Let’s make no mistake here – being a mother can be kinda tough; growing a baby, birthing a baby and then, after all that, taking care of a baby is no picnic. It is also the biggest blessing I have been lucky enough to experience. But if maybe, just maybe, there are some simple ways to make the whole process a little bit easier, a little bit better, then I am all for it.
Every one of us is different and every mother’s journey and beliefs are different (wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same?) so it probably goes without saying that some of these suggestions might not be right for you but, for me, they have been life-changing. And I do not say that lightly. It is not just a headline to grab your attention, it is the truth. Life. Changing.
This is not a shopping guide of must have products and gadgets because I am definitely a ‘less is more’ kind of mother but I do want to share these three things that really benefitted my mind, body and soul.
Scroll down to discover my top three…
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HYPNOBIRTHING – £39
The Positive Birth Company online course
I think hypnobirthing often conjurs up images of hippies in tents and some airy fairy notion of a trance like state but let me set the record straight – nobody is being hypnotised. This is all about science.
During my first pregnancy I looked into hypnobirthing and tried to understand the principles but the local group courses were full and the private lessons not within my budget. The birth was tough but positive.
This time around I really felt like I could do better. I mean, who would enter a marathon and just rock up on the day having done no training? I put some feelers out and The Positive Birth Company was recommended to me time and again. I ordered the book ASAP. I started reading and it all immediately made SO much sense to me. I had a genuine understanding of the journey my body was going on and how to prepare. I was ready. Except now I recognised what a crucial role the husband would play and I knew this book was only destined to join the heap of ‘must read’ books languishing by his bedside table in an old plant pot (he doesn’t do plants either).
And this is why the online course is the game changer. Essentially the content is identical to the paperback book but the difference is that you can watch this with your birth partner, practice together, discuss options together and, when the day comes, you will BOTH be ready. And this course really teaches you to be ready for anything; you might even elect to go down an entirely different route for personal or medical reasons but that does not mean this course is not for you – you learn to understand your body and the process and how to eliminate your anxiety to minimise your pain. Whatever route you choose for your birth I can almost guarantee that if you do this course you will cross the finish line with a healthier mind.
My second birth was an unmedicated marathon but it was also a hugely positive experience for me. If you’re pregnant download the course and if you know someone who is pregnant this could be the most profound gift you could give.
SQUEEZE – £2.99
NHS Squeezy app
Eight weeks after Summer was born I had a chest infection. That brought with it the cough that quite literally ripped my body apart (cartilage from ribs). Up to that point I had been somewhat lax with my postpartum ‘training’ and by training I do not mean sweating in the gym – I mean pelvic floor exercises. I will be quite honest here and say that after two babies a cough that extreme can leave you somewhat concerned about what might happen if a cough sneaks up on you with a full bladder. But here’s the thing… most mothers will make jokes about their trampolining days being over but, having spoken with my doctor I know, that really should not be the case. In fact there is no reason your pelvic floor muscles should be anything other than as strong as they were pre baby.
The Squeezy app is pretty basic in design but it does the job perfectly. You can create your own routine or go with the recommended program and set up reminders – I chose times of day which I know are realistic for me like when I am feeding the baby or watching TV. Within two weeks the difference was huge and I ain’t stopping now, there is no going back.
FYI pelvic floor exercises are not just for mothers – impact sports and exercise can weaken your muscles too and keeping them strong is probably the most important workout you should be doing. Start now and do not stop. Strong, healthy muscles can improve not only childbirth and recovery but also orgasms… yep, I went there. And I bet you started doing them right away didn’t you?
SLEEP – From £120
Eat Play Sleep Training
Becoming a new mother is a lot. It is amazing in all sorts of ways I could never have dreamt of but there is a lot to deal with, emotionally and physically and those first few weeks, months and years (take it from someone with a toddler) can really test you. So imagine trying to cope with all these new challenges and not being at the top of your game – in fact, imagine trying to deal with it all whilst you are absolutely knackered. Well, frankly, that is just not for me.
Tiffany Jaeger from Eat Play Sleep got in touch with me shortly after Hunter was born to offer her services and at first I was all like (dismissive hand waving), ‘Nah, I got this… he’s a good wee sleeper and only wakes two or three times a night. We are all good over here thanks.’ I had friends whose ‘babies’ were still up through the night at one and two years old – some even older – what did I have to complain about with my newborn? Then, at eight weeks, the husband started back to work and the nightshift was all on me. Two nights in and I was jiggered. I figured I would give Tiffany a shout, you know, just try her out but it probably wouldn’t be for me…
But this woman is an angel. She gave me the gift of sleep. By twelve weeks old Hunter was sleeping twelve hours a night and, at two and a half, he still does.
Ok, cards on the table, there is some tough love involved and you need some nerves of steel at times – it is not for everyone. But, it turns out, it is for me. Hunter was the most relaxed, contented little guy, full of smiles and happiness and I put that down to him having this great routine; with the eat, play, sleep structure in place during the day I believe he was the happiest he could be and it really helped him get into a groove at night too. Honestly, I can be a bit cross without my solid night of zzz’s, just imagine how a baby feels.
We had already decided to pay for Tiffany’s services when Summer arrived but she very kindly offered them free of charge again. I want to be clear though – this is 100% something I would spend my own money on. I took her advice (via email) from day three but in truth I tailored it somewhat and went with a softly, softly approach for those first few, precious weeks. We worked on her daytime pattern, understanding the times she should naturally be awake and also asleep and getting into our groove, and then, just shy of six weeks old and the night before we planned to start working on the ‘through the night’ stuff, she only went and did it all by herself and slept the whole night through. And I don’t mean the whole night in the midnight till 6am kinda way, I mean the 7pm to the 7am shift. She nailed it.
And thank goodness because since then this poor little girl has had a lot to deal with and, although her daytime naps do not honestly always go to plan, she has slept through the night like a champ every single night since then (even when she was coughing every hour and even when she was suffering with pretty bad reflux). That foundation set her on the right path and this girl clearly loves her bedtime.
I always think I can deal with just about anything if I’ve had a good night’s sleep and I think Summer feels the same.
Motherhood is the hardest job in the world (FYI the salary and the holidays suck) but the rewards are Everest immense. But if any of these things can help make life a little easier, a little healthier or a little happier then that is a bonus. This post is not sponsored in any way – these are truly just the things that have changed my life and my journey as a parent for the better and I hope they might be relevant to some of you too.x
This post contains some affiliate links and gifts.