? I feel very scared my second birth will end up the same way.

This is TOTALLY normal and something we hear a lot amongst our second time mums. We're not asking you to park your fears or pretend they don't exist, because that would be naive and short sighted. With previous traumatic experiences, or even the conditioning we get from the media about how awful birth is going to be, The Calm Birth School places a lot of importance on acknowledging and releasing fears around birth. Every woman's anxieties are different - ranging from poo to death - and every fear is as valid as the next. We will coach you through getting in touch with these fears and then do some very specific release work through one of our five MP3s - the Fear Release MP3. We also have an amazing Powerball MP3 which is a great one to use whenever you have a wobble, or when someone throws you off course with a haphazard comment or an unhelpful experience, which let's face it, they probably will!

The course costs £150 but purchase for the rest of May for only £69! Be quick! Buy online today at

I've started the free sessions and already I'm feeling calmer so I'm looking forward to the whole course. I use the breathing exercises to help when I start feeling anxious about my pregnancy and they've worked like magic. I really recommend heading over to TCBS if you're pregnant or planning on having a baby, both Hollie and Suzy are lovely and are on hand to ask any questions you may have about the course.

You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Week 16

We've been away this week and it's been lovely. I've felt calm (although I wish I'd stayed off the internet, ugh - people) and have had lots of fresh air and sleep. Sad to be coming home but OH MY GOD I NEED A LONG, HOT SOAK.

Other than an awful three day headache (cue a frantic call to my midwife), there isn't much to report... no, wait...there is. I've been thinking lots about my birth clinic appointment this week and things I want to ask the midwife and feel nervous as to what she'll say when we go back over my notes from Lil's birth. I'm actually shitting it.

No cravings, still not a fan of chocolate and still drinking Lilt (they sell it everywhere IN CANS in Derbyshire, can this place get any more perfect?).

I've had an awful sinus infection which is still lingering but I no longer want to rip my face off. I've been weeing up to 8 times in the night which is contributing to my eyebags but...

My skin is tons better, tons. My hair is all shiny and I haven't needed to straighten it. Could this be the start of the pregnancy glow? COULD IT?!

You see that hair? It's NEVER done that naturally

I've been stupidly anxious, worrying about stupid shit and wishing it was time for the next scan just so I know everything is ok. It's so hard when you've had a problem with a pregnancy in the past not to automatically assume this one isn't going to go the same way. Hurry up week 20! I want to see this wriggling babe!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Motherhood feelings

This is me reiterating my feelings on motherhood and people who judge us for being mothers and doing our thing. Because it's an ongoing issue, an infuriating one. This is an indirect piece in case anyone thinks about throwing their toys out of their Bugaboo, it is aimed at nobody. It is something I've written, my opinion, just like you all have (and voice) yours.

When you become a mother, you open yourself up to a whole new world of judgement. You'll be criticised for the choices you make (bottle-feeding anyone? been there, got the t-shirt), the things you say, what you dress your children in, the food you feed them. It's just (an unsavoury) part of motherhood, you learn to suck it up because do you know what? Your kid, your choices. But people, women, they can be so fucking evil. Jumping on bandwagons, attacking other mums. I've written it before and I will continue to write it... shall we just leave each other the fuck alone and get on with our own lives?

There are new posts every week on different blogs about how we, as women and mothers, attack other women for the things they do. And posts reminding us to just live and let live. But do people take note? Some do, some don't. YES, you are entitled to your opinion. YES, you live in a world where you can say what the fuck you want! But what you need to realise is that your words can hurt people, truly hurt them. Your opinions, your judgement, can hurt people. Heck, I've probably written stuff in the past that has upset people, but if that's so, what I've written has never ever been to intentionally hurt people and I've never been pulled up on it. It's called being self-aware. I'm someone who will openly voice my opinions but I think there is a fine line between voicing them and judging other parenting methods, openly. Online for the world to see.

And it doesn't stop at blogging. It's on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It can often be seen as a form of bullying. I've been bullied quite a bit in the past, not online, but in person. And it's the most gut-wrenching, awful feeling. And it hasn't always been direct bullying either, snidey comments in passing, others opinions that may have been voiced to get a reaction... I don't know, but either way they really fucking hurt. Maybe I'm being over-sensitive, maybe that's why I got bullied...who knows. But what's more and more obvious online is that we aren't supporting other mums' decisions, regardless of whether or not we agree with them. We are bullying them. I don't agree with a lot of things I see or read but I keep it shut. Because what right do I have to criticise others? I don't know what they're truly going through, the past they've had, things they've experienced.

It feels like real life Mean Girls. But with grown adult women. Which is fucking pathetic. There is a very clear divide in the world of parenting blogs and it's a world I still dislike. I've questioned whether or not writing on here again is the right thing to do because it leaves me open to all that vile judgement that people seem to be spewing left, right and centre. But whatever, judge away mother fuckers.

Can we not all just get along? How does one mothers choices affect you? Really, come on now. If I decide not to breastfeed my second child, what will happen? Will I get a load of vitriol from pro-breastfeeding mums? I'm sure there are posts out there that state you are the work of the devil if you don't breastfeed, in fact I'm certain. But it's unnecessary. Let me find a good example... say, for instance, you decided to give your three year old a can of coke. I wouldn't give my three year old a can of coke, mainly because three sips of a fruit shoot and she's bouncing off the walls, but I also wouldn't write a post about how awful it is for another mother to do that because she can do what the hell she likes. If I saw her do it in the street, I wouldn't roll my eyes or think she was a terrible mother. Because if being a mum has taught me anything, it's that it is so god damn hard doing this job already without worrying about what anyone else is doing or having other people judge you for the shit you do. I don't have the time to judge someone else for the shit they do. I rarely get time to do a poo the whole time my daughter is running around like a nutter.

And no, I am absolutely not saying I'm perfect. I've judged, lord knows I've judged, but I've kept it to myself because what am I going to achieve in voicing those opinions? Other than making that person feel like utter shit, that is. And in turn, that will make me feel like shit. Because I'm not a nasty person (husband, stay outta this... it was HORMONES).

I wonder if we'll ever all be able to get along in this big old mental world of parenting, probably not. World peace is a loooooooong way off yet. But in the meantime, shall we just keep our traps shut and be there for each other? That person you're judging may have just suffered a loss, they might be in the deepest, darkest depths of depression. You don't know what shit they've gone through. Just like nobody really knows the shit you've gone through either. We don't all have to be BFF's, but lets not make this in to a horror version of Mean Girls.

We are better than this.