Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Parenting help - remember It's a phase!

I was asked recently what advice I would give to a new parent to stay calm and cope with the challenges of motherhood.  As a mum of 5, the one phrase that comes to mind over and over again is "it's just a phase".  When one of them has used a swear word for the 10th time to get a response, I remind myself "it is just a phase", when another has pulled down his pants in the middle of the playground, arched his back and done a huge wee right by the other kids, I say to myself "it is just a phase".  When my eldest began answering back big time I had to stay calm and keep saying "it is just a phase" even though I know this phase could last a long time!!

The beauty with having had quite a few kids is that I realise now that all the challenging times and difficult behaviours do CHANGE.  No matter how bad things seem, there will come a time when you realise that things have changed and that you and your child have moved on.  How many times did you feel like a certain behaviour was just going on and on and then a few months later you suddenly realise at some point it just stopped.  I can not remember the day that Jo suddenly stopped biting other toddlers when he was about 2,  I can not remember the day when Jacob stopped caressing my breast for comfort,  I can not even remember the day I stopped breastfeeding Alex, I can not remember the day when Toby stopped whining and used words clearly and succinctly. - all these things just silently and gracefully stopped. 

I remember when my eldest was a baby, he developed colic when he was about 6 weeks old.  After 3 nights, a well meaning friend try to comfort me by saying that colic normally goes by about 12 weeks.  At that time I felt that 12 weeks seemed like an eternity - how was I going to cope with another 8 weeks, 56 more days of inconsolable crying.  I remember wishing that the time would pass quickly but feeling like time was going so slowly. As it turned out, as soon as I stopped consuming dairy products his colic went completely and so he only had it for about a week.  However the point was that it was just another phase that passed and I coped.

So my advice is no matter how bad things get, it will pass. I do not mean that you can just ignore it and hope it will go away - there is still a huge amount of parenting, explaining, communicating and loving that needs doing. However the reward is that once it has passed you will get a new peace (even for a short while) plus you will have learnt new coping strategies, found different ways to teach them how to deal with life and you will have grown as a parent.  So the next time you feel like their tantrums are driving you nuts, or they refuse to eat anything green, or they repeat words they have heard in the playground, take a deep breath, remember that it is just a phase and think of it as an opportunity to help them find a new way to manage the situation and for you to grow as a parent.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

life as a mum of 5!

Life as a mum of 5 might daunt, even scare many women.   Had I been told that I would become a mum of 5 prior to my years of motherhood, I would have laughed and thought you were mad - yet here I am 10 years later with 5 glorious little boys and feeling that it is quite normal. 

As with all cases - when you look in on someone else's life you often say or think to yourself "how do they cope?" and yet when you are in that life you just do as that is all you can do.

Is it easy? - well yes and no. It is hectic, noisy and can be very challenging but on the whole I love it.  I love having my "tribe" wherever I go, and yes I love that attention we get and the joy of being able to say I have 5 boys. I love seeing them all play together and the fact they will always have each other as companions.  I am continually amazed how different they are and how unique in spite of them having the same home, parents and back ground.

And the challenges?  Of course it is tiring keeping up with them ie the washing, activities, homework, food (!!) and so on, however the hardest part is making sure they all have enough of my time and that they are having their emotional needs met.  I may have 5 boys - but they only have one mummy, regardless of how busy I am.  We seem to go round in circles when one of them needs us more and is crying out for attention, we find a way to manage that one and then it seems like the next one needs their particular attention, and on it goes.

But at the end of the day, having 5 gorgeous happy, active boys all fighting for place on our big bed first thing in the morning is priceless.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Daniel's birth

We knew from early on in my pregnancy that this baby was definitely going to be our last. We had both agreed that 4 kids would be great, however after our fourth we both felt that we wanted just one more. So when I fell pregnant we knew that this was definitely the last one so throughout my pregnancy I kept thinking…I have to really enjoy and cherish this as I will never feel / experience it again.

As with all my other pregnancies the last few weeks were a string of on.. off mild contractions. With each of them there were at least 3 occasions when I thought I was going into labour and then everything stopped. This time was no different, but whenever I thought things might be starting, I would simply lie down and do my hypnosis or I would go to bed and wait for things to pick up or fizzle out.
At about a week over the estimated due date I began getting stronger feelings every 10 mins or so throughout the day. As my eldest son (9 yrs) was adamant that he wanted to be at the birth, he stayed at home while we sent the other three off to my parents for the night. By about 9 o’clock it all seemed to stop again. We packed Jo off to bed and then my husband and I sat chatting for a while. I was beginning to get quite despondent and a bit fed up and had a bit of a cry which probably did me the world of good. As I feel there are great expectations of me because of my work, I had been very “cerebral” about the birth and was constantly analysing what was going on in my body rather than following my own advice to others and just letting go and trusting that everything was happening as it should.
As we had filled the pool up, Phil suggested I get in just to have a relax and to try it out (it was new style pool that I had not actually got in to). While in the pool we started chatting about our honey moon 12 years ago and reminisced about it in great detail. An hour after my last contraction they suddenly started up again and then never stopped.

We had a blissful few hours in our candle lit living room with me in the pool, as we chatted quietly or dozed between contractions. I had not planned on staying in the pool as on a self examination I was hardly even a centimetre dilated. However as the contractions began to become more frequent and increased in intensity I did not really want to be anywhere else. By midnight I knew things were well under way and can honestly say I was enjoying it.

The sensations were strong and powerful and I had to really focus my breathing, but as with my pregnancy I kept telling myself that this was the last time I would experience it so I might as well make the most of it. A couple of times I began to doubt my self (classic self doubt phases around 7 cm dilated) but then I found myself saying “I can do this – my body is doing this – just go with it – you have done this before”. It was a completely instinctive response and really helped me. Unlike my other births I found that I was more mobile during contractions as I found that swaying or rotating my hips during contractions was really helpful.

We had decided to leave calling the midwife until as late as possible as my midwife of the last 10 years who had been with me for all the births could not come that evening and so I was likely to get a midwife I had never met before. This had been a worry for me as I was concerned that she may not fit in with our way of doing things. However, half way through I found myself actively letting go of those worries and just accepting that what would be would be. My husband called the hospital at 1am and the midwife turned up about 1.45. By that point I did another internal check and was puzzled that I could not feel my cervix which made me think I had not dilated at all – rather than realising that I was close to fully dilated. My conscious brain took over for a bit, thinking that if I was not even dilated, how could I cope with many more hours of these contractions. However very quickly I went back into my birthing mode and simply worked with each individual contraction, visualising my cervix opening, breathing rhythmically and rotating my hips.

Not long after the midwife arrived, I began to feel that familiar pressure as the baby had moved down and was ready to be born, At that point I had another moment of self doubt as I looked at my husband and said “ I don’t like this any more!”. I also stared shaking which my conscious mind told me was a great sign as the baby was about to be born. A few contractions later I began to involuntarily start pushing. Just before I began pushing I found myself thinking yet again – this is the last time you are going to do this – enjoy it, remember the feelings, cherish this incredible power in your body, trust your body and go for it. Within seconds my body took over and simply pushed my son gently down and out as I continued to breathe rhythmically making low groaning sounds. His head and body were born in just one slow continuous push lasting about 3 minutes.

My husband had woken our eldest son just a few minutes earlier and so he came down just in time to see the baby being born. It was wonderful to have my body give birth with no one touching me or the baby. The midwife was fantastic and totally respectful of our wishes – all she did was check my blood pressure and the baby’s heart beat when she arrived and then left me completely alone. As soon as he slid out of my body, I completely came out of “the zone” as my son likes to put it and excitedly said “where’s my baby” as I had not put my hands down to catch him. After fumbling around at the bottom of the dark pool, I scooped him up and gazed down at this wondrous new addition to our family. He was so calm that I actually think he was still asleep. He did not make a sound or even open his eyes. He wriggled a little and then snuggled into my arms – he was perfect!
As I had had a slightly low lying placenta I decided to get out of the pool to birth the placenta which came out quickly and easily as the baby latched on and began feeding. My eldest son (aged 9) clamped and cut the chord. He even put on a pair of gloves and had a feel of the placenta as the midwife explained what was what and how it worked.

It had been such a wonderful birth and I felt so bblessed that my last birth was as close to perfect as it could be. It had been hard going the last couple of hours and I had the usual feelings of self doubt – but once again, never did I feel out of control, never did I feel fear, never did I feel that my body was not able to birth my baby. My un questionable faith in my body, my ability to use hypnosis to truly relax my body and my trust and belief that I was perfectly designed to birth my baby carried me through. I am physically no different to any other woman. I do not believe that my body is better equipped to give birth than other women. I do believe however that my beliefs and my mind set are what make the difference

By letting go of fear, by truly trusting your body at a subconscious level and by learning how to work with your body through relaxation, breathing and visualisation, I know that all women have the possibility to have a positive birth. The crazy thing is that it is not difficult to achieve. Self hypnosis is so simple and easy and yet it can be life changing. My deepest wish is that I can get this message out so that all women have the opportunity to have a positive birth experience.

Monday, 4 January 2010

It has been a couple of weeks since my last entry as life has been hectic over xmas and new year.  With only a week or 2 until baby No 5 I am getting myself as prepared as possible.

I have had a tough few weeks physcially with some bad back pain and an awful bout of a urinary tract infection. However as with all things in life I have gained some positive outputs from this.

For the back pain I have discovered "earth shoes" - the soles are slightly higher at the front than the back so when you stand and walk the pelvis is tilted very slightly which relieves a huge amount of pressure from the spine.  I have worn these non stop for about 4 weeks and have no more pain or twinges - a miracle when 39 weeks pregnant.  I got them from http://www.loveshoes.co.uk/  - highly recommendeed to any pregnant woman or any one with lower back pain.

Re the UTI - I am so opposed to antibiotics (especially when pregnant) but came so close to taking them as the condition went on for almost a week and I spent about 4 days in real discomfort strapped to the loo!!.  However with perseverence, drinking about 12 pints a day and taking apple cider vinegar, honey and intense probiotics I have got through it with out having to comprimise my or my body's immune system so close to the  birth.  The other wonderful learning is that I have have had more energy, felt more alert and my skin looks amazing due to the volume of liquid I have consumed.  It appears I have been so dehydated for years!

My third blessing is that I have rediscoverd the magic of my own hypnosis CDS!  Inspite of working with them day in day out for so many years, it is only by practcing what I preach that I remind myslef of how beneficial they are.  I have been listening to my home birth CD and still get amazed at how relaxed and calm I feel after listening ot them.