Monday Mother: Michelle Virtual Assistant

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Today’s Monday Mother is Michelle Anderson from Michelle Virtual Assistant. This is such a fantastic service, and something that the rest of us growing businesses around our kids can really benefit from. Her links at the bottom of the interview…

Tell us about what you do- your mothering situation and your work outside of that. 

I have a 2 year old and 1 year old! (Stupid or clever idea having them so close I’m not sure! Maybe clever in a few years :)) Before having children I worked in London for 15 years in the Finance Industry. I always thought I’d go back to London to work after having my children but I felt too guilty putting them both in nursery for 12 hours a day. I’m also very aware that they won’t stay little for long so I decided to embrace this time! However, being in employment since the age of 16 I found it hard not having a profession so in July 2017 I set up Michelle Virtual Assistant.

What kind of work did you do before having children?

Office based 9-5 in London.

How did you get into your current work?

Actually it was a friend that suggested I should become a VA. At first I had a bit of self doubt and thought no I can’t do that. Then I come to my senses and realised that I’d only be doing what I’ve done for the last 15 years and the only difference would be is that I’m control!

What drives you?

I love having goals and something to work towards! It’s great that I am able to stay at home with the children but I really need to use my work brain too! I also want my children to be proud of me!

What is your biggest challenge in making it all work?

Having very young children it is difficult to get all the time I need to be able to promote my business and attend networking events. However, I am happy to let it grow organically and enjoy the ride!

What are you most proud of?

My children! Being from a single parent family, I am proud of what I have achieved in life without any financial help.

Where will your work take you in the future? What are your plans?  

In the new year I hope to attract more clients! In the future I see myself hiring associates to be part of my business!

What would you say to yourself as a brand new mum?

That it is hard but all you can do is your best and that is good enough! You will laugh and cry but we all go through the same! Just take your time to adjust to your new role/life and know it will get easier! Being a mummy is the most amazing gift you can be blessed with!

Self care- what do you do to fill your cup? 

I wish I had more time for self care but I know this will come in good time! A nice walk, extra sleep if I can get it and a yoga class is a nice treat!

Your website and social media details please. 

www.mvirtualassistant.co.uk

[instagram.com/mvirtualassistant]instagram.com/mvirtualassistant
Do It Like A Mother provides kick ass hypnobirthing and pregnancy relaxation in Southend and Upminster. Our Motherhood Mindset Mentoring course runs online, and we support mothers in business (or those who want to be) in our facebook group (click here). Brand new Ts and Sweaters in the shop now and watch out for our new campaign spreading some mindset magic and solidarity  #doitlikeamother #doitlikeamotherhood

Even Hypnobirthing Teacher’s Can Be Shaken and Triggered…

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And Friday I was. I (Steph, the preggo one in the team!) had gone for what should have been a straightforward meeting with my midwife to grab a form which I wasn’t given at my 20 week scan, but came away feeling annoyed, defensive, and with a small seed of doubt planted in my mind.

First I was caught off guard by it not being my usual midwife when I went in. I actually asked for the same midwife I had when pregnant with Florence as even though she now works outside of my closest clinic, I found her to be a real reassurance and great supporter of the type of birth I was aiming for then, and am aiming for again this time around – basically she’s worth the drive! Anyway, the midwife I saw Friday, lovely though she was, seemed much more ‘risk adverse’ shall we say. She was smiley, chatty and gave baby and I a full check over which I hadn’t been expecting given that I was there primarily to grab a form, but as soon as she looked over my notes I felt like she looked unimpressed to read that I was planning another homebirth after my minor PPH at home. That feeling was confirmed by the conversation throughout the rest of the appointment.

The decision to plan to give birth at home again after losing around 800ml last time (enough to be considered an issue in our trust, but not all trusts) isn’t a decision we have come to lightly. I have spent a lot of time since Florence was born reading up about Post Partum Haemorrhage – research papers, ways to reduce the risks, the benefits of home vs hospital settings etc and felt confident making that choice especially as I had the support of my midwife too. At my booking appointment we discussed my previous birth, the impact it had on me, the treatment needed (none!), risks of it happening again, the risks and benefits of opting to birth both at home, and on the labour ward as would likely be recommended, and I felt like was treated as an individual. She referred me to a consultant as per trust policy, but didn’t make me feel that policy was more important than looking at my situation as a whole.

Friday I felt like I was having to justify my choices, and reiterate that I was not making uneducated decisions. I was told I should be in the hospital with a cannula ‘just in case’, that women who have one PPH often have another, and that home wasn’t really a great choice of place to give birth. I was asked if I knew the risks, and if I knew that I HAD to transfer in anyway if the midwife felt there was a problem. Now I’m not daft, of course I would agree to transfer in if there was something indicating a problem with myself of my baby, but just like you, I don’t HAVE to do anything advised unless I agree to it. I don’t say that to be awkward of defiant, but because so many women get spoken to like this throughout their pregnancies and don’t actually realise that the choice is theirs alone to make, obviously medical advice and recommendations should be taken seriously but if you’ve got time to research yourself before making a decision do, or ask for a second opinion if you don’t feel the first is right and you’re not in a position to research at home.

Anyway I came out feeling quite annoyed that I wasn’t really given a balanced overview, or any alternatives during the appointment (admittedly I could have asked for more info/alternatives as I would urge you to do in a situation like this, but as it wasn’t my usual midwife and I needed to get back for preschool pick up I didn’t actually do that). It even triggered me to question if she thought I was being naïve about the situation due to my role as a hypnobirthing teacher (it was mentioned / asked about a few times and she didn’t seem to have had much experience with it)… I know not all schools of thought when it comes to hypnobirthing are as openminded about how they perceive medical intervention or hospital settings etc but I am realistic, just like the rest of the team here at Do It Like A Mother! I know not all births can, or should, happen at home or without the support of a wider team than just our wonderful midwives. We are extraordinarily lucky to have the extra support, staff, equipment and drugs there when they are needed!

So what did I do after this?!

  1. I went home and spoke to matt about it. I realised some of what I was feeling was probably down to my own perception / vulnerabilities. We chatted again about our options and what felt best to us, how we would navigate a change of plan at home (especially important given that Florence wants to be with us for the birth).
  2. I looked again over the research and information about PPH, I will continue to do so through the pregnancy in case I find something which makes me want to alter my plans.
  3. I found some fitting affirmations (‘I am already a mother. I stand in my power and make decisions from that place.’ & ‘I choose to take control of what I can. I am strong enough to see when to let go.’ are two good ones), then sat in a hot bath and listened to my fear release audio to let everything go!

So despite being confident in my choices Friday has shown me that everyone can be triggered, shaken or worried when challenged by a different view to their own. Even with all I know, read and believe in its almost impossible not to let something creep into the back of you mind when someone else plants that seed. So if it happens to you – don’t worry, its normal!! But know that YOU have the power to bring your feelings back to a good place by working through whatever has been triggered within you. YOU have the intelligence to do your own research to help make decisions about yourself and your baby. And YOU can do this like an absolute Mother!!

 

The fucking judgement that is slowly chipping away at us. STOP IT.

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I’m not often gobsmacked- I’ve seen and heard a lot. I’ve worked on an acute psychiatric unit, and in retail- I was probably more shocked by what I experienced in the shops than on the wards to be honest, but that’s not the important thing…

The point is, people come out with all sorts. Sometimes without thinking, sometimes in malice, all understandable and human. But what really bothers me is when people make sweeping judgements, and something I heard this weekend genuinely floored me. A woman caught sight of my DO IT LIKE A MOTHER sweatshirt (get yours here…) #shamelessplug and she said, shaking her head and rolling her eyes, “Do it like a mother- have a baby, stick it in nursery and go to work”.

Just all kinds of WOW. Now neither of my kids have ever been to nursery, so this isn’t about this triggering my specific personal guilt etc. (In fact, my desire to keep my kids at home with me alongside building my business has almost killed me- maybe I would do things differently in another life). This is about me being outraged on behalf of all of us, all the mothers, doing our very best, every day, every night, every moment to do it all right, and dealing with that kind of crap.

And what the hell is doing it right? Who knows- except you? Only you know the specifics of your life, your family dynamic, your financial situation, your support network, your needs, and your baby’s.

I felt pissed off because she had taken this phrase, which for me is about recognising that it takes SO MUCH to mother. I mean it takes EVERYTHING, right?! It takes courage, resilience, ALL the energy, strength, love, sacrifice, commitment, selflessness, flexibility, I feel I could go on forever…A phrase that unifies us in our challenges and our pride, and she had turned it into a narrow minded slight against a particular segment of mothers.

The choices we face are not easy or straightforward. Going back to work is not easy. (Neither is staying at home and giving up your job. Or working from home.) I doubt that any mother merely ‘sticks it in nursery’, but instead spends hours, days, weeks, agonising about her choice and whether she has selected the right environment for her precious little one.

Who knows how many mothers facing this predicament, and possibly dreading it, have been in earshot of this sort of judgemental rhetoric, and felt utterly wounded by it? All of her circumstances and efforts, dismissed, as if meaningless.

Equally troubling, I remember shopping in the M&S store that I used to manage in my pre parenting life, and someone saying to me, “Oh you didn’t come back to the business? So you’re JUST A MUM now?” In a patronising, yet approving tone. Like, ok I can relax around you now- I know which box you fit into.

Although we are utterly changed by motherhood, and it often feels as though we have lost the roundness (word?! no…) of ourselves and our lives, we are more than mothers. And we are more than employees. Or entrepreneurs. We can be all of these things and more. We are still women, individuals, and let’s face it, absolute fricking legends. We have given so much of our bodies and ourselves and our LIVES. We are not looking for a medal, we simply want to be left to it, to navigate our own unique path that only we can see.

Our motherhood should not be defined by whether or not we return to or begin a job or not. How bizarre when you think of it. (Do you ever here the term, ‘working father’?)

So what DOES it mean to DO IT LIKE A MOTHER? It means to do it (pregnancy, birth, motherhood, work, life, whatever) like a person who knows her own strength. Like a person who knows her own worth. Like a person who has the confidence to notice that she has performed a MIRACLE of sorts, and yet struggles to achieve even the smallest task from time to time- and is ok with that balance. Like a person who finds a way to make it work for her family, time and time and time again, on her terms.

In my mind, when we become a mother, we arrive at a crossroads. We have many transformations available to us, and we don’t always realise we have a choice. Rarely, in our society, are we immediately thrilled and fulfilled. BUT. One direction that seems entirely grim initially can turn out to be an adventure of sorts, a pathway to the greatest version of ourselves, as we learn about all of this stuff within us that we can draw on day by day.

What stops us from realising our innate brilliance is the small minded bullshit like this. The stuff that provokes guilt, and second guessing, and confusion, regret, overwhelm. There is just no place for it- it’s oppressive and unkind.

We MUST reclaim the term, and demonstrate that being a mother is far too complex a thing to be so briefly summarised. That we are SO uniquely placed to make our own way, and yet we share these communal yearnings, frustrations, desires, pains, losses, joys, this all encompassing love like nothing else that drives it all. We are a team, a village, a community. Let’s do it together. Do it like a mother.

 

If you wanna wear the vibes, you can get them here. If you are pregnant and want to start this journey feeling lifted and informed, you can find out about our courses here. If you need some help with your mindset as a mum, to find more happiness each day, to cope better, it’s here. And if you’re a mother in business (how dare you?!) looking for some support, join our facebook group here. #doitlikeamother

 

 

Monday Mother: Joanna Bullock – business strategist – helping mums grow their empires

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This week for our Monday Mother it’s Joanna Bullock – business strategist – helping mums grow their empires at Blossom Coaching. You can find links to her at the bottom of the interview. This is a very moving piece, and her advice for new mums is just perfect… read on.

Tell us about what you do- your mothering situation and your work outside of that.

I teach mums how to grow their online empires, by creating and implementing systems to make their lives easier /more productive and raise their visibility by teaching them how and where to show up, be seen / heard.  You could call me the helpful fairy coming in and streamlining your biz so you can concentrate on the stuff that lights you up.

Daisy is now 11 months old but I still feel like a “new mum”. When does that change? Outside of work, in my downtime, I’m normally watching some form of “real housewives of…..” or reading some sort of personal development book.

In my “non” working days, it’s all about soft play and meeting other mums for processco Fridays ;0)

What kind of work did you do before having children?

I was an account manager for a business development team in London so customers service is A+ for me. Selling / marketing / streamlining processes, Lots of drinking. Lots of events and 60 plus hours a week. Hence why I burnt out pretty quick.

How did you get into your current work?

I lost 5 family members in 5 years including my parents and had to do a huge amount of inner work just to be able to get my arse out of bed in the morning. I was told I’d make a good coach so I just looked into it and hey presto, I loved it. I was a student of Bob Proctors and done every single course I possibly could. It was an easy transition to see where I could help others save time and be more productive.

What drives you?

Losing the people I did, when I was young, has made me realise that life is too short. Make each day count. Don’t do the shit you hate. It’s made me super focused.

Also Daisy, ensuring she has the best of the best and can accomplish anything in this life.

What is your biggest challenge in making it all work?

Definitely my baby, Daisy. I’ve massively struggled with becoming a mum and keeping my business current and earning money. Hence why I had to remodel / restructure it!!

I was fiercely independent so to have a baby and not be able to just “pop” to the shops to get milk was an eye opener. Also to not have family around that can help with babysitting duties, so it really is about being super organised, super focused and productive. No more scrolling through Facebook for an hour. I need to get shit done!

What are you most proud of?

Building a house, whilst being pregnant and keeping the plates spinning! Even making 3 meals a day is an achievement whilst living in a caravan.

Where will your work take you in the future? What are your plans?

My plans are pretty simple. To be the best, and to show others how they can grow their empires, regardless of their limitations / circumstances or backgrounds.

I want all mums to realise their dreams, how they can have it all, and do what they want. It’s that simple to me.

What would you say to yourself as a brand new mum?

I am a brand new mum. Say what?! Erm, don’t worry about the cleaning. No one is going to remember that when you’re gone. Take pleasure in being with your baby as they grow waaaay too fast.

Self care- what do you do to fill your cup?

Self care….I don’t.  I teach others this all the time but at the moment, it’s all about filling the sleep bank and sometimes reading a self help book.

Your website and social media details please.
Blossomcoaching.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1251096304985171

I HATE hypnobirthing!!

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Chloe is not holding back…

The truth is out… I hate hypnobirthing!!

Ok, I said it. I hate it. It’s true. I’m a hypnobirthing teacher that hates hypnobirthing. Yep.

Deep breath and here goes, let me explain.

When I say the word ‘hypnobirthing’, what springs to mind?

Let me tell you where my mind goes.

Well, the ‘hypno’ part makes me think of holidays as a teenager, watching some seemingly unwilling participant bop around the stage doing embarrassing act after embarrassing act, whilst the stage hypnotist gives them instructions. Plus, I think of Derren Brown and his stage tricks- they are impressive but I don’t want someone to be able to control me like that!

Why on earth would I want either of these things whilst I give birth?!!

Then I think of the ‘birthing’ aspect. It invokes visions of women in trances, silent, surrounded by incense and mythical creatures in the middle of an enchanted forest. Her birth partner chanting in the background, dancing a special kind of hypnotising dance.

THIS IS NOT WHAT IT’S ABOUT.

I promise.

And that’s why I hate it. I hate that when women tell friends and family they are going to hypnobirth, they can be met with negative comments and mockery because of the misconceptions of what it is.

I hate that people miss out on the true benefits of what we teach because they are understandably worried that they’re going to enter some kind of mind control or be made to do things they don’t want to do, so they never sign up for the classes.

I hate that even health professionals sometimes have negative thoughts about hypnobirthing too.

That’s why I hate it.

The term itself means that so many people miss out on the benefits of something that could make such an amazing difference to the day they meet their baby.

So, if I hate it, why do I teach it?

Because, although I hate the term, I LOVE the actual techniques. I see the difference it makes when I go to work as a midwife, I hear the difference it makes from the mums that come to my classes and I felt the amazing power of it when I gave birth to my own baby.

I know that the techniques have the ability to transform what could be a traumatic and scary ordeal into a situation that you can look back on with pride and happiness.

There you go, I’m a hypnobirthing teacher, I hate hypnobirthing but I LOVE the techniques and the power it has to completely revolutionise birth as we know it. So, I will go in teaching it and spreading the word, I will go on helping mums to start their journey to a positive birth and I will go on being proud to be a hypnobirthing teacher.

Now all I need to do is come up with a better name for it…

If you’d like to hear how it’s made a difference to the mums we’ve already taught then why not head over to our birth stories page to see the amazing things these incredible women have to say.

If you’d like more Chloe in your life, you can book with her here 

Scans and switching off

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Monday Mother: Stephanie Witt, Founder of Dress Doctor

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This weeks Monday Mother, what a fab concept from Stephanie Witt – Founder of Dress Doctor… links at bottom of interview
Tell us about what you do- your mothering situation and your work outside of that.
I have three little ones that call me Mummy: Max 6, Hugo 4 and Estella 2. My little girl has just started a few hours in pre school, which has given me the gift of time to concentrate on my business Dress Doctor.
Dress Doctor was born in 2008 stemming from my obsession with style and fashion. I offer style consultations to establish how I can tailor your clothing choices to suit your personality and lifestyle. I also do wardrobe surgeries to sort out the hoarder in you and encourage a wardrobe that works for you. I then offer shopping trips to help give you the knowledge and ideas to dress for a new confident you. I can then return home with you to incorporate your new purchases into your existing wardrobe. My mission is to make everyday dressing simple and make it easy for my clients to select outfits that make them shimmer with natural confidence.
What kind of work did you do before having children?
Was there life before nappies and no sleep?! If there was I used to be a personal assistant to directors at Elle and Red magazines. Previously to that a was a personal assistant to fashion designer Nicole Farhi. I also more recently worked as the weekend stylist for Lakeside shopping centre.
How did you get into your current work?
My styling business was created because of my insider experience of the fashion industry, through working at magazine and design houses.
My life long obsession with Vogue magazine led to me sharing my knowledge of fashion through my business.
What drives you?
I want to break down the misconceptions surrounding the fashion industry. Lots of people think it’s all air kisses and anorexia. I want to help people realise that fashion, style and dressing to enhance, is and should be available to everybody.
I am totally down to earth and honest. I offer a fresh pair of eyes and a new way of making yourself feel good, by choosing attire that reflects your personality and unique style. I will give you the foundations you require to go shopping knowing what to pick out to flatter and enhance your individual shape.
I especially want to reach out to mums to share my experience in how to keep your confidence through all that physical and psychological change. We grow so much as people after having a baby and your wardrobe also needs to mature with you.
What is your biggest challenge in making it all work?
Swapping to a ‘can do’ attitude and shaking off a bad case of Imposter Syndrome. I am great at talking about what a need to do, but find it hard to physically achieve it.
I need to stop doing housework!
What are you most proud of?
I am really proud of my stint as the weekend stylist at Lakeside. I learnt so  much and really grew as a stylist in that time. I now feel ready to focus on my own stylist venture.
Where will your work take you in the future? What are your plans?
My goal is to be the ‘go to’ stylist in Leigh on Sea. I want to work hand in hand with local boutiques in Leigh to educate woman and men on how to dress for their unique silhouettes. We have a wealth of beautiful shops in the area, we just need to know how best to use them.
What would you say to yourself as a brand new mum?
Enjoy your fresh little bundle, because that saying they grow so fast couldn’t be truer. I worried I was doing it all wrong, but now I know to trust your instincts and to close your ears to all those “he slept though the night at 2 days old”. It’s all lies!
Self care- what do you do to fill your cup?
I cocoon myself in a blanket with a bar of Green and Blacks 70% and devour as many fashion magazines as possible.
I also place myself under my husband’s armpit once all three are upstairs and watch Netflix. Narcos is our current love interest!
Lastly, go shopping and or for a latte with NO kids / nappy bag / Peppa Pig paraphernalia…
Your website and social media details please…
FB @dressdoctor15
Instagram dressdoctor15
Twitter stephanie_witt@dressdoc
Do It Like A Mother provides kick ass hypnobirthing and pregnancy relaxation in Southend and Upminster. Our Motherhood Mindset Mentoring course runs online, and we support mothers in business (or those who want to be) in our facebook group (click here). Brand new Ts and Sweaters in the shop now #doitlikeamother
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Monday Mother: Gemma Bennett, founder of Hidden Gem Holistic Health & Happiness and one half of Soulful Hearts modern day wellbeing events

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I am SO THRILLED to feature Gemma Bennett, founder of Hidden Gem Holistic Health & Happiness and one half of Soulful Hearts modern day wellbeing events. I first met Gemma around 3 years ago, and was immediately struck by her authenticity- it shines out of her. She has supported me with reiki and EFT, I send my family, friends and clients to her whenever they are in need- SHE. IS. AWESOME. Her links at the end of the interview…

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Tell us about what you do – your mothering situation and your work outside of that.

I am mother to a lovely and incredibly fun 2 year old boy. I work within my own company hidden gem as a counsellor and holistic therapist, specialising in emotional wellbeing and balance. I use various therapies such as CBT, EFT ,Reiki and Bach flower remedies to assist in releasing emotional difficulties like anxiety, stress, depression, trauma or just a general feeling of loss of self.
I am a Reiki master and regularly teach Reiki courses throughout the year and have also recently teamed up with my friend and Reiki therapist Ella, as Soulful Hearts, to run various wellbeing events and reiki shares.
My husband owns Platinum PT Studio in Leigh Broadway and although this is very much his ‘baby’ which i’m super proud of him for, I do help out with certain admin aspects as a Co-director here too.

What kind of work did you do before having children?

I opened Hidden Gem 5 years ago and have been working with Reiki and EFT for nearly 8 years so I was working in this way before I had my Son. Since having him I now work part time and running the courses and events is new, I feel my therapies have naturally evolved too as things do but the basis is the same.

How did you get into your current work?

I discovered these therapeutic techniques relatively young whilst on my own personal journey , I’d say Reiki found me really and the rest naturally evolved. I was working as a personal trainer at Excel gym at the time, surrounded by wonderful colleagues who opened my eyes to the power of the mind, it’s effects on emotional health and a holistic way of living. It was here my journey of self connection accelerated and my interest in people really sparked. I then divided my time at the gym between personal training and Reiki before undergoing further qualifications in counselling, EFT and naturopathy and setting up on my own as Hidden Gem.

What drives you?
I’m driven by happiness and inspired by people . How cheesy is that! But seriously let me explain. It’s my belief we are naturally meant to feel good, that our natural state is one of inspiration, balance , self love and  connection, but so many things can make this feeling seem fleeting. So many people are battling various emotional blocks that prevent this , I feel passionately that we can find our way to a happier state given the right tools and if I can facilitate a person’s journey to this in any way I’m driven to do so. I love people, I was always told off as a kid for talking to much and have a keen interested in acting which i think this is just my interest in connecting with other people and characters. I love our differences our uniqueness and I enjoy meeting all different souls, my clients are my inspiration.

What is your biggest challenge in making it all work?

My biggest challenge is time. Balancing mum and home life, making sure i have time for my relstionship, my friendships, myself and the work I love to do. My mind floods with ideas and i want to do it all but I’m part time, and if I eat into my mum time or me time that’ll not serve me either. So my challenge is 1. to balance my time effectively and 2. to park an idea for later if needs be.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of myself when I make choices, be it business or personal, that are true to my values and authentic to me. It feels good to me to create a life on my terms.  I’m proud that I do I job I enjoy and that enables me to have plenty of time with my son too. I’m super proud of my baby boy too, he makes my heart burst.

Where will your work take you in the future? What are your plans?

I’m writing, slowly but surely I’m writing a self help book on emotional balance based on my therapeutic experience and that is accessible to the modern world we live in. Once this is complete and published I actually have a number of children’s stories floating around in my head that i’d be excited to release. I’m interested in doing more public speaking engagements too. I do have to allow this all to happen at a steady pace though if i want to maintain my work and life balance. Oh, and throw more children into the mix shall we, I intend to increase the Bennett brood at some point.

What would you say to yourself as a brand new mum?

It’s all just a phase and we’re all learning as we go. With newborns things are constantly evolving and changing so make the most of the moments to cherish and take comfort in the hard times that’ll it’ll pass, it won’t stay that way forever. I think as well you are gifted a baby and have this expectation on self to be a perfect mum, what is that anyway? We’re All  learning and trying and some things go smoothly some things don’t, just remember you are Mum you own that title no matter what, make your own mum ways.

Self care- what do you do to fill your cup?

I’m a cheerleader for self care, I whole heartedly believe self care is a necessity and should be prioritised and not a luxury that may or may not happen. You have to make it happen and saying you haven’t got time is a priorities issue not a time one. We can’t give  from empty so I truly believe it’s essential to feed your soul.
I think hobbies are great! Kids have loads of hobbies and things they do just for fun and as adults we unlearn this essential life skill. Well I do things I enjoyed as a kid. I dance and sing and get involved in productions. For example this Christmas I’m involved in a local improvised pantomime, it’s so much fun, super creative and really fills my tank. I love to move so I exercise regularly, I feel good when I’m using my body and so grateful that I can. I obviously don’t have time to do this stuff particularly the performance based things as often as I did when I was a child, but I make sure it’s crowbared in enough to keep things sweet.
Me time to re charge is important too, especially needed since juggling work and being a Mum, so I block out some time every 6 weeks thats just for me, in this time I may have booked a treatment to enjoy, or I’ll mooch around shops, take myself for a coffee or lunch, read a book, but it’s me time.  I’m really strict with this marking it in my diary 6 weeks before, as it’s all too easy to prioritise something else or let the habit go, especially as a mum, but not once have I regretted self charging like that, even if I could of been doing something else. I just see it as super important not just for how I feel but for me to be the best  version I can be as a mum, wife, therapist etc. I created this 6 week system as a new years resolution this year and have totally stuck to it. And hey, It makes me easy to buy for a Christmas too, as I just stock up on my treatment vouchers to use throughout my me time.

Website
www.hiddengemholistic.co.uk

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Hiddengemholistic/
https://www.facebook.com/soulfulheartswellness/

Do It Like A Mother provides kick ass hypnobirthing and pregnancy relaxation in Southend and Upminster. Our Motherhood Mindset Mentoring course runs online, and we support mothers in business (or those who want to be) in our facebook group (click here). Brand new Ts and Sweaters in the shop now #doitlikeamother

When your friends are calling bullshit on your birth prep, show them this…

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Every so often, one of my clients will post in their amazingly supportive forum that they are struggling with the way their family and friends are reacting to their birth prep.

“Yeah yeah yeah, just you wait…”. “I’ve actually HAD a baby so…” “Why would you not just…(insert misunderstood cultural norm)?”

They always get great advice from the women in the group, and here is my contribution to throw in. It’s a letter, written on their behalf to those around them.

Dear ……………,

Thanks so much for your concern about my approach to pregnancy and birth. I know that it comes from a place of genuine concern, and that you want me to avoid disappointment.

(OR- maybe you’re just being a bit of a knob- if that’s you, click here for another version of this letter… not really).

Seriously, I know most people who have expressed their views are doing so with good intentions. But the intention means NOTHING when the words are unhelpful. I don’t want to upset you, or fall out with anyone, but I need to put my own emotional wellbeing first.

I’d love to tell you a little bit about the kind of hypnobirthing we are on board with- it’s probably not what you think. I understand why you would rear up at the name- obviously it sounds ridiculous, especially to anyone who has had a difficult birth. But here’s the thing I really need you to know- I HAVE NO PLANS TO BIRTH SILENTLY, IN MY SLEEP, WITHOUT PAIN, WHILST A UNICORN SINGS IN THE BACKGROUND. There’s nothing whimsical about my approach. It’s basic birth physiology, and it starts now. (In fact, it started a LONG time ago, but there’s nothing I can do about that murky water under the birth bridge).

Let me try and explain it a bit.

Have you ever noticed how your body behaves when you are afraid and/ or stressed? The way your shoulders need massaging after a difficult day, the tension headaches you’ve created, the times you’ve clenched your jaw in the night, maybe you grind your teeth too. It gets uncomfortable- ultimately, in the end, painful. What a waste of resources in the body too- all of that glucose and oxygen doing needless work to maintain that state of tension. I want to avoid this.

Hypnobirthing is helping me to work on my subconscious beliefs about birth- the ones that are drilled into all of us via the media and each other- the concept that undignified, torturous drama is inevitable. Because it’s this part of my mind that will automatically create the tension and resulting pain I mentioned above, and I refuse to have my experience derailed in this way.

I know you think you’re protecting me in some way by telling me to expect lots of pain, but you’re really not. Pain is highly modifiable by psychological factors, including expectations. It’s totally complex and subjective.  I don’t believe an expectation of agony serves me in ANY way. I’m not stupid, or stubbornly pursuing a particular experience at all costs- if I find it agonising I can get an epidural. But any intervention comes with risks, so I’m arming myself and my birth partner with a mighty toolbox of strategies that form my Plan A. I have a Plan B, where things might come up and I might go for ALL THE DRUGS. If I choose to, I know it’s fine, because it will be an informed choice- I’ll know I’ve done everything possible to get the sort of birth I’d like right now. I’ll feel satisfied that I’m still autonomous over my body. I WON’T FEEL I’VE FAILED, OR THAT HYPNOBIRTHING DIDN’T WORK. Because I understand what hypnobirthing is- I’m an intelligent woman (you  know that, right…?) and I’ve chosen a truly woman centred approach, where the challenges we face in birth are openly considered.

I’ve also got a plan for a C-section. Yep- I’m gonna hypnobirth through that too. Before you pass out, that doesn’t mean surgery without anaesthesia. It means a birth that mimics as many of the benefits of vaginal birth as possible, and one where I use the same tools to remain calm and confident.

All the tools will serve me in motherhood too- in the early days, and as the months go on. I am opening my eyes to my own capabilities, and allowing myself for the first time, to recognise that I am actually performing some kind of magic- growing a human being. Why should I be afraid? I’m becoming a mother, for the first, second or tenth time, I am acting from that place of responsibility to get the best possible start for me and my baby.

If you’re still not sure, you can read some of the birth stories here. And here on the resources page, a few videos that give more of a taste.

So, if you really care about me, and my baby, get on board. Every pointless, negative comment, however harmless it may seem to you, plays on my mind and lowers that precious oxytocin that keeps me feeling safe. This is a deeply personal adventure, and I’ve found a way to approach it that is working for me. Whatever goes down, I’m ready to handle it, to make great choices, to be in awe of myself, to cope, to do it like an absolute mother.

 

#hypnobirthingworks #whenyoudoitlikethis

 

Welcoming Vida- a VBAC on ONE LEG- yep

This is INCREDIBLE… Positive, imperfect birth. In Jai’s own words…

When I broke my ankle at 36 weeks pregnant, I was nervous as to what it would mean for my labour. My first birthing experience hadn’t turned out as I had planned (unexpected c-section) and this made me feel anxious as to whether my care-givers would support my birthing plans this time around.

When chatting to a friend, she recommended I get in contact with Keri and said if nothing else, she might help my mindset and encourage me to approach my labour with a more positive attitude.
At the weekly relaxation group I learned how to switch off and calm myself from the inside. Blocking out the world and focusing on my own thoughts isn’t something that comes naturally to me, so I cannot tell you how much that helped.

Labour started at 4am and I stayed at home with my husband for as long as possible, using the breathing techniques I’d learned from the group and from The Calm Birth School. The best thing was that when my surges arrived, I felt fully prepared for them. I even remember saying aloud ‘my surges cannot be stronger than me, they are me!’ and singing ‘Do it like a Mother’ to the chorus of Jessie’s J’s ‘Do it like a Dude’!
We eventually arrived at the hospital at 11am and my plan was for an active labour. So when our midwife suggested I go onto my back, hubby explained this would make me pretty useless, almost like a tortoise laying on it’s shell as my left leg is unusable in that position. Once we articulated our concerns and explained that we needed to know not just what we should do, but also why, our midwife proved to be the biggest help we could ask for.
I started on my knees. However, about 30 mins after we arrived, there were concerns raised that the cord wasn’t positioned right and so the consultant suggested we go to theatre for a possible ventouse / forceps delivery or possibly a c-section. My midwife explained to both sides what was going on and to us what I needed to do to avoid this. We worked through the issues as a team of 3 with my hubby frequently telling me ‘I could and would DO this’ and although not the ‘perfect’ birth (I had a small episiotomy), we worked together, avoiding a trip to theatre and I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, Vida Lys Foster at 12.18pm!!

I DID IT LIKE A MOTHER (on one leg 😂💪🏾!!!!
Thank you Keri for your help, we’re so grateful!! Xx 💜