A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a lovely lady who had really enjoyed the 5 Days to a Better Birth Challenge. She said she would love to hear more about my own births. Specifically, she wanted to know more detail about how I used my own techniques to birth, my three children, naturally, and if I had any tips about how to navigate the Irish hospital system.
So I thought it might be really useful to share more of that detail with you today. Make a cuppa and get cosy :-)
My first birth, like for most people, had the biggest impact on me and shaped my whole birthing experience. It was in 2009, and not much has changed in the Irish hospital system (apart from Covid!), in so far as the staff are blooming awesome, but sadly for them and for us, they are desperately understaffed and there is a growing tendency to treat birth as a heavily medicalized event. Therefore, giving birth in Ireland (and most of the Westernized world) can currently be a little tricky to...
Is taking time out for yourself being selfish or is it an act of self-care/self-love? When you have a lot of other responsibilities and people depending on you, what is acceptable as loving yourself, and what is seen as selfish?
This is something that has personally come up recently and I'm surprised that it has surfaced. So I wanted to write down my thoughts and get your feelings too?
Whether you have young children, are pregnant, have a hectic work life, have family or carer commitments, or whatever it is, how do you find that balance? At what point is taking some time for yourself considered a necessity...or when does it tip over to be seen as a selfish act, that you are putting yourself first. Where do you draw the line?
Personally, I feel our parent's generation was not 'good' at this. When I look at my mom, my god she's a trojan...she rarely stops. She's amazing, phenomenal and at times I'm simply in awe of her! Is this to be admired, are we being soft, or...
When I set up NurtureMamas, my mission was to reach more women to help them feel strong, comfortable, fit and happy in Pregnancy, prepare for a Birth they could actually enjoy, and have a smooth and confident transition into Motherhood.
The Club, the monthly membership, is an extension of this, where I share all my knowledge, tips and experience with you to help you on your journey. It is personalised to specifically help you in the difference stages of Pregnancy and overcome the challenges you face.
If you ever:
* Experience Back Pain
* Think about your birth & feel anxious
* Have difficulty sleeping during your Pregnancy
* Wonder about the Pelvic Floor - what the heck it actually is & if you are exercises right?!
* Want to learn breathing techniques you can use during labour & birth
* Feel weak post-baby in your back, tummy muscles, or just desperately need a good stretch out?!
...then these are just some of the problems I will help you solve and improve.
During my training for the Dublin City Marathon, I go for a long run on the weekends. This weekend, I wrecked my hip. During the week, I could feel it niggle so I rested, but after 8 miles on my long run, I had to pull up, make the call and get a lift home. I'm very peeved about it, but also, it actually happened on the other hip the last time I trained for the marathon. As with all challenges in life, I need to listen to the lesson in this! I'm sharing this as I know it will help a lot of women, regardless if you are pregnant, had a baby a few months or a few years ago!
I know myself I need to incorporate more glute (butt) strengthening work into my routine. I'm fairly flexible, so often what happens in the body is if someone is really flexible in some part of their body, they need to build strength or stability. And the reverse is also true. You'll often see very strong guys in a yoga class who are really inflexible. Finding the balance is key, particularly as you increase...
I will never forget those long hours in the evening, desperately trying to help my eldest son who was screaming crying, pulling his little knees into his chest, obviously in such discomfort. It was crippling to not know what to do, not be able to help soothe him. I was his mother, why couldn't I calm him down? What the heck was wrong with this tiny little baby, squirming every night in my arms?
Nothing can prepare you for the challenges of motherhood until you are right in the thick of it. It's at that point when you would literally do anything to get out of it. You'd pay anyone any amount of money to solve your baby's discomfort.
But what I find is the hardest thing is actually trying to diagnose what specifically is wrong with baby. Is this colic, or silent reflux, or some form of intolerance, or any other list of ailments? There is literally nothing worse than not knowing and trying everything you can think of, trying every bit of advice given to you by your...
When I was asked to give a talk last week in aid of Maternal Mental Health Awareness week for the powerhouse team that is Everymum.ie, I was honoured. I set about laying out my talk and discovered that I had never really sat down properly to consider my own Mental Health journey through Motherhood. This blog is a summary of that talk.
If you had asked me a few years ago about Maternal Mental Health, I think I would probably have been a little dismissive. I mean, you get to stay at home from work for almost a year - how can that be hard?! Before I had kids, in all honesty, I didn't even consider Maternal Mental Health as even a "thing". Well, roll on three miscarriages and three children later and I know only too well the challenges!
We all have our own stories and challenges, and I remember when my eldest was a baby and he had transient lactose intolerance. It was a nightmare. I had to pump, put drops into my milk, wait for 30 minutes and then give it to him. My god,...
Ok, so you’ve had your darling baby but holy God your back is wrecked! Now you are constantly picking baba up, bending forward, feeding, rounding your back and probably are noticing that your core tummy muscles have somewhat disappeared. What can you do?
Let’s not panic and recognize first off just what an amazing body you have and that we need to treat it with some respect! So slowly slowly is the name of the game.
The strength of your back depends on so many things – how your pregnancy was, number of pregnancies you have had, how much weight you put on, how strong your core muscles were pre & during your pregnancy, how fit you were and are now, and how long it has been since you gave birth.
In order to start back exercising, make sure you have GP clearance. If you have suffered from any form of Pelvic Disorder during pregnancy or have any Pelvic Trauma post birth, you must go to a Physiotherapist before you start exercising again. Also if you feel...
When you were pregnant, all your energy, thoughts and resources went into feeling as good as you possibly could, and into your impending birth! Your mind wasn't that focused on how you were going to manage life once baby arrived. No doubt you thought you were going to sail through this thing called motherhood. You bought all the gear...you looked excitedly at the buggy system you had just invested massively in. You knew that some babies could be 'tough going', but yours would be cool. You and your partner would be able to deal with the baby's arrival. You were looking forward to spending those first couple of weeks together as a new family going out for brunches, little walks and spending quality time together. The change in your relationship would be for the better, and 6 months off work seemed like great craic...sure how would you even fill your days? Think of all those lunches and coffees you could have, right?!
"He just couldn't settle her, so I had to leave the nail salon in the middle of getting my nails done to come home to them"
"Nobody can settle the baby as quickly as I can"
"He'll only go down for me"
"She'll only take the bottle for me"
"Ah it's just easier if I do it myself"
Question gorgeous girl - have you ever said any of the above sentences? I know I have! And I have heard ALL of these lines in my postnatal classes, on many occasions! Ah, us women are controlling...that's hard to admit, but so so true when it comes to our babies. I often talk about this in my classes, and it gets many a wry smile! Whether we know best or not, we gotta do something about this. I'll tell you why...because it will help us (and our relationships!) in the long run.
I'm a big fan of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO (Chief Operating Officer). I read her book "Lean in" over Christmas. Her ethos is that women need to be more empowered at work, if that is their chosen route. Much of the book deals...
I remember when my first baby was born, I had ZERO friends with kiddies. Zero! At the time, I was living with my parents in their lovely home, as my husband was commuting weekly to London. But good God I felt lonely. Then a close friend suggested I hook up with one of her best friends who was in the same position and thankfully we went on to become great friends and now have boys the same ages and even in the same class in school!
But I often thought about how I would cope if I didn't have the luxury of living with my wonderful parents in their beautiful and very spacious house. The only thing I ever needed to focus on was my newborn son. Dinners appeared without me having to lift a finger, dirty clothes were taken from the basket and put back into my room ironed, folded, spick and span. My mother is a saint. I thought about those ladies staying on their own for the whole day, feeling exhausted, potentially really confused or overwhelmed, and desperately lonely. And as we all...