Switching Off and Being a “Normal Mum”

Twice in just a few days I have been in situations where it is probably best to switch off my campaign head and shut up, be a “normal mum”, whatever that might mean. The first of these was the first of two Natal Hypnotherapy workshops that hubby and I are attending in preparation for this birth and I didn’t do so well. The second was my aquanatal class today. I did better.

I’ve always found it hard to know when to shut up and keep my opinions to myself and have probably pushed a fair few people away because of it in the course of my life. When my passions are raised they tend to spill out of me, but I’ve worked hard to get it under control and generally I think I do a better job now than ever before.

When it comes to birth, it’s a bigger challenge than most issues I’ve felt passionate about in my life. It’s such an intimate topic, birth is the single most significant physical act that a woman embarks upon and also the one fraught with the highest emotional investment too. I know that birth can be amazing and I know that all women deserve excellent maternity care. I know that there are fundamental, systemic problems with NHS maternity services that prevent the majority of women from having the births they should have. I hate seeing women being trampled on and abused by their care providers and it makes me angry and deeply saddened that I can even use the word “abused” there and know it to be no overstatement or falsehood.

Last Friday at the Natal Hypnotherapy workshop, I had to tell myself not to go to it expecting that I would know everything already and to accept any new knowledge or tools presented to me. At one point, having answered every question about hormones and birthing positions that we were asked, I actually apologised and made an effort to keep my mouth shut to give one of the others a chance to answer something. I felt a bit like Hermione Granger.

One of the other ladies on the course is also planning a VBAC and I couldn’t stop myself from making suggestions about which interventions she might wish to think more about. I don’t think I came on too strong there, but over lunch discussion turned to placentas (yes, over lunch) and I went and mentioned the fact that we’re planning a lotus birth. I think the others were mostly just intrigued, until I went a step too far and mentioned consuming the placenta as another option. I suspect I came away from lunch looking like a very weird hippy.

This afternoon was my aquanatal class, which I go to for the exercise and “me” time. After the class we sit in the café for a chat and the first time I went it was just me and the two midwives who run the class. We had a fantastic chat and I told them about what I do and which groups I’m involved in. They are lovely ladies, very keen on what they do, which is helping women keep fit and healthy in pregnancy and they have their gripes with the NHS, and so no longer work within it. However, I do suspect that they don’t see quite the same problems that I do.

Today there were others present, one lady due in a month or so and another who had a home birth a few months ago, another lady due early next year. I was very grateful for the home birthing mum’s presence, as she was able to say some of the things I would have loved to say, but in a much more palatable way than I can sometimes be guilty of. She was a normal, non-campaigning mum, a mum who only breastfed her eldest for a few months (compared to my 2.5 years) and who told us that her home birth “bloody hurt” and that she had a third degree tear and had to have a spinal afterwards while being stitched up. She was absolutely supportive of home birth and said she would do it again if she ever has another baby, but she definitely wasn’t ever going to come across as the dreaded hippy-type or militant birth campaigner. Like me.

For the most part I just nodded in agreement with her. When the nearly-due lady asked if it was possible to hire a midwife privately, as hers is so rubbish, I was able to espouse the virtues of independent midwifery and I also mentioned doulas. I think I managed to toe the line I find so difficult, that of switching off my campaigning head and just being a normal mum, talking to another normal mum and hopefully pointing her gently in a sensible direction that will help make a positive birth attainable. Maybe next week she’ll be telling us that she’s booked a home birth and hired a doula. Maybe even an IM. I hope so, for her sake.

Shopping for the Baby

So, I bought THE jeans. The Boob Jeggings. I grabbed a bargain on eBay, new with tags, and they are excellent, a little long for my average height but they fit great otherwise and do the exact job I bought them for, they may even be comfy enough and flexible enough to wear to my yoga class!

I was talking to a friend today about shopping and how my shopping behaviour has been different during this pregnancy compared to last time. In part it’s down to money, hubby and I are better off this time around than a few years ago so there is less holding me back from clicking on “Add to basket”, though we are not really as affluent as my recent shopping habits would imply and I really must try to restrain myself more. Continue reading

Guess The Weight

Guess how many sweets are in the jar, or better yet, guess how much the sweets inside the jar weigh. Not including the jar itself but including all the sweets you can’t actually see in the photo….

I’ll give you a little help, you see that green one near the top left? Well the distance from the highest tip of that sweet to the lowest tip of the red stripy one down the bottom is… let’s say 25cm. NOW tell me how much the contents of the jar weigh.

What? You mean you can’t work it out?

No, I couldn’t either, neither can my mathematically gifted husband. Although he does argue that he is familiar with these kinds of sweet jars and would therefore be able to estimate that the sweets weigh 1kg. But he is missing my point a bit.

From looking at this picture alone, with one arbitrary measurement and without being able to see maybe 80% of the sweets in the jar, there is absolutely no way that with this information alone anyone would be able to estimate with any degree of accuracy how much the sweets weigh. My husband is right though, using his life experience, he can guess the weight fairly accurately. But we do know with some degree of certainty that these exact sweets were weighed before putting them in the jar prior to sale. The same cannot be said of a baby in the womb. Continue reading

A Good Fit

I’m in need of a little rant about maternity clothes. First time around I didn’t really bother, I got a couple of pairs of trousers and some generic, non-maternity, stretchy tops and made do. Partly because finances were tight but also because I didn’t feel the need to buy anything special and saw it as a waste of money for clothes that would only be worn for a few months.

I’ve had a change of heart this time around though. I’ll be heavily pregnant right through winter this time, so I want to have clothes that don’t gape and that will keep me and the bump warm. So I bought some maternity jeans, a few tops (which I got in the Next sale in the summer and was thinking ahead!) and a maternity coat (fairly cheap on eBay). The bootcut jeans that I got are fab, if a little on the big side as Next do quite generous sizes, so I ordered a size smaller but they were too small. Sigh. Caught between sizes it seems. I also bought some skinny jeans to wear with my winter boots, but they only have an under-the-bump jersey band. My jeans from my first pregnancy had this type of band too and I really don’t get it. The band just rolls down and wedges itself under the bump. So what is the point exactly? (If anyone has an answer, do please leave a comment as I’d love to know) The jeans are also too big and fall down constantly. The bootcut ones, with an over-the-bump band, do slip down a little, but the band stays firmly over the bump so the jeans don’t fall down too badly. Continue reading