Blink and you’ll miss it.
How do you cope when your babies aren’t babies any longer? This week has been one of those weeks! Beautiful; bittersweet; heart breaking!
Last Saturday my baby girl turned three, shortly followed by my niece, six days later. and then as if that wasn’t enough, we ended the week by buying little man his first pair of shoes! And now as the day draws to a close I sit looking at them, taking in those gorgeous little faces and wondering how on earth we got to this point! When did I go from kissing their tiny newborn feet, breathing in that glorious newborn smell, to watching my daughter confidently wave me goodbye at her first day of Pre School. How did it go so quickly and why did I not realise it and freeze-frame every single second of their precious little lives?
My sister-in-law summed it up perfectly after my niece’s birthday party last week. After all the chaos, kaffufaw and cake, she turned to me and simply said, “It’s all too much!” We looked at each other in the kitchen for a moment and we welled up, both of us totally in sync at that point; so happy that our beautiful girls had reached this milestone but so desperate to turn back the clock, just for a second, just to see them as they were; our tiny little babies.
To still be able to hold them in the crook of our arms and rock them off to sleep, to hear those tiny, gorgeous grunts of a contented baby nursing, even to be running around frantically while they cried, trying every trick in the book to settle them and work out what was wrong!
At the time, in a haze of sleep deprivation, it seems like those days will last forever, but looking back now I’m desperate to find those memories, to hold on to them, to squeeze my eyes shut and transport myself back to that time when my babies were so small, so vulnerable and really needed me.
Maybe that’s the key! Maybe I see my biggest baby and I’m watching her slipping away from me. Soon I will no longer be the biggest influence in her life. She will have friends, teachers; a whole host of other people who will replace the role I have cherished for these last few years. Already she doesn’t need me like she used to. She’s just so incredibly independent, which is both a blessing and a curse, and while every day with her is a joy; watching her explore and learn and hearing the hilarious things she comes out with; some days I just want to hold her close for a minute, without her wriggling away to go and find something more exciting to do and discover.
In some ways I feel I’ve missed out on her this year. Juggling a toddler and a newborn is tough! It’s been wonderful watching my children grow together, seeing them become the best of friends, but I do feel that I’ve let her down in some way, that I’ve missed her turning from a lively little toddler into this beautiful, independent, inquisitive little girl. Amongst the midst of little mans wails and dirty nappies I’ve missed her! And maybe that’s why this birthday of all of them feels so poignant and maybe why Jo feels it too? Maybe we’re both craving that year again. To slow it down slightly. To have those days back with both our children, to not force our little girls to become so grown up so quickly!
Guilt I think is a mothers curse! I always remember my Mumma telling me that on the birth of my brother she cried! She cried because she was so happy to have this precious little life in her arms, but she cried because from that point on she knew I wasn’t her baby anymore and that is a feeling I can totally relate to.
Would I change it? No! But if only I could pause the time I’d had with her alone. If only I could go back over this last year where little man’s been growing and be more there for her, watch her more, cuddle her more, I’d do it again in a heartbeat, for those times are so very precious and they are gone in the blink of an eye; as precious and as fluid as fairy dust!
So to all you new Mummas: I know you’re tired, I know it seems like the nappies will never end and the days will last forever but today, just hold your babies a little longer. Forget about the washing up piling up in the kitchen, ignore the dust, shut out all the distractions and close your eyes, breathe them in and just be! Do it for yourselves, do it for your baby and do it for me! Because before you know it, your little ones will be cheerfully waving you goodbye as they start their first day of Pre School, and your heart will break a little.
So I’ve been meaning to put pen to paper for a while now, to tell you about the miracle wonder that is coconut oil, but with Taz and the Little Man running rings around me, I simply haven’t had time to look at a computer, let alone sit down to write. Finally though, the hubby is out for the night, the babies are asleep (although for how long who can say), the house is (relatively) tidy and I’m sat at my computer, my face and hands lathered in coconut oil, ready to share its secrets with you (and yes that does make it difficult to type!)
I was first introduced to the idea of using coconut oil over a year ago when my bestie Mel presented me with a jar on my 30th birthday, claiming it was the best moisturiser she’d ever used, “great for dry skin, chapped lips and those awful deep wrinkles.” A statement that didn’t go down so well, considering my soreness over turning 30 and having begun the morning ritual in the lead up to the dreaded day, of examining those said deep wrinkles in the bathroom mirror, contemplating Botox or a facelift, whichever was less painful!
However, despite my initial resentment at having my ageing process so clearly identified, I have now had to eat my words! Mel and the coconut oil, I salute you. Coconut oil has totally changed my life.
This miraculous, anti ageing, anti bacterial little wonder has literally more uses than I have the web space to detail. From using it as a massage oil/moisturiser and nappy cream on little man, to Nee Naw now brushing her teeth with it, coconut oil has caused a revolution at Breathing Love and I can definitely testify to its ability to improve the deep set wrinkles. In fact I challenge you to come up with any health or beauty ailment that coconut oil wouldn’t be able to fix. Dry, split ends? Lather that coconut oil on. Baby eczema? Coconut oil! Perineum massage? Any natural oil will do, but coconut oil is particularly lovely. Bruises? Rub some coconut oil on and watch them magically fade away like you have super human powers. And have you seen what it does to stretch marks? It’s like a little jar from Hogwarts! In fact coconut oil is said to have over 100 uses, so get googling. It’s totally worth the read!
So with so many benefits it would be mad not to. But what to buy? My favourite for all my health and beauty ailments is the Biona organic raw virgin coconut oil but I have also just recently branched out to the Lucy Bees coconut oil for cooking, as a way to get more good fats into Little Man and Taz’s diet and for me as a convenient pick me up mid afternoon, during the “Arrgh its still three hours until bedtime” stage! I use it to normalise my blood sugar and stop me reaching for the chocolate biscuits, by either putting a spoonful in hot water and drinking it or just eating it on a tea spoon! Either way, it gives me a great energy boost and means I can carry on playing lions all the way up until bedtime! Essentially though, any coconut oil that states it’ s virgin and in an unrefined state will do the trick. Personally, for me, its all about the oil in the glass jar, it just feels more natural, especially if you’re going to be eating it, but again that’s down to personal preference and I’m not sure there’s any actual science behind it.
I always buy in bulk as it tends to work out cheaper. Coconut oil is not expensive, and if you shop around enough you should be able to get an unrefined raw virgin oil at a reasonable price. I however, tend to buy from Amazon, as I get it cheaper on subscription and through buying in bulk. Plus,as much as I’d love to be one of those lovely mummies that takes the trip to their local health store to peruse the aisles and buy coconut oil, the thought of doing this with my babies in tow, literally makes me want to run fleeing from my computer to hide behind the sofa, camomile tea in hand, while I wait for the palpitations to stop…
Another key piece of advice to bear in mind is that it should smell of coconuts! Sounds obvious, but trust me, there are some brands out there that smell like little man when he’s not been bathed for three days, so buy an organic, unrefined one and skip that!
So in conclusion, we love coconut oil! It has given me more money in my pocket; and hair, skin and teeth like Jennifer Aniston (or Jenifer Aniston if she had two children that refused to sleep and hadn’t brushed her hair in a week). It feels great not to be forking out my hard earned cash on needless products that one jar of coconut oil can fix instead. I love the fact I’m not using chemicals on mine and the babies skins, I love the dewiness and the softness it gives us, and I love the smell that wafts over me every night as we snuggle down together for story time. Pure magic!
HypnoBirthing: A mindful approach to help prevent postnatal depression.
We are lucky enough to be able to share this guest post by Grace Grieve from The HypnoBirthing Institute.
11 – 17th May is Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual event run by the Mental Health Foundation to increase public knowledge of mental health and wellbeing issues.
This year, the event is focussing in the positive effect that applying Mindfulness can have on depression and anxiety.
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week the HypnoBirthing Institute are exploring how HypnoBirthing the Mongan Method, a technique that shares many parallels with mindfulness, can be used to vastly reduce postnatal depression and birth trauma in women.
Postnatal Depression is a crippling illness that affects up to 15% of new mums each year, robbing them of what should be a blissful time with their new baby. Far more than the “baby blues”, sufferers can experience a range of frightening and confusing emotions. They may feel they can’t cope with motherhood and they don’t bond with their baby. Some mothers may feel anxious and worry about the health of both themselves and that of their child. They may suffer panic attacks and feel tense and irritable all of the time, as well as tired and lacking in energy. Most have problems sleeping and a poor appetite and many lose interest in sex.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a reaction to exposure to a very stressful event and can occur in women who have had a particularly traumatic birth experience. They may experience flashbacks, panic attacks and other acute symptoms and in some cases can be unable to even consider a future pregnancy.
Initial findings of ongoing research are starting to demonstrate that it would appear that postnatal depression in women who use antenatal hypnosis programmes to birth their babies is vastly reduced. HypnoBirthing Mongan Method Practitioners universally report a lower rate of PND in the mother’s who take their classes, compared to the national average. It’s unsurprising, given that a traumatic birth experience can massively contribute to the onset of PND.
So we know that HypnoBirthing is hugely effective in reducing PND – but just how does it work?
HypnoBirthing Mongan Method is an antenatal technique that guides and prepares a woman to give birth in a peaceful and extraordinarily beautiful manner. It is a program that considers the psychological, as well as the physical, well-being of the mother, her birth partner, and the newborn, independent of context, whether that be in the quiet of a home or a hospital.
The HypnoBirthing Mongan Method program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization and meditative practice. In essence, HypnoBirthing Mongan Method empowers the mother to be fully in control of her birth experience, however that plays out. She is mindful, and in tune with her body, eliminating external stimuli.
She is able to focus on that moment, without dwelling on the past (in the case of birth trauma) or worrying about the future. It has a huge impact on the way she reacts to her pregnancy and birth, providing her with a valuable tool to stay both physically and emotionally healthy throughout and in the following months. Thousands of women across the wold have successfully used this technique, which was pioneered by Marie Mongan and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT GRACE GRIEVE PR CONSULTANT ON 07821 776555 AND VISIT WWW.hypnobirthing-uk.co
Taz’s birth report
I thought i’d share with you all my birth report that my lovely (hugely sceptical) husband wrote following the birth of our little girl.
Paul was a total non-believer. He thought I was crazy to think my birth wouldn’t go off without every pain medication known to the profession, but he is always the first to admit when he is wrong and he was, and still is, amazed by how HypnoBirthing transformed me from a wimpy drama queen who would cry if i got a splinter into an empowered, strong woman, totally in touch with my inner warrior.
It still makes me cry every time i read it! Enjoy. xx
Ruby was born on a stormy day in August 2012, 2 days overdue in a planned home birth, water birth at her Grandparents house. This was the chosen location due to its proximity to Southend Hospital and that Catherine had her support network around her should the Birth not be timed for my return. As the birth companion to Catherine, she has asked me to write a detailed account of how it went.
The evening preceding the birth consisted of the well established and normal routine of an evening soak in the bath followed by affirmations being read to Catherine while she relaxed. Notably, the only addition to this was Catherine’s frustration with the state of the bedroom, so before bed it was tidied up… in hindsight a tell tale sign that something could be on the cards the next day.
Wednesday started early for Catherine as she woke at about 7am to what she thought was light, but noticeable, pre-labour warm ups. We eventually got up with a bath at around 10 am with these “warm ups” gradually getting stronger with 2-3 minute intervals. Catherine’s parents-in-law (my parents) were due down today to meet us for lunch and so our intent was to stick to plan, to keep active and carry on as normal. However, by Midday, 15 mins before the parents-in-law arrived, it was clear that Catherine’s body had chosen labour over lunch with my mother, I assume it was going for the more relaxing and less stressful option!
From 11 am, after a brief spell resting on her mother’s bed, the place where she had always practiced her breathing, relaxation techniques and affirmations, Catherine found her most comfortable position was with me sat on the 3rd step of the stairs with her on all fours resting her arms and head on my lap. Catherine was clearly birthing. Surges were consistently under 2 mins and I made a quick call to the midwife to let her know. I would say her birthing properly started at around Midday.
The Midwife had been supportive of Catherine’s birth plan throughout her pregnancy, although this was the Midwife’s first Hypnobirth, so she was not quite sure what to expect. The midwife told me to call back when things looked like they were progressing and she would make a visit.
Having briefly dealt with the in-laws and sent them on their way, the pool was filled. We had heard stories of the pool not being filled in time during other people’s births so filling it hot early, and preparing the birthing room (the cleared dining room) was a must. This included ensuring the windows were blacked out correctly, getting the lavender scented candles lit and getting the affirmation and relaxation CDs in the player. Catherine continued to prefer the “stairs-all fours” position, moving aroung in between surges, until she decided that she wanted to go into the pool. She found the warm water really comforting. Catherine’s mum was running around making sure she was eating and drinking and where necessary taking lucazade tablets for energy.
Bizarrely after about an hour in the pool Catherine needed the toilet and wanted to get out. She found she was more comfortable lying on the hard floor, in the foetal position, at the bottom of the stairs. While on the surface this was a bit bizarre, following Catherine’s evening baths during pregnancy, she often spent a bit of time just lying outside the bathroom at the top of the stairs.
At this stage she was struggling to correctly do her surge breathing, and needed constant prompts to get her into her rhythm. A role that both her Mum and I took on, breathing with her to help her maintain the relaxation. At about 1:30 pm, Catherine returned to the pool. Her surges were getting stronger, and she asked for some of her favourite affirmations to be read. I had a quick bite to eat, which included some Pringles. Needless to say the smell of them on my breath reacted badly with Catherine and with some venom I was sent to brush my teeth. That, however, was nothing compared to the utter disgust in giving her a bagel with seeds on!
By 2:30 pm the Surges were clearly getting stronger. I joined Catherine in the pool after phoning the midwife again. Catherine’s mum did the Waterfalls script, at Catherine’ request. Her exact words were “give me the waterfalls… I wanna go deep!”. Whilst lying on her side in the pool I lay behind her supporting her head and upper body under my arm (imagine a spoon sleeping position). At this point she went very relaxed, almost to the point of appearing to be asleep. The midwife came and after some soft discussion we resisted her attempts to give Catherine an examination, but we did allow for the Babies heart beat to be checked. This was difficult as the Midwife naturally wanted to know “how far gone” she was. Catherine was so relaxed that she showed no awareness that the midwife had arrived. With little to do the Midwife departed, but she had made the decision to pop by later before the end of her shift if we hadn’t called her before then.
The next few hours melted away. Catherine in her relaxed state was feeling pressure on her lower back during surges, so I would rub it hard whilst they were happening. No words were spoken, just a low humming tone that Catherine would periodically make during a surge when concentrating on her breathing. That was my only way of knowing she was having a surge, and on queue I would start rubbing her lower back.
At 4:40 pm Catherine became less relaxed and was really fighting her body which she felt was urging her to push. She adopted a similar “all-fours” position as earlier in labor, only this time leaning over the edge of the pool. She was relaxed, but in discomfort due to the pressure on her back, to the point where she vomited in a handy bucket. This action also saw the movement at the other end and the release of her show and what I thought were her waters breaking, it is worth noting that up until this point we had seen no show and had no waters break. Catherine’s mum called the midwife, but by coincidence as she was dialing the midwife returned to the front door.
A few minutes’ later Catherine’s waters did break (with gusto) and she felt instant relief in her back. She was now more alert, but still surge breathing. During the next surge she exclaimed “I don’t think I can do this” which was a clear sign to all that things were reaching a climax. The babies Heartbeat was checked, and she then got on her back while I cradled her, with her resting on my chest (imagine sharing a bath, which we did often).
Her body was telling her to push and when it did she allowed it to. We all saw the baby’s head crown and got Catherine to touch it. It was at this point the Midwife got a bit annoying. She constantly wanted to check the baby’s heart beat, but at times could not find it. In addition she began urging Catherine to push, which her mother overruled, getting Catherine to focus on breathing. I knew this was potentially bringing unnecessary stress, and in hindsight should have done more to tell her to step back. My thoughts are that whether the baby is distressed or not, or has a good heart beat or not, she is crowning and will soon be out, there is nothing we could do and we could deal with any consequences after the birth, Catherine managed to maintain her focus though and continued breathing.
At 5:10pm (30 mins after the waters broke) the next surge brought the babies head further out (to its forehead). I was not prepared for what happened next. Every film of a birth I had seen had had the head come fully out, followed by the body in full after the next surge. Catherine is always unique. The following surge saw Catherine fire the baby out like a torpedo through the pool, almost missing the grasp of the midwife.
The baby was placed straight on to her chest, without being cleaned and after a few seconds (that seemed like hours) began breathing with a small cry (not just from the baby, I was in tears…I am a bloke… I do not cry!). The cord was allowed to stop pulsating and then was cut by Catherine’s mum. I wanted it to be her mum that did this because she has been such an important part of the pregnancy and birth and our tag-team effort to guide Catherine through was very much a joint thing. Additionally I was still pinned under Catherine in the cradling position.
Following a few minutes, we got Catherine and the baby out of the pool and she lay down, introducing the baby to her breast while the midwife dealt with the after birth and vaginal examination, with the result being no stitches required. This was not before the baby had pooed a lot of meconium all over Catherine as her first act, much to my amusement.
I would just like to finish by stating that I am in the Army, I am comfortable with uniforms and order and being told what to do, I would have done a hospital birth had it been my choice and early on in the pregnancy that was what I was insisting. I don’t do alternative therapies and had massive reservations about Hypnobirthing. In addition Catherine is the biggest wimp I have ever seen.
I am genuinely converted. The simple fact is, at every stage, Catherine’s body knew what it wanted to do and the HypnoBirthing techniques let her body get on with it without unnecessary interference or any pain relief. If we have more children, and bearing in mind how wonderful this experience was, I am sure we will, we would do it exactly the same way again.
Now 10 days old, Ruby Mae is an alert, content little girl, who feeds well and is incredibly strong, I do not know if HypnoBirthing has contributed to these traits, but surely the environment a little baby is born into does rub off, doesn’t it?