Preparation for labour…

Apologies for the late post today readers, I had something all ready to go and it didn’t publish so I’ve brought tomorrows post forwards. I hope you can help. 🙂 All the beautiful images are by Peter Lawson, of Laura Lawson labouring with their gorgeous little man Albert late last year. Thanks for the images guys!


Image Credit: Lawson Photography

Now that I’m over the 6 months pregnant milestone, the thought of giving birth seems to be looming even more. I have to say, I have all my life wondered why women want to have children if they have to go through childbirth to achieve it, but then that’s a very short term outlook and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised it’s just a means to an end. As part of my job I’ve seen the whole spectrum of deliveries, from highly medicalised traumatic events to beautifully calm natural labours. We joke that medics never get a calm birth and everything always go wrong, but equally I know medical friends who have had straightforward deliveries. From a totally natural perspective, I wonder how much fear of things going wrong affects a woman’s labour and if the flight or flight adrenaline response can (I know it does,) slow things down or cause delays and complications.


Image Credit: Lawson Photography

All this has lead me to think about how I should prepare for baby Norris’s delivery. Don’t shout at me, but I don’t believe in birth plans. I have rarely seen them come to fruition and it always seemed when I was working that the more of a plan there was made, the higher the chance there was of something going wrong. I also feel strongly that women are lead to believe that they can plan their delivery, which I believe is largely predetermined by anatomy, the baby and luck. I hate that so many women feel disappointed by their labour or that they failed in some way because they went on to need help or intervention.


Image Credit: Lawson Photography

All that said, I don’t want to regret not preparing or to feel out of control when the time comes. I do believe that (if all is proceeding normally,) that being in the right frame of mind and working with your body can be a powerful thing. It is after all what we are designed to do. We are not doing NCT classes so I’ve been considering if we should do a preparation for birth class. I have read a little bit about hyponobirthing so that is another option, but Pete is sceptical. Partly I want him to have some input as to how to support me and to stop him feeling afraid of the process. And like everybody does I suppose, I want to have as calm and normal a labour and delivery as possible.


Image Credit: Lawson Photography

So the point of all this is that I want to know what you guys think. Is there anything that helped you prepare for labour, books or classes? Is there anything you are glad you spent the time or money on or wished you had? I’d love to hear your advice and thoughts, so I can decide what I should put my time and effort into.

Thank you!

Rebecca
xo

The Baby Body

I don’t often talk about ‘social interest’ topics on Florence Finds as I’m never sure how you will all engage with a a given topic. Last week however it seemed everyone had something to say about the birth of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby, Prince George, but an even hotter topic was Kate’s post baby body. Her simple appearance with baby George infront of the Lindo wing sparked a flurry of comments, ranging from bravo to admiration to weight loss advice – particularly the now ubiquitous comments from OK magazine on her post-natal shape up routine.


Image via The Metro

If I’m honest, I’m not surprised at OK. They are a trashy magazine and their weekly choice of content and celebrity stories pretty clearly states their position on championing ethical female role models. That would be not at all then. Am I surprised at them trying to make a quick buck out of capturing the public interest in The DoC, her always immaculate presentation and enviable figure? No. It’s sad that they are also targeting every woman who has recently given birth and will sadly be comparing themselves to Kate and how she looked leaving hospital; women who are often questioning their every decision already and desperately trying to rescue a self of self and self-esteem after such a life changing event and physical transformation. But am I surprised at that even? Not at all.

My reaction was two-fold. My first thought, prior to seeing the media storm that followed was how daunting it must have been to go out there, only 26 hours after becoming a mother, and face that bank of photographers. What can have been going through Kate’s mind? I am not a mother but have seen and can only imagine the ferocious change that women undergo, the fierce protectors they become of this little life they are responsible for, the immediate worry that arrives with the baby. How terrifying to be tired and emotional and so very vulnerable in so public a situation. I wonder if she saw their lives flash before her with the ever present papperazzi encroaching on every moment of his life?

Which leads me to my second thought. How mortifying after showing everyone your first born son to have some people find the main event to be the size of your post-partum bump? Did Kate make a conscious decision to display it rather than try to hide? Who knows. I suspect whether she ‘displayed’ her bump was the last thing on her mind. No doubt she hadn’t given it a passing thought amongst her emotions of joy and fatigue.

Aside from my feelings for Kate however, it has been fascinating to see the public reaction. I’ll admit, before I had close friends and family who had babies, I didn’t really realise that bumps don’t just shrink away after the birth, and that’s after seeing many babies born – when mums are nursing their newborn or lying flat post delivery it’s not as obvious at all, but once stood up it’s clear that the uterus and abdominal muscles are going to take some time to shrink back to their pre-baby shape. So it’s not surprising I suppose that some women are taken aback by a new mum’s tummy. After all if you’re not party to those first few days and weeks when a woman is post delivery then all the experience you have is of celebrities ‘snapping back’ into shape, described by the media like a piece of elastic stationary with no thought to responsible journalism. It was amazing to see the outpouring (both publicly and amongst my friends) of pride amongst the virtual sisterhood that identified with her ‘mum tum’, women applauding her who spoke about it like a badge of honour and the palpable sense of affirmation that even someone as ‘perfect’ as Kate had looked like they did post-baby.

I don’t have a conclusion to my musings, other than that it seemed to me to represent the most intrusive and distasteful part of being in the public eye, and that Kate as always handled it all with aplomb. I would love however to hear what you guys thought about it all. Are you one of the mums who cheered her on? Had you never seen a woman so close to a delivery before and were you surprised? Were you delighted to see some normalcy when it comes to a post-baby body?

Do share your thoughts readers…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Apologies if this is very mother and baby centric when there is obviously a very present father involved!

The Whole Nine months… [Part 2]

Good afternoon readers! I’m excited to share Part 2 of Becky’s pregnancy diary with you particularly as last weeks Part 1 was so popular! I’m also delighted to tell you that Becky’s pregnancy is now over – Becky had a beautiful baby girl on Sunday 14th of October – Constance Elizabeth, who weighed in at a very cute 7lbs 8oz. Mum and baby are home now and doing well – I can’t wait for a cuddle!

My heart melted when that little face landed in my inbox!

Now, lets finish the rest of Becky’s pregnancy guide.

THE KIT…

Despite the lists you may be bombarded with during your pregnancy, you don’t need a huge amount of kit before you have the baby. If, like us however, you have no idea where to start, I can thoroughly recommend a nursery advice appointment at John Lewis. Ed was sceptical when I told him we had an appointment booked. He assumed we’d leave with a list containing overpriced items we’d never use. He was pleasantly surprised.

You can use the service like a wedding list and give your list number to family and friends if they want to buy you a gift. We however used it as a two hour advice session for prams and nursery essentials and a shopping list tool for ourselves. Your list is compiled by the nursery advisor you see and you can then add or remove items from it online. You can spread the cost by purchasing items here and there but they’ll be stored for you until you arrange a one off delivery that suits you. It’s also good to watch the prices on your list before purchasing each item as John Lewis will price match any competitors’ current offers. The service is free and you get a voucher for a hot drink and piece of cake in the cafe. What’s not to like?

Your pram is likely to be the most expensive piece of kit you purchase so make sure you do your research. We went to 3 different shops to look at the different options that would suit our lifestyle. We spoke to advisors in each shop and then went home to research reviews, videos, and advice online. I then went back on my own to try collapsing, lifting and pushing each pram on our shortlist. After all, I’ll have to manage it once Ed’s back at work. The best advice we were given was to look ahead to the longer term. Think about what you might need in a year or two’s time when your baby has grown and will the pram you are purchasing for your newborn baby be able to adapt for your future needs?

PREPARATION FOR LABOUR…

There are two camps to fall into here…….Knowledge is power v. Ignorance is bliss. Early on in my pregnancy I thought I’d fall into the latter but as time has ticked on and I’ve exposed myself to more and more information I’ve found that I definitely fall into the first camp. I’ve signed up to every workshop or learning session the midwives have offered me on labour and breastfeeding. We’ve also attended NCT classes (these are often oversubscribed, so be sure to book early). Along with what I’ve learnt at yoga, I feel almost excited about my labour, as if it’s a challenge like a marathon that’s just around the corner. I don’t think you can ever be prepared for what’s ahead but with a little training, you can certainly feel a lot more confident about tackling it.

THOUGHTS FOR THE FUTURE…

It may seem a long way off but if you are planning on returning to work, you need to think about childcare early on in your pregnancy. We started looking at nurseries when I was 30 weeks and couldn’t be guaranteed the days and dates we really wanted for the end of my maternity leave. At the time, we were planning over a year ahead. It’s a very daunting prospect to choose childcare before you’ve even met your child but as we’re in the middle of the biggest baby boom since the 1950’s it’s something you just have to get on with.

MY FAVOURITE RESOURCES…

Online:

NHS choices – sign up to the parent information email to get a weekly newsletter relating to your week of pregnancy.

Gas & Air – written by a Mum and Midwife. A refreshing, down to earth, and personal insight into the labour ward and motherhood.

Mumsnet

Books:

Your Pregnancy Week by week, Lesley Regan – This has been my no nonsense pregnancy encyclopaedia. It’s got the reassurance of being like a school text book.

The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, Kaz Cooke – A humerous book giving sensible advice amongst witty diary entries following the authors own pregnancy. Split down into short sections for each week which makes for very easy bedtime reading.

Hypnobirthing, Marie Mongan – I haven’t attended hypnobirthing classes, nor did I purchase the accompanying CD. The book was recommended to me as a resource to learn relaxation, breathing and visualisation techniques to help during labour. It certainly helps to reassure you if you are frightened by the prospect of labour. It may seem a bit ‘hippie’ for some but you can learn more about hypnobirthing here. I have found it ties in very well with the breathing and relaxation techniques I’ve learnt in my yoga classes.

Babies: The Mumsnet Guide: – Another recommendation that I’ve recently purchased. I’m only just delving into it now that my pregnancy and labour books are coming to an end. Well, I’ll need something to read in hospital won’t I ?!

Apps:

What to Expect – A concise app that gives you a weekly update comparing the size of your baby to a different vegetable or fruit as well as providing you with a countdown. It’s American so take some advice with a pinch of salt but it’s a fun and easily accessible resource to have on your phone. Be warned, things start to become scary when you reach butternut squash!

I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on this or anything about your own pregnancies that may help other bump free ladies. I’ll try to check in regularly to answer your questions, but please bear with me if I don’t reply straight away!

Becky x

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