Politics and pregnancy





What does self care mean to you?




Who am I?

Freebirth becoming more popular


I started my midwifery education in 1997.  For the University I eventually studied with, the interview consisted of a presentation entitled "Changing childbirth. Whose needs are we meeting?"  This sticks in my mind for 2 reasons.  Firstly it really made me consider and be aware of womens choice in care.  Secondly it was a terrifying experience and the 1st question I was asked about my presentation made no sense at all and I probably would have got my name wrong at that point... 


It's now 21 years later and it appears that we should still be asking that question as we are not meeting the needs of many women and they have decided that birthing on their own is preferable to NHS or independent midwifery care.


This saddens me greatly and on many different levels.  Women always have and shall remain being at the centre of my midwifery care.  I'm branching out with my business but will always have women firmly at the centre of it.  Without strong and evidenced information women cannot actually have true choice.


The research that has raised the issue of a rise in freebirthing cites many reasons why women are making this choice.  They feel more in control, don't want to have to 'fight' protocols or policies, have lost faith in a system that previously traumatised them, believe that the medical model of pregnancy and birth won't let them have the experience they wish and will make them high risk, fear of coercion and the list goes on.  Some women also simply believe that their body was made to birth and trust that it will do just that.


As a midwife I applaud that women believe and trust in their abilities and that they are educating themselves about what is best for them and their baby.  I'm equally saddened that midwives are not trusted to support their choices and will potentially coerce them with scare tactics and misleading information.


Through the work I now do I'm seeing a huge rise in women reporting PND and PTSD following birth and their birth partners are also being affected.  I am able to support and help them heal from their experiences but I wish there wasn't such a need.  Thankfully the stigma surrounding this is slowly being broken down but I have to ask the question.  Whose needs are we meeting?




My journey to self-care


There’s an amazing Facebook group just started. So amazing, it’s been going 6 days and now has 3.4k members. What group is this I hear you ask? Self-care for midwives.


The group aims to be a great resource for midwives struggling or needing to have a rant to people who ‘just get it’. I love that a need was seen and acted on. I’m so sad that in just 6 days 3.4k midwives have joined a group to get advice and support about how to care for themselves.


I’m also relieved that it isn’t just me who’s felt this way, that I wasn’t weak and pathetic, it wasn’t because I was a bad midwife.


I’m a midwife, it’s a crucial part of my identity, I never wanted to do anything else. In 2013 I landed my dream midwifery role. However, it soon became clear I’d walked into a living hell. Rude, unprofessional staff were draining, lack of management support and their understanding of my role was frustrating and interference in my job was damaging to my self-esteem, self-belief and self-respect.


You think it’ll get better and once you find your feet you’ll be fine. Unfortunately, I became the midwife I swore I’d never be. I hated going into work and couldn’t sleep. I cajoled and begged the team I was leading to work harder, increase their knowledge, spend time with the women and nurture them, the list goes on.


I was terrified of looking like I had no idea, that I was failing, that I wasn’t the midwife I’d said I was. 9 months later I was lost. The first sign that all was not right was bursting into tears because the grill wouldn’t work. I cried pretty much on and off for the rest of the day and many more after that.


When I left this perfect job that I’d had so many dreams about, it wasn’t a way I’d ever left a job before. No card or gifts, no “we’ll miss you” as I left for the final time. None of that. The day I walked out of the door for the final time I got in the car as usual for the 25minute drive home and my world turned upside down.


That journey is still as clear as if it was yesterday, but I struggle to comprehend how I got to that point. The point I’d rather kill myself than go back the next day. The point where a long wheelbase van pulled out from a turning really slowly and I accelerated towards it.


I went to places I couldn’t imagine, so many times thinking I was at the bottom of the black hole but there were plenty more depths before recovery could begin. Suicidal in the day, harming and planning, yet lying awake at night with palpitations so crazy it felt like my heart would pump out of my chest and I was terrified I’d die.


I lost pretty much everything. Ended up living in my car for 4 weeks. My relationship with family broke down: I was the happy, funny, dependable one and then one day I wasn’t. I existed, I didn’t live.


I bought a van and made it into a camper, it’s a bit rough and ready but nearly three years later I’m still there and finally at peace.


I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for some very special people. My GP is awesome and I had an amazing therapist who saw me free until I was at the top of the 9-12month NHS waiting list.


Friends. Spread out over the country but they have literally patched me up, suffered soaking and snotty shoulders, bailed me out financially and loved me even when I thought I was completely unlovable. They’ve also made me laugh and believe I am an all-right person! I’ve worked hard on myself and my future. I’ve talked, cried, meditated, hit things, walked the dog at crazy times of night, written a diary and studied.


I now have a Diploma in Midwifery Complementary Therapies, Certificate in Midwifery Acupuncture, and I’ve qualified in Hypnotherapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming. I now support women, birth partners and professionals in my own business. I’m passionate about helping them recover from birth trauma or PND, working with partners and birth partners also affected or just giving the important therapy of touch via a simple massage. Slowly it’s building into something I’m really proud of.


Admitting you’re struggling isn’t easy but it’s easier to say when you’re teetering rather than drowning. Help is out there. It’s not always easy to find or even immediate but just reaching out and sharing the burden of your thoughts can help a little and be the beginning of positive mental health. If you broke your leg you’d go to the doctor - so if your brain is breaking, do the same. And be kind. Be kind to those around you as you never know what that person may have fought to just get out of bed that day. And most of all, be kind to yourself.



Hypnotherapy during pregnancy and birth

Type hypnobirthing into a search engine and over 950,000 results will flash up in less than a second!  So what is this phenomena and how can it help you?

Put simply, it uses self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to help you feel physically, mentally and spiritually prepared and to reduce anxiety, fear and pain.

There are many different programmes of hypnobirthing and teachers will also vary in their style of presentation and use of language.  Research into classes in your local area will give you some information and lots of teachers do free taster sessions before you sign up so you can see if they are a good match for you.

Common teachings include visualisation, positive thinking, words to relax the body and control sensations.  Some will also cover the more traditional 'antenatal class' information alongside the hypnobirthing preparation.

Hypnobirthing can be used in combination with many other birthing techniques and doesn't just have use in physiological childbirth, I've known women who have used it with fantastic results during both planned and emergency caesareans.

Benefits commonly talked about by hypnobirthing mothers include shorter labours, feeling calm and energetic following birth, less analgesia needed, feeling of control and positivity that the techniques can be used anywhere and at any time.  There is also some suggestion that there is a lower incidence of postnatal depression if hypnobirthing techniques have been used in labour.

My hypnosis training followed on from becoming an NLP Practitioner and is an accredited hypnotherapy qualification.  Using this I can tailor the hypnosis to your individual needs during pregnancy, birth and once baby has arrived. 

I also provide smoking cessation, food intolerance support, techniques for coping with anxiety and/or depression, boosting confidence and improving self belief amongst other things.  You don't have to be pregnant or female to book these hypnotherapy sessions but you do need to be over the age of 16.





Aromatherapy and pregnancy

Aromatherapy.  I LOVE it, I use it personally, it's part of my business and many of the treatments I provide for women, it's becoming huge on social media.

It's the "becoming huge on social media" bit that has made me take to writing this.  The power of essential oils is immense, they aren't just amazing smells but great tools to assist with treating the body's ailments.

One thing that is not particularly huge on social media about there use is that they are actually metabolised the same way as pharmaceutical drugs.

Pregnant women avoid many medications during pregnancy yet think nothing of rubbing neat oils into their abdomens or having infusers constantly releasing aromas.  There are some marketing strategies that rely on the "of course they're safe, they're natural" mantra to make money.

If you can smell the oil you can be affected by it. If the oil is being used for a particular reason it will potentially also do that for any person who comes into contact with it.  I make specific blends at the time of treating my clients, preparation for labour is one of my most common and also most successful packages.  I've also managed to irritate my own uterus when doing a treatment and Auntie flow was in town.....

Natural = safe. No, not always! If you're allergic to citrus then you may also have a reaction to citrus oils for example.

It's estimated that 80% of pregnant women use aromatherapy and other complementary therapies during their pregnancy and birth.

"Professor Google" and people in social media groups won't be aware of your history and often give advice that is potentially dangerous and could cause lasting damage.  Even your midwife may not be able to advise you, it's not part of mandatory training so unless they have done an extra course they will potentially have no knowledge on the subject.

I know, i know, I sound like a right moaning minnie!  I promise I'm not but the issue needs to be raised.

Aromatherapy and essential oils are awesome but please make sure you seek advise from someone trained in aromatherapy and pregnancy.  The chances of a negative outcome are small but they are real.

#aromatherapy #wellbeing #midwife #complementarytherapist

Maternal mental health week

May is world mental health awareness month and this first week focusses on maternal mental health.

We need to break the stigma surrounding mental health battles. Reaching out is the beginning of the recovery process.

I've had my own battle with poor mental health so understand the isolation and vulnerability that are mixed in with feeling terrible.  Outside the sun is shining but you feel lost in a storm of dark and sadness.

3:10 women in the UK develop postnaatal depression symptoms in the year following birth and evidence is showing that trauma experienced in during the birth process is a strong indicator for depression.

Pregnancy and labour can push you both physically and mentally to the limit. It's so important to talk about your feeling and if you need some extra support then seek it.

"natural is best"

"my friend had it much worse, she's fine, move on"

"you've got a healthy baby so what's the problem"

"it's too late for help"

All of the above I've heard being said of have been told about it by women who have been told this. Women working together and supporting each other are an amazing for for greatness. Not hearing what others are saying can be just as destructive. None of the above are 'true' and each woman will have her own journey, feelings and outcomes.

I use a variety of therapies and techniques for women and birth partners following any kind of trauma related to birth with amazing results. Will it happen overnight? No, but there is most definitely light after trauma and post natal depression.

I've invested in me so I can help you invest in you.  It's never too late.....

You can message through the website or text 07915 399951 for a no obligation chat about how I can help you x

#maternalmhmatters #stopthestigma #wellbeing

What about investing in self care?

This quote from #bossbabe rings so true with me on many levels.

My whole career has been based on caring for women and their families but when it comes to myself I'm not so good at it.  Scrap that, I've not been good at it but I'm gradually learning that I can't invest the time and energy into others how I'd like if I don't first do it for myself.....

The last few years have been tough.  Really tough. I went over the edge and into the abyss, finding places on that journey that were as low as I thought possible only to find out that I could always find somewhere even lower.

If my car needs a service, I pay for one. I fancy a new hair style, I pay for it. If I want some new body art I'm happy to pay £70 an hour to my fabulous tattoo artist. So why is it I baulk at the thought of paying that kind of money for my own physical and emotional wellbeing?

It's ok not to be ok but how do you keep it all together?  Modern life can be so busy and we're all striving for the "perfect" life that we can become lost and the basic nourishing of ourselves ends up at the bottom of the pile.

Take a walk and really see the amazing beauty of nature around you, join a yoga class, take time out for a massage or other treatment, talk and engage with people or simply take some time just to be.

Life is short and the most amazing time of pregnancy even shorter, make sure you enjoy both to their full potential.  Nourish yourself and you're half way there.....