Often, I listen to my clients talk about the pressures of work, and how they are affecting their abilities to feel well, calm, and prepared for their babies. Commuting, (damn you new c2c timetables), long days, deadlines, worrying that others will be judging their contribution, all taking their toll.
I gently suggest that they might like to reconsider how much they are taking on. Could they work from home a couple of days each week? Use some holiday to break the week up? Start their maternity leave a little earlier? (I’ve had 2 lovely mamas in the last month or so go into labour before finishing work. I know everyone wants to maximise the time with baby, but these odd days of rest now could make a real difference to your wellbeing in pregnancy).
“Book some reflexology!”, I tell them (www.body-n-sole.com by the way- heaven). Make time for yourself- a daily candlelit bath, light touch massage from your partner, a pregnancy massage booked in (I’m seeing Suzanne Morgan in 6 weeks and counting the days…).
I’ve been quite good at some of this recently- after reaching midway in the pregnancy and feeling quite fatigued, stretched, and generally waaahhhh, I vowed to make some changes. The daily bath requirements are almost always respected (my 2 yr old son has taken to having candlelit baths too, rather indulgent for a little fella, but glad he is enjoying the relaxation). I’ve seen Louise for reflexology at least every 4 weeks. I have allowed myself to lay down and indulged my little’s desire to watch Bing for 3 hours. (If you don’t know, Bing, and his weirdly smaller than him adoptive parent Flop are excellent role models for family interaction- respectful and gentle, so it’s definitely fine).
But work. Stopping, cutting back, adjusting. None of that has really been working out for me. BECAUSE I LOVE MY JOB. It feels wrong even calling it work/ a job etc. It’s just what I do. What I am compelled to do. (And let’s face it, time when I am not trying to work out how best to mother a toddler, is time more easily spent…#motherhoodisthehardest don’t mean to scare you #sorrynotsorry).
So during the pregnancy, I’ve started the Relaxation Group, doubled the number of sessions, and slotted in as many extra dates as I can for antenatal courses to meet demand. I’ve rewritten my website (HATE the old one- confused about why I was ever so pleased with it??), I’ve started planning a whole new way of presenting my material when I return from my break, and I’ve co-concocted BIG plans with my partner in crime, HAPPy Bumps co-founder Jade, to action before my babe arrives.
BUT NOW- the time has come when my 3 remaining antenatal groups are full. The final relaxation group is almost there too. I can barely stay awake past 9 (Wednesdays in the gorgeous sanctuary are a challenge). I am already struggling to put my socks on. I know I need to reflect on my own advice and calm it down.
I am, and will always be, as available as ever to my existing mamas. To share this journey with them, and support them in any way possible. But the books are about closed. Such a struggle. I pretty much live for welcoming new mothers into this world. But my own voice echoes in my mind- you only get this time once. A lifestyle that leaves you shattered and slightly on edge (in my case with excitement…) will not do you any good when you need to relax into labour. Your wellbeing is the most important consideration. You are growing a human being. All of this will still be waiting after you have your baby.
So here is a little apology for all the mothers I have already turned away (I’m weeping just typing it…) and to those who I will be unable to add to the circle over the coming months. A reminder of the difficulties of balancing it all will make me a better teacher in the future #smallmercies #seethepositive #motherthemother #putyourownmaskonfirst
Already looking forward to my return to ‘work’ 😉