Tuesday, 29 December 2009

It's Competition Time!!!

I have put together this competition as I am hoping to help a very good friend of mine. Caz Arnold aka @dougggie who happens to be a HypnoBirthing practitioner (although this isn’t relevant here) sadly lost her father very suddenly on Christmas day. The reason I am posting this is that Caz is currently in the middle of raising money for the Dogs Trust Arctic Dogs Sledding Challenge but as I am sure you can imagine this has knocked her sideways and she is currently unable to put much energy in to it.

The prize - 3 lucky entrants will win my complete 5 x Hypnosis for Childbirth mp3s worth £26. If you'd like to find out more about these mp3s click here

To enter - All I ask is that you click on Caz’s fund raising link at the bottom of this page and put a minimum (more if you want) donation of £2. All names will then be entered into a draw. In order for me to be able to contact you if you win please ensure that you put the following information in the comments box when making your donation:

Tums2Mums competition and either your Baby Centre or Twitter ID. If you do not have either of these please leave your name and then tick the box that enables Caz to see your email address and she will then forward your email address to me. Your email address WILL NOT be passed on to anyone other than myself.

The competition will close at midnight on 9th January and the winners will be announced on this blog on the 10th January. Notices will also be placed on the HypnoBirth board of Baby Centre UK and Twitter.

To enter and make your donation please click here http://www.justgiving.com/cazarnold/

Thank you for helping me help my lovely friend help a worthy cause.

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Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

To all my lovely readers and followers of my blog I hope you have

a wonderful day today and a very happy New Year!

x x x x

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Sunday, 6 December 2009

Birth Companion's Role

The most important thing for the birth companion to understand is their role on the day and mums you will want to let them know what your expectations are. These are broken down into a number of categories.

Simple Nurturing

  • Getting water and snacks
  • Helping mum to change position
  • Getting a track ready on your ipod (click here for information on my Hypno 4 Birth Home Study programme and individual mp3s)
  • Reminding mum to go to the loo
  • Etcetera
Supporting your relaxation

With touch

  • On the HypnoBirthing course we teach a specific technique for anchoring (linking the dads placement of his hand on the mums shoulder to the mum being in a deeply relaxed state). The aim being that during labour he could simply place his hand on her shoulder and she will move more deeply into a state of relaxation. However, I believe that with most couples that these anchors are already there. As long as your partner is in a relaxed state I'm sure if he placed his hand on your shoulder during labour you would find it reassuring and therefore relaxing.
  • Light touch massage (gently stroking the back and arms with the fingernails)
With words

In the same way that you would find your partners touch reassuring as long as he is calm, similarly if he speaks to you in a calm, relaxed, quiet way during labour, using soothing prompts at appropriate times, this will also help you to feel calm and relaxed. These can be as simple as "you are doing great", "I love you", I'm so proud of you", "our baby is coming, its so exciting".

With your relaxation techniques

  • Facial relaxation - if there is any tensions in the face dad can remind mum to place the tip of her tongue behind her front upper teeth to enable the lower jaw to recede and relax. In turn this will send relaxation down through the body.
  • As mum finishes a surge to say "now give me a nice relaxing breath in" - dad to breathe in which will cause mum to follow - and then to breathe out with some sound which will again cause mum to follow. As he is doing that to say "reeee" on the in breath and "laaaaaaaax" on the out breath (I promise this is easier to do than explain in writing). This encourages mum to take a calm, relaxing breath at the end of a surge and ensures she moves more deeply into a state of relaxation.
  • Should something bring mum out of her state of relaxation/trance a very quick and easy way for her to go back in (if it has been practised) is for dad to say "close your eyes, give me a nice relaxing breath in and as you breathe out 5,4,3,2,1 relax). This is incredibly simple but well worth using as much as you can prior to labour as you will reap the rewards when you are having your baby. Click here for a free mp3 to practise this.
As advocate and protector of the birth experience

Obviously with any Hypnosis for Childbirth programme what you are learning is based on your labour and birth not having any special circumstances (complications). However, sometimes there maybe talk of intervention that is not absolutely necessary and is based on AVOIDING a problem occurring as opposed to there being one at the time (many doctors like to err on the side of caution).

Should this happen it is worth your birth companion asking some simple questions. I should add as a pre-cursor to this that this will be helped if you have done the following:
  • Written a short and simple birth plan which has laid out your expectations of birth (you can read mine here).
  • On arrival your birth companion has met with your midwife and taken them through your birth plan and expectations of birth (take extra copies in case there is a shift change and he has to do this again). Mentioning that should there be any talk of intervention he would like to have the opportunity to ask some appropriate questions. Reassuring them that at no time will your birth plan be more important than the health of mum and baby.
The questions that he will want to ask are:
  • What is the medical indication for suggestion this?
  • What would happen if we didn't do it?
  • Would you be prepared to wait for 5, 10, 15 minutes in order for us to do some relaxation work together?
  • Is my partner or baby in IMMEDIATE danger?
Once your partner has asked these questions he is then able to come and discuss options with you. The thing to remember if they albeit reluctantly give you more time to have confidence in this. When there is a TRUE EMERGENCY they will not give you time.

As I've mentioned throughout it is important for your birth companion to also be in a calm, relaxed state. Adrenalin is catching and therefore any fear or stress within your partner can be passed on to you. Practising the hypnosis techniques together supports this but if you've got a partner who is not able to practise with you (for whatever reason) remember if you put on your relaxation mp3s when they are also relaxing (eg on going to bed) their subconscious will be hearing the positive suggestions too.

Along with going through what I've mentioned in this blog entry I would strongly recommend that the birth companion does a fear release session as this will help them ensure that they are feeling fully confident about their role in supporting you when you are having your baby.

If you have any questions following reading this blog entry please add a comment and I will answer them for you.

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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Sorry seat and the power of words

For those who have come across this entry via my "Hypnosis Techniques" section should note that this is not actually a hypnosis technique but it is tapping into how powerfully words affect our behaviour and therefore worthy of its place under this label.

A few weeks ago I had one of those "ding!" moments as I call them. I was scrolling through my tweets on Twitter and came across mention of the "Sorry Seat" from one of my Twitter pals, Natalie from Sophie4Sophie Well of course as a hypnotherapist, who is always teaching people how the words they use/hear (internally or externally) impacts on how they see themselves and in turn what they attract into their lives, it made so much sense. I can't believe I hadn't noticed it before.

When I used to put Evan on the naughty seat she would of course sit there (or not) for the whole time reflecting on the fact that she was naughty. Now reflecting is a big word for a 2.5 year old and to be frankly honest there was less reflecting and more demonstrating of just why she was sat on the naughty seat. However, the very first time I told Evan that she was going to have a Time Out on the Sorry Seat she did in fact sit there quietly for the whole time very obviously thinking about the need to be sorry. How do I know this (apart from the fact that she wasn't continuing to be naughty)? Because after a few moments she said "mummy I'd like to be sorry now". So I went over and she said and signed (this is one sign that hasn't yet been lost which I find very sweet) sorry! And told me why she was sorry.

And no this wasn't a fluke. Every time she has been placed on the Sorry Seat the same thing has happened. And I've taken this a step further. I'd always understood that you don't tell the child it is naughty. That the action was naughty or it was naughty behaviour. However, they are still focussing on being naughty and so now whenever she is doing something I don't want her to I say "Evan if you do not stop doing that you will have a Time Out on the Sorry Seat" and I begin to count from 1 to 3. I very rarely get past 1. This never used to happen I always got to 3 before and then had quite a battle getting her on the naughty seat and keeping her there.

The power of words never ceases to amaze me. Thanks Natalie for teaching me this fab little gem!

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Breastfeed in your sleep

A fun slideshow about co-sleeping and breastfeeding.

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Sunday, 22 November 2009

Please enjoy this lovely relaxation mp3 on me

I am very happy to say that I have finally found the time to record the following mp3. Something I've been wanting to do for a long time in order to offer my readers the chance to experience one of my mp3s for free and also to enjoy the relaxation that brings.

On the face of it this mp3 is a very simple progressive relaxation but it is done in a very clever way (even if I do say so myself ;-)). It also has a useful twist in that you are learning a very quick and easy way to send relaxation through your body any time you choose (eyes open or eyes closed. Resting at home or in a queue at the Supermarket).

So why is it different? Firstly, the way it relaxes your body. Rather than just saying relax your shoulders, arms, chest, etc. which to be honest is very difficult to do. Think about it now if I say to you "relax your shoulders", you may adjust your shoulders physically or you might imagine your muscles being more relaxed if you have any experience with relaxation techniques but it is still quite a difficult request. If however, I ask you to use your mind to imagine your shoulders moving away from your neck (not physically moving at all just sending the message using your mind) the only way for your body to respond and carry out this instruction is to relax the muscles. You will notice as you progress through the mp3 this is how I get you to relax many of the muscles within your body and then using your mind to imagine moving the comfort this brings on to the next set of muscles.

Secondly, the useful twist comes with the addition of imagining numbers as you progress down through the body '5,4,3,2,1'. These numbers become a very useful trigger for each of the muscle groups to which they are attached to relax. This happens very simply by taking in a nice relaxing breath in and as you breath out seeing, sensing or imagining the numbers 5,4,3,2,1 relax. Listening regularly to this mp3 together with taking every opportunity to use this simple technique will ensure that you can easily move from feeling tense, wound up, anxious, etc to feeling calm, relaxed and in control any time you want to.

I hope you enjoy it and please leave comments to let me know what you think. This mp3 has been deliberately written for general use and is therefore not specific to pregnancy, labour and birth. If you enjoy it and would like to find out more about my Hypnosis for Childbirth set of mp3s please take a look at my shop.

This is the link in order for you to download the mp3. Please share with your friends if you feel they would enjoy it too.

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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hypno Mummy to become a G-d Mummy too

First the back story.....

Clare (Little Yummy Bags) and I met 3 years ago almost exactly to the day when she attended the first day of her HypnoBirthing course on 7th October 2006. Fate stepped in right from that very first meeting to ensure that we would become friends because it was also the course that my husband was on to learn all about HypnoBirthing for the birth of our daughter Evan. The other couple due to attend unfortunately had to attend the hospital that morning (all was well) and so asked if I could move them on to the next course. This meant that it was just the four of us. Clare and I and our partners Piers and Jim (respectively).

The course was great fun particularly because Piers and Jim are remarkably similar and both having a wicked sense of humour meant there was a lot of laughter.

Fast forward to around August 2007. Due to our busy professional lives Clare and I had not had much contact since the course, beyond some support regarding the HypnoBirthing, but once Evan was born and we were both on maternity leave we thought it was about time we met up. I went to visit Clare with a 2 month old Evan and as Clare was just a bit ahead of me with a 6 month old Hannah we had lots to talk about (an opportunity for me to pick up some hints and tips from a mum just ahead of me - something I recommend for my clients to do if they can). We didn't stop talking , sitting their breastfeeding our beautiful girls and chatting like we'd known each other for years. It was wonderful. But no sooner had we got used to the fact that we lived around the corner from each other and what great friends we were becoming Clare and Piers decided to move to Canterbury (not a million miles away from Sidcup I know but an hour in the car and Evan at the time was an awful traveller). Luckily for me though Clare was happy to make the drive more times than was fair and so our friendship blossomed.

So it was of course a natural thing for me to do a refresher HypnoBirthing session with Clare and Piers when they became pregnant with their second child. I had mentioned how much I would love to be at the birth and was overjoyed when Clare said that they were both happy for me to be there. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the door when Madeleine arrived because Clare left it a little too late to call me (she was so calm and relaxed that she had no idea she was in such an advanced stage of labour - you can read her story here). But I saw Madeleine within minutes of her birth and stayed with Clare and Piers for a few hours afterwards and this time is now one of my most treasured memories. It was such an honour to be with them during such a special time. Also, I should mention that Piers had captured the labour and birth on film and so I did get to see it and because of that so will my clients too (a great confidence booster for them).

Now a few months on and Clare and Piers are planning little Madelaine's Baptism and I had the most wonderful surprise today when Clare came over for a visit as she has asked me to be Madelaine's G-d Mother (well I kind of gave that away with the heading didn't I).

I cannot tell you all how incredibly happy, excited, proud and honoured I feel to have been asked.

Of course I've said YES!!!!

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Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The first meeting of the Hyp 'n Happening Group

Yesterday was the first Hyp 'n Happening Mums and Mums-to-be Hypnobirthing group.

I was really excited all morning and very much looking forward to it. The night before I had got the room ready setting out all the chairs (with 12 mums and mums-to-be coming along I needed to be organised). On Evan's return from nursery though she had other ideas about the layout of the room and put all the chairs in a row. She then sat herself on one of them and started chanting"choo choo choo choo". She would not let me put them back so they stayed like that until my guests started to arrive.

In total we had 8 mums-to-be, 3 mums sharing their wonderful HypnoBirthing stories, 3 two year olds, including Evan and 2 babies. The lovely Johanna from Lollipop also came along to talk about the benefits of using cloth nappies (for mum, baby and the environment).

The first half an hour was spent with mums catching up with other mums they'd met on courses (or with friends they'd referred to me so knew beforehand) and making new friends. There was a lovely buzz to the air - just how I imagined it would be. The making of tea with one kettle wasn't too bad either and in fact 1 full kettle made 8 mugs worth (no wonder Jim used to get cross with me when I filled the kettle just for the two of us. I had no idea it was that big. I must have bought a tardis kettle). Getting my mums to bring their own mugs was a stroke of genius (even if I do say so myself). Not only did it mean I had enough mugs but it was easy to make sure everyone got the right cup of tea and a simple rinse at the end with mug handed back meant I didn't have a big pile of washing up after everyone had gone home.

Those mums who purchased a Hypno Mummy mug from the lovely www.ickelbabe.com were very happy and one mum asked if the artist was coming (I wish Helen could have been there). I hope more mums want to buy them in future, they really are gorgeous!

Once everyone had their mug of tea and a lovely treaty flapjack provided by one of my mums-to-be we listened to the amazing HypnoBirthing stories. A great selection from a baby born 10 minutes after arrival at hospital and mum saying she'd only experienced period like sensations to an amazing birth following induction (and a consultant constantly saying you are never going to be able to do this without an epidural - big two fingers up at her - oops sorry for my rudeness).

A few hints and tips were also shared - "practise, practise, practise", "listen to what Dany says when she says stay asleep if you can when labour starts", "a session with Dany just before the baby was due is great for staying focused" (one of the reasons I introduced the group to help mums keep their focus and maintain enthusiasm) and the one I really love "believe in yourself, trust your body, you can do it".

There was then an 'interesting', shall we say, attempt at some relaxing hypnosis. It certainly was an opportunity for mums-to-be to see how they could focus with a lot of noise going on around them. Three kids walking in and out of the garden, Evan coming in with her garden tools staring at all the women and wondering why they were not taking any notice of her (I so nearly laughed out loud at this point), the phone ringing (twice) and Evan insisting she wanted to watch Peppa Pig. What was good to see though that despite mums-to-be saying they could hear the distraction (and of course they could) but I asked them to set the intention for it to help them focus inwards and I could see from their responses that they were in deed in a state of trance. Something useful for them to realise as conditions will not always be 'perfect'. Although I did point out that they may want to purchase a Peppa Pig video for their labour as Evan had firmly planted a suggestion that they would want to watch it - tee hee.

Johanna then showed the mums the huge variety of cloth nappies that are available now and how easy they are to use, wash and get dried. I've already had one mum say that she is now a convert as she was nervous about them before.

Mums left saying how much they had enjoyed it and are looking forward to the next one. I had the best fun although was totally exhausted at the end of it and I can't wait for the next one on the 9th November.

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Thursday, 8 October 2009

And now it's time to sleeeeep!!!

The following entry is by my new guest mummy blogger Clare who I hope we will be hearing more from. So without further ado I will leave you in her capable hands......


I'm crying with happiness (that makes a change huh?) 7 mins and my lil girl is sleeping beautiful on her own in her crib!!! Thank you xxx

After sleep problems with my first born I promised myself I wouldn't let it happen again- 12 weeks and 3 days my little Madelaine is finally sleeping beautiful on her own in her crib for the first time and I am so happy I could do cartwheels! How did I do it- I listenend to my friend.

Madelaine had a beautiful and amazing hypno birth but after a few weeks she developed colic and was constantly crying feeding or in distress before I knew it she was sleeping constantly with me or on me- which I don't have a problem with but with a fun and active toddler in tow I found myself getting myself in a pickle. My toddler spending more and more time in front of the tv. I was getting to the point I couldn't get dressed, wash hair blah blah..

Talking to Dany I decided to take action and after listening to her advice- I decided to do the pick up put down routine and then after 20 mins I left Madelaine for 1 min went back picked her up when she was calm put her back in her cot left her for 2mins and so on- it took 7 mins and she was sleeping.

You think that being a mum 2nd time round will be easier and in some respects it is- I never would have done the above with Hannah and its a shame I didn't have the confidence to do it back then- I now know teaching your baby to sleep is just as important as teaching her to crawl, brush her teeth, hold a spoon...

My one piece of advice is to surround yourself with lovely positive mums - hopefully who have been there before you (6mths before ideally :)> Not all advice will be for you but its worth a listen and take what will work for you. Besides sometime it is just good to be with people who understand...

This is why I am so looking forward to Dany's Hyp n Happening group on Monday - I know that all us mums who have had fantastic births with pass on our lovely birthing stories and here's to making some great new friends and making a difference to our and our little ones lives :)

Clare - Hannah and Madeleine's Hypno Mummy

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Hypnosis for Fertility - Session one

So finally here I am writing the first entry for my series on what attending Hypnosis for Fertility sessions might involve for you. All treatment plans are devised based on the individual so your sessions may not follow exactly the same path but these posts will hopefully give you an idea of what to expect and clear up any myths or concerns you may have or heard regarding hypnosis.

Actually, although this is about session one there is some stuff that goes on prior to me ever meeting you and so I will mention this first. Normally there will have been a first phone call or at least an email. Someone will have read about HypnoFertility and probably have had a look at my website www.tums2mums.com and found out a bit more about me and the way that I work. The phone call / email enables them to ask any initial questions to make sure that they are comfortable with booking their first session. Once this has then been booked I send out an 'Intake' form for them to complete and return to me prior to attending. I also send them a stress buster and progressive relaxation mp3 to start listening to.

Session one itself is all about information giving on both sides. I spend time explaining how hypnosis supports fertility (both natural and assisted conception), how the mind works and its impact on the body both positive and negative and what being in the state of hypnosis feels like (not what you would expect from a stage hypnotic show - just a nice relaxed feeling mainly). We will review the information provided in the intake sheet and most importantly discuss your goal of therapy.

Now you might well say "but you know my goal - I want a baby". But goals need to be SMART (I'm drawing on my days as a trainer here). Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound. Now whilst I do spend time with you helping you to imagine what it will be like to be pregnant, holding your baby in your arms, feeling positive about you ability to have your baby. Because we actually have no control over timescales or achievability for this it is not a goal we can measure. What we will be aiming for is creating the best possible circumstances which themselves will support fertility.

This in turn means that the feedback I get from clients is that they feel more in control of their lives than they have for years. Friends and family are saying that they look more relaxed and happy. They are feeling less obsessed and more able to enjoy life. Things that had been bothering them for a long time now don't seem significant at all. And many other positive changes particular to them. These things in themselves help to return the body to a state of normalcy and give the best opportunity for having their desired baby.

There may or may not be time to actually carry out some hypnosis during session 1 but if there is it will be something gentle introducing them to how it feels and starting the process of restoring balance in their lives.

In part 2 of this series I will be taking you through the next steps as we move on to Session two.

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Derma WaterWipes

Well it has taken me about 2 months to get around to doing my first review (with this speed I'm sure companies will be beating down my door to get me to do more). In fact when I was originally asked I had no idea that 'bloggers' were asked to do such things and was unsure as to why someone wanted to send me a free pack of Baby Wipes.

The benefit of it taking me so long though is that I have had plenty of opportunity to test them out in different situations for a variety of uses.

Firstly, if I was a new mum again buying them would be a no brainer for me. From the moment the midwife, just after Evan's birth, said to me "don't worry about that blood stain" (she had just made on my brand new cream sofa) "baby wipes get everything out" I thought 'I'm not using them on my daughter's gorgeous new bottom'. And she was right. They got out the blood stain, ink stains, any number of food stains - off of furniture, walls, carpets, clothes, bodies. In fact any stain on any surface I've not yet found that a wet wipe won't cure. Why people spend loads of money on stain removers it is beyond me.

Anyway back to my point. I refused to use them on Evan's gorgeous little botty and so it was cotton wool and water for us. Easy in the house not so easy when you are out and about. The beauty also of course with a wipe made from 99.9% water as opposed to cotton wool is that you have a nice big piece of cloth to play with rather than a messy mass of cotton wool. I also like the fact that they don't feel slimy and greasy and they don't slip and slide as you are trying to clean a wriggly poopy bumbum.

My only complaint is that they are very, very difficult to get out. Although this does have a benefit as they are the only box of wipes that I do not find completely emptied and out all over the floor if I leave them in reach of a two year who just loves to have her hands clean. And on that note another plus for me as I also really like to keep my hands clean. Something my mum said I've always been like and regularly came up to her as a tiny tot pulling faces and showing her my sticky hands which were apparently not even that sticky. So it is great for me to have the WaterWipes in my bag to clean away any mess, any time, any where. Normal wipes or that bottled stuff don't do it for me as they still leave your hands feeling sticky or greasy.

So that's it my first review and it is a big thumbs up for Derma WaterWipes. Although don't despair makers of other babywipes I will still be buying them for the ever increasing stains that keep popping up in my house. On that note - Evaaaaaaaaaaaaaan you do not write on the kitchen cabinet.

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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A retrospective look at my birth plan

Just as it was coming up to Evan's 2nd birthday and following many discussions with women about their birth plans it inspired me to seek out the birth plan I wrote for her birth. At the time I put a journal entry on Baby Centre bur recently thought it would be a good entry for my blog too. So here it is.

Because Evan was born only 1 hour 20 mins after the midwife arrived she didn't actually get to have a look at ,my birth plan but I thought it would be fun to review how close to my wishes she came (although the midwife didn't get to read it before the birth she was so excited after seeing Evan be born that she asked to take it away with her as a memento and I also gave her a copy of the HypnoBirthing book).

So this is what I wrote:

To the Midwife

There are a couple of things which you may not have come across before that are specific to HypnoBirthing so I have listed these under the labour and birthing sections. however, I’m hoping that as you are supporting me with a home birth you will already be in tune with the fact that we are looking for as natural a birth as we can and welcome your help and experience with this.

During first-stage labour

I am using HypnoBirthing and a Birth Pool during labour. As the language we hear impacts on how we feel I would like to ask that you refrain from references to “pain, hurt, etc.” and any offer of medication.

Midwife wasn't present during this stage (I was asleep mostly)

During birthing

To remain in the tub for waterbirthing if wish to do so.

I only got in for birthing. When the midwife first arrived she told Jim to stop filling the pool as it would be hours yet. Once she realised I was fully dilated Jim went off to fill the pool and he heard her saying "get another midwife here now she's about to have this baby and make sure she's experienced at water births". Although she hadn't ever experienced a water birth herself she wasn't phased at all that I was going to have Evan in the pool.

That natural expulsive pulsations of the body be allowed to facilitate the gentle descent of the baby, with mother-directed Birth Breathing to crowning. Jim will offer prompts. No coaching or instructions to push.

When the midwife realised I was fully dilated she said "you can start pushing with your contractions now". I said we don't push with HypnoBirthing and she said "you just do your hypno breathing". She then stayed quiet throughout.

Use of Hypno-Birthing breathing techniques – not other methods. I’ve left the HypnoBirthing book open on the page relating to this so that you can have a read.

Following birthing

Immediate skin-to-skin contact, with baby placed on Dany’s stomach or lower chest.

Midwife told me how I would be easily able to go from the kneeling position I was in to sitting back in the pool and she would lay Evan on my chest.

Cord to be clamped and cut only after pulsation has ceased. Yes

Jim to cut the cord after it stops pulsating.

Midwife was so excited she forgot and did it herself. We didn't mind because she had been such a wonderful part of our birth experience.

A wait for natural placenta delivery.

My midwife was very pro natural placenta delivery and she was the one who said to me your placenta is very ready to come out. And it did so very easily.

Baby brought to breast to assist placenta birth. See above.

No assisted removal of placenta unless necessary. See above.

For Baby

Allow vernix to be absorbed into baby’s skin; delay “cleaning or rubbing.”

Evan was placed straight on me and then when we were ready to get out just wrapped in a towel and handed to Jim (who she promptly did her first poo on).

All in all a wonderful birthing day for all!

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Gift for Life - UNICEF and Pampers

Andrea (The Accidental Businessmum) sent me this very special Gift of Life meme.

We are so lucky here in the UK as we have a fantastic vaccination programme which starts when babies are 8 weeks old (I know some of you will have your own views about this but we are lucky to have a choice). Diseases that were once life threatening are no longer a concern for us, but the peace of mind this gives is not so easily available to a mother bringing up her children in the developing world.

Pampers and UNICEF have joined forces for the fourth year running with their ‘Give the Gift of Life ‘ campaign aiming to help eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus by 2012. A diseases that has been curable for over 70 years and yet killing 128,000 mothers and babies each year in less industrialised nations.

To help launch the campaign, Grammy award-winning world music artist and mother of one, Angelique Kidjo has released a song called 'You Can Count On Me' which is available as a free download. Each time it is downloaded Pampers will donate more funds for vaccines. This means that anyone can help raise funds without spending anything themselves but their time.

Pampers also supports UNICEF’s programme by donating the cost of 1 vaccine for every one pack of their nappies sold. To date they have donated the funding for 200 million tetanus vaccines. You can read more about this on the UNICEF website.

If your children are no longer in nappies, you use cloth nappies or simply prefer a different brand you can still support UNICEF directly by clicking here.

Andrea asked me to keep the meme going and pass it on to other bloggers.

All you have to do is:

1 Open the virtual Gift For Life by going here
2 Write a small post on the campaign
3 Pass on to at least 5 other bloggers
4 Add the campaign badge to your sidebar
5 Feel incredibly proud that you are helping to make a difference!

So I’m passing this onto you:

Cariad Hypnotherapy

HypnoBirthing Gwent

Sleep is for the Weak

OMG We're Pregnant

Emma's Books

Perfectly Happy Mum

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Sunday, 4 October 2009

My very own Hypno Mummy mugs

I am very pleased to announce that the wonderful Helen of www.icklebabe.com has designed especially for Tums 2 Mums some gorgeous Hypno Mummy mugs.

I left the design completely up to her so it was a lovely surprise to find that she had chosen to take inspiration from my website. I think you will agree with me they are fab!

Helen has also designed a Hypno Daddy mug but I haven't seen that yet - can't wait!

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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Hyp 'n Happening Group

I am very excited for two reasons:

Firstly, the first of my Hyp 'n Happening groups is taking place on Monday, 12th October at 2pm and I've had lots of Mums and Mums-to-be saying that they are looking forward to coming.

I have decided to set up this group for my HypnoBirthing Mums and Mums-to-be as I'd had a couple of requests asking if I knew of anywhere that Mums could meet up with other HypnoBirthing mums. I didn’t so I thought it was about time I got my own up and running.

It will be held on the second Monday of each month from 2pm to 3:30pm and besides having a cuppa and a chat there will be a bit of relaxation hypno at the beginning and then an opportunity to discuss any questions mums-to-be might have about their practise. Those Mums who have already had their babies will then hopefully share their experience and any hints and tips they might have not only about the birth but also about being new mums too. It is a new group and I'm looking forward to my 'Mums' also suggesting what they might like to use it for. There will also be some guests coming along to tell us about how they can support Mums and Mums to be and I am pleased to say that I have Chantal Fabrice coming to talk to us about 'Sound Birthing' at the group in November (Monday, 9th November).

The second reason I am so excited is that the wonderful Julie at My Life Expressed has once again surpassed my expectations with this beautiful header for my communications about the group.

I will no doubt be blogging after the first group to let you all know how it went.

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Friday, 25 September 2009

Slanket reward for my months of sleep deprivation please

Just today I learnt of the fabulous Slanket (I want one) and then thanks to the wonderful @porridgebrain aka http://sleepisfortheweak.org.uk I found out that I could win one (fingers and toes currently crossed). All I have to do is share a sleep deprivation story and boy have I got LOADS. Which one to choose, which one will win me the wonderful Slanket. There was also mention of sharing how I survived so maybe that's the useful story I should share as I am indeed on the best side of this story now.

Evan now happily watches her two episodes of Peppa Pig, cheerfully calls out "come on Daddy time for sleep" as we all go into her room and sing a couple of lullabies, she turns off her own light and shuts the door. We all kiss and then I place Evan in her cot, not yet braved the idea of transferring her to a bed cos as I learnt from my sleep coach (yes, yes I will be telling you about this wonderful person soon) I don't go rushing in as soon as she wakes up in the morning. Without the cot rails though I am afraid that she will come rushing in to me. Where was I? Oh yes, so I place Evan into her cot and she calls for her sleep buddies, pink bear (the original sleep buddy), angel bear who joined a few months later, Di Li - a few weeks ago and Jo Jingles - 3 days ago. Once she has declared "I've got everyone, good night mummy, good night daddy, sweet dreams, love you" she's happy. Sometimes falling asleep straight away and sometimes singing a few more lullabies to her pals to make sure they get a good night sleep.

In bed by 7 pm normally waking between 6:30 am and 7:30 am Jim and I downstairs relaxing with a nice glass of something.

But you can tell from the title of this post that life hasn't always been like this - ohhhhhhhhh no!.

For the first 5 weeks Evan wouldn't sleep anywhere but on me. I think she had such a great birth that she really hadn't noticed we were separate. But I actually got loads of sleep during this time. Not necessarily the most comfortable, lying on my back and stiff as a board (it is true what they say - you DON'T move if you've fallen asleep with your baby on you) but nonetheless sleep.

From 5 weeks to 5 months she slept 11 pm to 5 am in her cot - yippee! I used to boast very loudly. Although she made me pay during the day because she would NEVER let me put her down. One day my friend had been walking around with her and noticed she'd fallen asleep. As she went to put her in the Moses Basket she started crying. At this stage she was only hovering Evan over the top - nowhere near to being in the basket so she stepped away still holding Evan who promptly stopped crying. She then experimented and held Evan with outstretched arms in mid air - no crying. Over the Moses Basket - WAH! She did this a couple of times and same result. I knew then I was going to have trouble on my hands with this one but she was still sleeping at night so I thought I could deal with my willful bundle when I needed to.

Well a trip to Wales at 5 months put an end to my peaceful nights. She slept through the first night but on the second woke every hour and would only sleep on me (a lot heavier by now). On returning home this became the norm. Our normal bedtime routine was bath, baby massage, book, booby, bed by 7 pm (she'd always fallen asleep on my boob so had never gone down awake in her cot). Every night we'd have hope (ever the optimist me) and we'd sneak next door to our own bedroom. No more going downstairs we decided very quickly if Evan was asleep then the best thing we could do was be in our own bed too. We'd watch a bit of TV but then as the clock ticked round to 7:55 pm our breathing would change, we'd agitatedly keep checking the time, second by second by second "would this be the night - would she go back to sleeping through". Occasionally the hands of the clock would move round to 8:06 / 8:07 and we'd be almost holding our breath "she's gone 7 mins longer than normal" we'd whisper to each other. But sooner rather than later we would hear the familiar WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only a mother knows how that just gets you. Dads don't seem to FEEL it the same.

I would go in settle her back to sleep and creep out of her room and the next hour would be a repeat of the last. 9 pm would arrive and WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd go in and settle her and by the time I got back in Jim, who had to get up at 5 am he would be putting in his ear plugs, wishing me good luck , turning over and going to sleep.

10 pm WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11 pm WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 midnight WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and this is when the fun really began

2:10 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2:20 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2:40 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mummy gives up and brings Evan into bed where she stays helping herself to my boob as and when she felt like it for the rest of the night. And this was my life from October 2007 to March 2008. At one point I thought I had a friend I could share my lack of sleep with. It's nice to feel someone else is suffering with you isn't it? For a number of weeks we shared our woes about our sleepless bundles of joy until one day I realised that un-named (you know who you are) friend's baby was only waking every 3 hours. Now I'm not dismissing her pain but I think you will agree mine was WORSE.

Now I turned 40 in March 2008 and I'm very proud of the fact that no-one ever realises that I am this old so I didn't want a lack of sleep to make my years suddenly all catch up on me. It had taken me 5 months but I finally realised (lets blame the sleep deprivation) that I needed to take action. Although I think one of the reasons I didn't take action prior to this is because although I was incredibly tired, and when I look back on this time things were a bit of a blur, I don't seem to suffer the effects of sleep deprivation in quite the same way as other mums do. I do hope I don't lose your sympathy at this point but what I have to share maybe useful.

  • I've always been a good napper and so I think during the part of the night that she was waking every hour I somehow got into a rhythm of matching my sleep to hers. It was only when she would wake every 10 mins that didn't work.
  • As I was then bringing her in with me I was getting another couple of hours sleep although because my body was fixed around hers and she would enjoy my boobs all night I would wake up stiff as a board.
  • Luckily too as a Hypnotherapist I am very used to using self hypnosis to snatch short sharp bursts of relaxation and energy which helped me get through the day.
  • Never worrying about the chores during the day, putting my feet up and watching tv as Evan had booby and falling asleep with her in my arms whenever I could most certainly helped.
  • Also, and this is probably one of the most important bits a 'positive mental attitude' really helped. Acknowledging that I knew my life would change when I had her, focussing on the wonder of my gorgeous girl, realising it wouldn't last forever and staying as relaxed as I could to keep my lovely endorphins flowing.
Yes, yes, yes but HOW did you get her to start sleeping. The simple answers is that I found the most wonderful www.babysleepanswers.co.uk. I tell anyone who is having trouble with their baby's sleeping to get straight on to their website and to not mess about but go straight for the private consultation. This is what I did, although I was lucky at the time as it only cost £25 for 10 days. Now it is £50 for 7 days but to be honest I still think that is cheap. Other companies charge £100s for a phone call and a so called personalised training schedule for your little one. Baby Sleep Answers (I promise I am not on commission) give you ongoing online support which enables them to work with you throughout your child's sleep training. They helped me take back control. It wasn't always easy (I was a mum who said that she would never leave her baby to cry) but I learnt that sooner or later you have to let them cry a little bit (little bit making it very different to the old fashioned shut the door and let them cry until they became so exhausted they had to sleep). Within a couple of weeks Evan was sleeping through and well you know the rest of the story (see top of page in case you've forgotten as it has been such a long post).

Something I wish I'd had and is worth a mention here I think is the wonderful EasiDream - check out this entry on my blog written by Lynda from EasiDream herself.

Whilst this blog entry is only being written because I really want to win the Slanket I hope my story helps other mums (and dads) see that you will get through and if you are not getting there yourself to seek out HELP.

Here's to happy sleeping babies.

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Thursday, 24 September 2009

Helping people understand more about the benefits of HypnoFertility

Yesterday evening I was flicking through my blog. Do you flick when they are pages on a computer screen? Any way I was reviewing things that I had written and I realised that I hadn't really written anything that was specifically about HypnoFertility which is a shame because it is something that is really worth shouting about.

I have decided then to run a little series of entries specifically devoted to the benefits of using hypnosis to support conception, be that through natural or assisted means. On as regular basis as my busy life will allow I am going to take you through the types of treatment that I use for my clients many of whom who have gone on to have their beautiful babies.

If whilst reading these entries you have any questions something you'd like to know please leave a comment and I will use further blog entries to answer your questions.

That's it for this entry though - just a precursor to whet your appetite. Keep checking in as they will be well worth the read and if you have any friends who are facing fertility issues please send them a link to my blog.

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Monday, 21 September 2009

Why do a hypnotic fear and emotion release session as part of your preparation for birth?

Quite simply because if we don't remove the fears around birthing trying to create a positive expectancy of birth will be like building a house on dodgy foundations. Any positivity will be in constant conflict with the negativity that is stored within the subconscious mind.

The impact of that negativity when you are in labour and giving birth to your baby is that it can actually change how the muscles in your uterus are designed to work. Instead of the muscles that need to dilate being relaxed they instead constrict and tighten and it is this that causes the great discomfort that we hear about during labour. A Fear and Emotion Release hypnotic session will enable you to release any emotional issues, fears and concerns that you have, clearing your mind of all potential negativity, in order to enable you to focus on your labour and birth in a positive confident way.

However, the hypnosis session is only a part of the process of dealing with any fear or negative emotions. You will want to identify any feelings, experiences or recollections that may be painful or hurtful.
Some of them can be resolved through discussion with your partner or others explaining how you feel and clarifying things between you. There maybe some practical things that you need to resolve for example making sure everything is ready in the house for the baby's arrival or your husband ensuring that he is not away on business around your due date. And there maybe some emotional baggage left behind from a horror story you've heard or the impact of your childhood or just a nagging doubt about your abilities.
The following is a list of some of the areas of concern that you may want to consider but you may also have other issues that you would like to resolve.

Birth Stories (your own and others)
  • Your own family's birth stories. Did you grow up hearing positive and encouraging words about labour and birth from your mother, grandmother, aunties or were they negative and frightening. Have those stories followed a negative pattern "we always have long labours in our family", "births never go smoothly for us". Remember there is no reason to believe that you will have a similar experience.
  • Others' birth stories. As friends, peers, family members have had their babies have they shared joyful messages of birth or horror stories. Again remember that these are THEIR experiences. Maybe they didn't have the advantage of learning HypnoBirthing, perhaps their were complications, whatever the reason it does not mean your labour and birth should be the same way. Although beware! Because your subconscious doesn't know the difference between real or imagined events it can indeed take on others horror stories as its own experience. Don't let others share their horror stories with you. If you have been affected by a horror story the Hypnosis Fear Release session will help you change the way you feel about it and using the Cancel Technique will enable you to keep any negative thoughts in check.
  • Previous labours. If you have already had a difficult labour recognise why. Were there special circumstances? Did something/someone have a hugely negative impact on you whilst in labour? Were you in an environment that you found scary and imposing? Remember that for this labour you can be better prepared. And that the Fear and Emotion Release hypnotic session will help remove the negative emotional attachment you may have to previous birth(s).
Coping as a new mum
  • Becoming a mum. What are your feelings regarding your new role. Did you have positive parenting role models that have left you feeling confident about how you will be as a mum or do you feel overwhelmed? If you did not grow up with a good role model turn this into a positive - you have after all learnt how not to be a parent.
  • Support. Do you feel secure with the support your partner and/or family will provide? Make sure others know if you welcome their support and how they can help. If there isn't that support from close family look at what strengths you must build to effectively provide your own best support.
  • Your relationship with your partner. Do you feel secure in your relationship. Have you discussed the type of parents you each want to be and how you want to bring up your child? Are you on the same page?
  • Impact on your career. Do you have any concerns about the impact having a baby will have on your career? Any conflicts with needing to work and wanting to stay at home with your baby. Sorting through these types of questions can help you reconcile with what you really feel you want to do.
No matter what your list reveals look at how you can resolve any of the practical issues on a conscious level. Any emotional issues, fears or concerns can be dealt with using a specialised hypnosis session. For those of you attending a HypnoBirthing course, Hypnosis for Childbirth sessions or using my Hypno 4 Birth Home Study Programme this will be part of your course. For others you can achive this my purchasing my powerful Fear and Emotion Release Hypnotic Session (downloadable mp3).

"Release the fear and open your mind to a more comfortable way of birthing".

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Friday, 11 September 2009

Peppa Pig and good family dynamics

My daughter Evan loves Peppa Pig! From the moment her Uncle Rob (who looks considerably like Daddy Pig - sorry Rob but you know it's true), Aunty Hayley and her Cousin Tom gave her Peppa and George along with the Christmas DVD she has been hooked. When friends gave her the Birthday DVD for her birthday 6 months later her love hadn't waned. Although I should add at this point that she calls them George and Grace (the names of her cousins) and sings "George and Grace" along with the theme music. My sister will be pleased to know that she doesn't called Mummy Pig Aunty Harriet.

Now I'm pleased that this appears to be an everlasting love for a number of reasons. It is only 10 minutes long which is great when she shouts "just one more" cos well 10 minutes is ok for an extra little treat. Both my husband and I don't mind watching it as there is bizarrely a level at which we too can find it amusing (I'm not sure if I should confess to wanting to know how an episode ended when Evan appeared to have been distracted elsewhere and he'll hate me for saying it but Jim confessed the same). But mainly I love it because of the wonderful way the family interact with each other.

Every family can learn some great things by watching their behaviour and how they communicate with each other. Here are just a few:

  1. When one of them has done something silly and others are laughing at them, like most of us, their first instinct is to get defensive. But as soon as someone says "well it is a bit funny" they agree and start laughing along with everyone else.
  2. Mummy and Daddy Pig aren't perfect. Wow! As parents we don't have to be?
  3. We see scenes of Peppa and George asking for extra play time, or just one book, etc and there is a great balance between Mummy and Daddy Pig letting them have their way and then standing firm when "no means no". Ok it would be interesting to see how they cope with Peppa having a tantrum but remember this is for our toddlers and we don't need them learning any new tricks.
  4. Peppa sometimes forgets that George is younger than her and gets frustrated with him but Mummy and Daddy Pig explain and we see how she learns. Although I do love the episode where she inadvertently makes George miss out on seeing the cuckoo come out of the clock and then taunts him with how wonderful it is to see - tee hee - I'm wicked!
  5. Silly old Grandpa Pig gives us a smile and Grandma Pig knows just how to keep him in line. Like any good woman does with her husband.
  6. But my favourite thing of all is that EVERY single episode ends with the whole family lying on their backs laughing. During laughter the stress hormone cortisol is reduced and conversely the happiness hormone oxytocin level is enhanced. What better way for a family to end its day full of happiness. A lesson to us all.
Get laughing with your families guys. To the music of 'wave your arms in the air' - sing along with me now "shake your legs in the air, shake em like you just don't care" :-D

De de de de de de de de de de de Peeeeppppa Pig Oink Oink

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Saturday, 5 September 2009

Lynda from easidream® giving great advice on getting your baby to sleep

Newborn sleep…. Will we ever sleep again?!!!!!

At first your new little one will probably do nothing but sleep, waking for only short periods of time, up to two hours max and sleeping for longer periods of 3 – 4 hours. It is essential that your newborn does NOT sleep through the entire night while they are just as few weeks old, as they need frequent feeding to grow and thrive.

That being said, there is a wealth of advice out there explaining all sorts of different methods that can help you to get your newborn to sleep at night.

As sleep is so very dear to our hearts I just wanted to share with you all my newborn sleep tips.… I do hope they result in happy sleeping babies with equally happy well rested parents. Of course, it goes without saying that using an easidream® will guarantee a peaceful and safe sleep for your precious little one!

Tip 1. Create the mood!

A great way, nearly always guaranteed to help ‘bring on’ those sleepy feelings is to give your little one a lovely warm bath, preferably with suitable baby night time aroma bubble bath! Follow this with a clean nappy, and then a little baby massage. Any gentle caressing of the baby’s arms, legs, body and forehead will really help bring on those sleepy feelings… but hey DON’T OVER DO IT…. You need to make sure you slip in the next tip first.

Tip 2. Full Tummy

Always make sure that your baby has a really satisfying feed at both the early evening and late night feeding times. Whether this is breast or bottle, it is essential that you really try to make sure that they take a full feed before they drop off to sleep. Of course, it is a ‘must’ that your baby is fully winded, so as to avoid griping tummy pains, which are certain to cause discomfort and a restless baby. A full feed almost always guarantees a longer, more settled sleep.

Tip 3 Make night feeds dull!!!

Always make night feeds subdued, with as little interaction as possible. Keep the room dimly lit and disturb your baby as little as possible. Don’t even change their nappy unless it’s a dirty one (No 2) or you really think it’s necessary. Just feed your baby, wind her and then place her back in her moses basket/cot with her comforter.

Tip 4 Swaddling + Dummy/Pacifier

A great way to help newborns feel safe and secure is to swaddle them tightly. This offers them reassurance by reminding them of life in the womb and also helps with limiting waking caused by the startle reflex (Moro reflex - when a baby suddenly startles with their limbs outstretched). Swaddling is a fantastic technique to use for around the first 3-4 months or so.

A dummy is also great way to help babies to settle. Dummies satisfy a baby’s natural sucking instinct and a lot of babies find them really soothing, as the sucking gives them a feeling of security. Dummies have also been proven to reduce the risk of a sudden infant death incident occurring.

Tip 5 Give a little love!

Who can resist that night time cuddle with their newborn and normally it only takes a short while before your little one has peacefully and contentedly drifted off to the land of nod! If you prefer to put your baby down while drowsy but still awake, a great way to help them still feel secure is to give them a comforter that you have had next to your body (tucked down your top for around one hour) so they can still smell ‘mum’ on it.

Now this is where easidream® can become a godsend for those of you who’s LO doesn’t seem to settle quite according to plan!!!

You know the sort of thing... LO falls asleep peacefully in your arms, you then gently place her in the cot, with the same degree of skill as a brain surgeon carrying out a precision manoeuvre and low and behold within 5 seconds she starts screaming the house down! You then resort to pacing up and down, doing the mummy sway (or partner does it looking a wee bit feminine!!!) making all sorts of ‘quiet’ lullaby type noises and slowly but surely you gradually morph from human form into zombie mode, whilst your LO remains wide awake!!

That being said this is a really serious subject, one that is very dear to my heart and it’s the entire reason why I went on to invent easidream®. For those of you not familiar with my family, I have 6 children and my youngest, Bradley, struggled to settle down to sleep (both day and night) for around 2 and a half years. After trying a whole host of techniques to settle him, I found that the most reliable way to encourage him to stay asleep was to lean over the sides of the cot and create a gentle rocking motion, by moving the mattress up and down… inspired by Bradley… easidream® was born!!

easidream®’s multisensory approach cleverly mimics the soothing nurturing environment of the womb by providing a calming rocking motion with gentle light and sound. It also replicates parents rocking their baby in their arms, close to their chest and in time with their resting heartbeat. Parents intuitively make that familiar ‘shushing’ sound, and easidream recreates this with its soothing sounds.

What’s great about easidream® is that it carry’s on providing those gentle movement and sounds that your baby loves AFTER you lay her in her moses basket or cot. If you’d like to find out more information on how easidream® can:

  • help establish a healthy sleep pattern for all the family
  • encourage your baby to settle to sleep on their back
  • reducing crying time from an average of 18 minutes to less than 1 minute
  • help with bouts of colic

then please visit www.easidream.com.

Sweet dreams everyone


Sunday, 23 August 2009

Hypnomummies (decaf for some) coffee mornings

I am feeling very excited as I write this because it is yet another example, well for me anyway, that the Law of Attraction is so very powerful.

A couple of days ago I had a little idea, just a fleeting thought at the time, "I wonder if my hypnomummies would be interested in an opportunity to get together, with other like-minded mums, outside of attending their HypnoBirthing courses?". Unfortunately, many find that those around them sometimes even close friends and family, are very dismissive of their chosen approach to childbirth. Some just laugh at them and sadly some sabotage although maybe don't realise the harm in their words when suggesting that a mums is fooling herself. This can become difficult for some women who are doing their best to let go of their fears having learnt that it is this very fear that can cause the pain so many others experience during childbirth.

The thought came back into my head a bit later and as what usually happens when ideas start to form I began imagining what it would be like and in my head I saw:
  • My 'mums' who had already had their babies coming along to share their wonderful HypnoBirthing stories.
  • Pregnant mums having attended the course keen to hold on to the wonderful feelings they had during that time.
  • Women interested in finding out more.
  • Those who weren't able to attend a course but had learnt the techniques from a book and would enjoy the opportunity to meet others and ask questions.
I could show some video clips of women using Hypnosis for Childbirth, maybe do a little relaxing hypno but mainly it would be women doing what women do best and that's having a good old chin wag.

Now a particular 'Rule of the Mind' teaches us that thought precedes reality ie whatever a person focuses upon, whether it be of an internal or external origin, becomes manifested. Those mental images become imprinted, and the subconscious simply plays out the plan.

Even I was shocked to see this time how quickly this was proven true.

At the end of my HypnoBirthing course on Saturday one of the mums said "do you know where I could go to meet other hypnomums?" I almost fell off of my chair. I mentioned my idea of a weekly coffee morning and she got very excited and said she'd definitely be interested as did the other mums. Then on today's (Sunday's) HypnoBirthing course another mum said how nice it would be to get together on a regular basis with other women who had the same passion about wanting a great birth as her. So once again I mentioned my coffee morning and she said she's definitely be there. Another mum said she'd even consider taken time off work until her maternity leave so that she could attend and continue reinforcing how positive she was feeling about her baby's birth.

As this was all so positive I checked in with a couple of mums who have already had their lovely HypnoBirths and they too said they would enjoy getting together.

Wow! It looks like they are happening then. A plan of action is needed. Watch this blog for an announcement of the first Hypnomummies (decaf for some) coffee mornings.

Girls when I say daydream about your beautiful, calm, comfortable births you can see why. The subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between real and imagined events so if you spend time focusing on something it really does just seem to get on with it.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Mindful Parenting - Jon Kabat-Zinn's

I was just going through the Spring newsletter from the HypnoBirthing Organisation (I know a bit late - no time for reading, busy, busy, busy) and came across an article which listed the following twelve exercises for 'Mindful Parenting'. I wondered just before I began reading it whether it was going to be my thing or a bit 'right on' as one of my friends would say or 'airy fairy, tree hugger nonsense' would be a description another friend might use. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that on the whole it is good sensible down to earth advice. So much so that I've decide to share it with my readers with some extra little thoughts from me - of course!

Twelve Exercises for Mindful Parenting - Jon Kabat-Zinn's

1. Try to imagine the world from your child's point of view, purposefully letting go of your own. Do this every day for at least a few moments to remind you of who this child is and what he or she faces in the world.

Evan's eyes - a fabulous magical place full of wonderful objects to climb and jump on. Oh and bump into and fall off of - wah! Where's my mummy? "Cuddle mummy, cuddle mummy" - ah! happy again just as long as mummy is ALWAYS there. Sometimes mummy can't be there that makes me sad but I'm okay as long as I'm with someone I know. Yay! mummy is back - she went FOREVER.

2. Imagine how you appear and sound from your child's point of view; imagine having you as a parent today, in this moment. How might this modify how you carry yourself in your body and in space, how you speak, what you say? How do you want to relate to your child in this moment?

Evan's eyes - Most days mummy is an angel. Some days mummy's grumpy. I don't like those days I'm glad they don't happen very often.

3. Practice seeing your children as perfect just the way they are. Work at accepting them as they are when it is hardest for you to do so.

Evan's eyes - I'm perfect just the way I am. Mummy doesn't like it when I push or scratch though but at least it takes her attention away from her laptop.

4. Be mindful of your expectations of your children, and consider whether they are truly in your children's best interests. Also, be aware of how you communicate those expectations and how they affect your children.

Evan is so going to be a great musician just like her daddy. Although I don't mind as long as she achieves greatness in something. Are my expectations too high? Okay, okay as long as she gives things a go and does her best I'm happy. Her happiness means the world to me. She does love her music though and she's just reinforced my expectations that she will want to be an entertainer as she has performed the alphabet song perfectly and is demanding applause. "Clap mummy clap".

5. Practice altruism, putting the needs of your children above your own whenever possible. Then see if there isn't some common ground where your needs can also be met. You may be surprised at how much overlap is possible, especially if you are patient and strive for balance.

Evan's eyes - why does mummy look so exhausted today. She's been muttering on about something to do with balance.

6. When you feel lost, or at a loss, remember to stand still. Meditate on the whole by bringing your full attention to the situation, to your child, to yourself, to the family. In doing so, you may go beyond thinking and perceive intuitively, with the whole of your being, what really needs to be done.

Okay so this could sound a bit 'airy fairy' but actually it makes sense. Running around like a headless chicken helps no-one. By taking some time to take in some relaxing breaths and putting things into perspective you really do have a clearer head. I know, I'm having to put this into practise quite a lot at the moment.

7. Try embodying silent presence. Listen carefully.

We all have our own agenda and it can cause us to jump to conclusions or to not notice someone else's pain. The BT ad that tells us it's 'good to talk' should also point out that it is 'good to listen'.

8. Learn to live with tension without losing your own balance. Practice moving into any moment, however difficult, without trying to change anything and without having to have a particular outcome occur. See what is "workable" if you are willing to trust your intuition and best instincts.

Okay then in my words - relax, go with the flow, trust your gut instinct - if it feels right it is right.

9. Apologize to your child when you have betrayed a trust in even a little way. Apologies are healing, and they demonstrate that you see a situation more clearly, or more from your child's point of view. But "I'm sorry" loses its meaning if we are always saying it, or if we make regret a habit.

This is actually one of the exercises that speaks the loudest to me about 'Mindful Parenting'. I remember reading once that when we get angry at our children it often isn't really about them but more our own frustrations. What are we not able to get on with, can't have that lie in, veg out on the sofa, read that book, etc. because they are demanding something else. Today was a good example. Evan woke a half an hour early from her nap taking away my precious time that I catch up on work. My heart sank as I heard her cry out and then I thought to myself, as I so often do, "it's not like I didn't think she was going to change my life" so I went upstairs with a good heart and was rewarded with the most beautiful smile.

10. Every child is special, and every child has special needs. Each sees in an entirely unique way. Hold an image of each child in your heart. Drink in their being, wishing them well.

Evan is the most demanding, full on, in your face little monkey but I wouldn't have her any other way. She is brimming with confidence that comes out in over-exuberance in some good and some not so good ways but I'd rather that than the timid, shy little girl that I was.

11. There are very important times when we need to practice being clear and strong and unequivocal with our children. Let this come as much as possible out of awareness and generosity and discernment, rather than out of fear, self-righteousness, or the desire to control. Mindful parenting does not mean being overindulgent, neglectful, or weak; nor does it mean being rigid and controlling.

I'm learning, there is so much to learn and no time to read the bloody rule books. Best thing I've found is to listen to what other mums are doing and use the bits I like. It is interesting though that when I'm coming from a place of strength for example because I need her to be safe, have manners over dinner, get ready for bed, behave appropriately, etc. she listens. If there is another agenda of mine going on I must betray myself in my tone of voice because she doesn't take a bit of notice.

12. The greatest gift you can give your child is yourself. This means that part of your work as a parent is to keep growing in self-knowledge and in awareness. We have to be grounded in the present moment to share what is deepest and best in ourselves.

With this one I have to say I stopped reading at the first full stop (I don't mean after the number 12) because this is what actually makes me want to be a Mindful Parent. The joy in Evan's eyes when I sit and read, draw, paint, pretend to be a tiger, just lie back on the floor or hide with her is magnificent. When she comes up to me and shuts my laptop lid because it has encroached on her time just a little bit to much I think "good for you!" (well sort of) if I've been on it long enough for that to have happened mummy needs to be told.

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Sunday, 26 July 2009

'Long Overdue'

This entry on my blog hasn't actually been written by me. It has been taken (with permission from its writer) from an entry on the HypnoBirth Mums and Mums to be board of Baby Centre. The entry was written by a wonderful, inspirational woman who I wouldn't be surprised on a subconscious level has gone 'overdue' to stick two fingers up at the system and tell them that the only thing that is 'long overdue' is their policies surrounding induction. Her 'fight', and sadly this is how it can feel for women avoiding intervention, is also giving huge amounts of confidence to other women who are trying to avoid unnecessary induction just because they have gone passed their 'due (guess) dates' - despite monitoring showing that both mum and baby are fine.

In the words of Angels_Ackiz:

"Ok here goes, its a long one!

Williesmammy (ALi) posted on here for me what seems like weeks ago saying that something may be starting up labour wise. Thank you for all your brilliant posts by the way, so touching and encouraging!

It seems I have a stop start kind of body..... My last birth was an induction in hospital so this time around determined to go for it naturally, I have nothing really to go on as to how my body works under normal conditions.

Now I always imagined that I would have a show and things would happen slowly. That is exactly what I've been getting!

I have had about 4-5 little shows over the last few days, surges stopping and starting and finally my hind waters went at 12:30am last night.

Emotionally it has been the most testing time of my life. I have been a good girl and been into hospital for monitoring and tests to tick all the boxes that both I and my precious baby are well only to be told that the midwives (who actually chose their words carefully) said they strongly advise against homebirth after 42 weeks but would attend me if I still so wished. Even dressed up in nicer words has a devastating effect on one's confidence.

When I asked why since I am still healthy and strong (as per hospital check boxes) they throw at you:

The placenta is healthy now but could die under the stress of contractions during labour. Shoulder could get stuck as apparently I have a 10lb baby showing up on scan (don't believe it, and anyway even if she is 10lb+, I have good sized child bearing hips I think!) and also the classic meconium in waters. Oh and a new one I've heard is that if anything went wrong at a homebirth which they had advised against - the midwives concerned could face a conviction so they have to protect theor own backs and be seen to have clearly told me they have strongly advised against homebirth. Nice - do I give a crap? No.

In that siuation girls I would advise this: Tell them you know the risks, thank them for reminding you, smile sweetly and tell them either you'll take it day by day, or just be straight and say unless they can provide you with real hard evidence any of these things are a risk to you right now, you'll carry on being monitored and if all is well, proceed with homebirth plans as noted on the birth plan. Don't get upset, don't second guess yourself. If you genuinely feel like there is a risk - do something about it. But after carefully considering the facts, all the midwives advice just really amounts to slim 'what ifs' and own hide covering. My baby moves and grooves all the time and I really have no concerns at this time.

I truly think that my body is getting there slowly but surely. My cervix has a great Bishops score of 7/10 as of Thursday, cervix is central and soft 1-2cm dilated. WHy they want to induce me is beyond me really. However I should point out that because I am so favourable, an induction at this stage would consist of merely breaking the waters. But get this - when I asked 'what then?' she said 'if nothing happens within TWO hours, we would start you on the drip'. (WTF!!??) Two hours? NICE guidelines clearly states up to 96 hours! Talk about becoming a battery hen! I can just imagine how a two hour deadline would affect my adrenaline levels?!!

Now, my mental state has been a wee bit of a rollercoaster. Once I got past 40+14, my mood actually improved! I'd passed the deadline as it were which actually felt like a weight off my shoulders. UNTIL of course the charming visit from the 2 midwives yesterday (the ones who are on call all week now.... a pleasent thought they could be attending me? No not really)

Yesterday was a huge challenge. I was tired, grumpy and confused. Got some biiiiiig reassurances from Dany, Ali, my friends on FB and read again the lovely posts from you girls. Had a very big bawl in my filled up birth pool last night and got on with the business of a fear release session, clary sage sniffing and some fab bonding time with my man who sat in the pool with me. We practised some birthing positions, he massaged some pressure points on my ankles and was great. It was a welcome break and helped me to once again focus on and visualise giving birth in the pool we have set up, holding our baby and completing this journey we started out toegther coming up to ten months ago (crikey!) in a calm, controlled and beautiful way we have always planned.

For that I was rewarded with my hind waters breaking and a few surges (mild but then I am a HypnoBirthing girl so they would be!)

This morning I am soooo tired but happy and confident once again. Girls, you have to trust your body, your baby and release the fear you have about birthing and your ablility to do it and above all be patient. Laughter and love made this baby and it will be that which will bring her out into the world, I just know it.

Thanks for reading! I did say it was a long one!

42+4 and counting. :o)

Angela - Hypnobirth water baby coming this July!"

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Feeling Proud

I love the work I do and I really take care to research every single element of it. This extends to the writing of my mp3s and so I was very chuffed to read a comment on Baby Centre that was written recently:

"I had a fantastic birth and cannot recommend Dany's MP3's highly enough.

Here's a link to her shop http://www.tums2mums.com/index_files/HypnotherapyProducts.htm

I think her natural calm MP3 is so beautiful as I know she researched colours and linked them to their meanings in a very clever way- sorry if I haven't explained that very well but it really is fab...."

I am editing this post to add another lovely comment following posting on Facebook about feeling proud :-)

"absolutely - they are awesome, the fear release one has been getting alot of air play recently!"

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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

OMG I'm a mum

For those of you who know that Evan is just over 2 years old don't worry I haven't only just realised that I'm a mum.

I've decided to write this now because just lately I've been reading quite a lot of articles and blogs about how difficult it is during those first few weeks when you become a new mum. Yet I often look back and realise just how cushy it is when you have a new born compared to the chaos of looking after a toddler.

It always seems to be around this time of year that I wistfully look back and long for those wonderful days when I could just sit with my feet up watching TV or sleeping as Evan was either breastfeeding or asleep on me (well when I say always this has only been the second time as Evan is only 2). You could say it is because of Evan's birthday that I choose this time to reflect back but I'm sure it's actually to do with 'Big Brother' as it started as she was born and I got to watch the whole series for the first time since series 1. It was a good one too, not that I remember any names. For anyone who has a good knowledge of Big Brother it was the one with the really nice twins. The closest I get to Big Brother these days is to read Davina's comments on Twitter and really wish I had the time or energy to find out what she's talking about.

So why did I find it so easy? Was it because Evan was a model sleeper from the day she was born? Or that she fed at easy to manage intervals during the day? Or because I had Mary Poppins (or some other wonderful helper) looking after her whilst I bathed, brushed my teeth, washed and dried my hair and applied my make up all in my own relaxing time. NO!!!

In fact none of the above. I always joke that Evan had such an easy birth she had no idea that anything much had changed and she certainly made up her mind that nothing would. She slept on me for the first 6 weeks of her life. I used to put a shawl that my mum had knitted around me, across Evan and then tucked in on my other side so I knew she was safe. She would not let me put her down for a second even when she was fast asleep. I would attempt to put her in her moses basket and before I'd even laid her down she would start screaming. One of my friends actually experimented with holding her over the moses basket with outstretched arms, "scream", still holding her with outstretched arms but no longer over the moses basket "asleep", pattern repeated a number of times with the same results. I knew then I was going to have my hands full as she got older . I certainly didn't have Mary Poppins to help me, well only Jim, so I used to have my bath in the evenings when Jim came home (I did manage to brush my teeth and hair in the morning with one hand though). Jim also used to cook dinner every night. Oh and cut it up into bite size pieces for me so that I could eat it whilst Evan was attached to my boob.

So how did I find all that relaxing you ask yourself. Well it all comes down to state of mind - your head really does create your world. The overwhelming thought that used to creep into my head was "I knew she was going to change my world completely, I've looked forward to having her in my life and I'm damn well going to enjoy her". And so I simple let go of caring about anything other than just enjoying being a mum. In fact when you do that you can start seeing how unbelievably lazy you can be. With a little bit of organising I could plonk myself on the sofa watch tv, read a book, sleep and generally relax anytime I wanted to.

And relaxation IS the key. So many women experience the baby blues - they have had such a huge rush of hormones leading up to and having their babies they suddenly crash when their lives change so dramatically. However, a mum who is able to relax into her role works in harmony with those changes and so doesn't experience such extreme highs and lows.

So these are my tips.

1. Put your feet up and don't worry about the house work. Keep your house tidy and ask your husband to support with that (actually quite easy to do if you are just sitting with your feet up cos you don't get to make any mess) and I promise you won't notice the tiny amount of dust that will accumulate. After all it's only a few weeks and you will have done a total spring clean during your nesting period. Actually, I couldn't walk in the last few weeks of my pregnancy because Evan had got herself into a funny position so I had to nest via Jim. Bless him I phoned him at work one day in tears saying there were so many things I wanted to get ready but couldn't He told me to write a list and he would do it all when he got home. And he did! Sorry as usual I've gone off on a tangent where was I - oh yes tip number 1 - put your feet up and don't worry about the housework.

2. Put your feet up and get dad to feed you. Mum feeds the baby, dad feeds the mum. Jim as I said before cooked the dinner every night and washed up too and would also make me lunch and snacks for the day. He did this when he realised that I'd gone all day existing on a couple of biscuits because I couldn't make a sandwich with one hand (or probably couldn't be bothered to try). I never seemed to get extra hungry because I was breastfeeding I'm not sure why.

3. If some days your baby seems to want to be on your boob more than he/she's off it then use it as another excuse to put your feet up (is there a theme to my tips?). Remember it is all part of making sure you have enough milk for them (or if it is hot they may just be a bit more thirsty than usual).

4. If your little one doesn't want to sleep anywhere but on you put your feet up and sleep right along with them. I promise it doesn't last for long. I really thought I'd never get Evan to sleep in her cot but from 6 weeks she was sleeping in it from 11pm to 5am (she lost it at 5 months and started waking every hour but I blame a trip to Wales and Evan's sleeping problem is a story for another day).

5. If you have friends or family over (although keep your guests to an absolute minimum for the first two weeks unless you have an amazing best friend like me who turned up with about a weeks worth of food she'd cooked for us) get them to hold the baby for a while and put your feet up. Extra tip under this section don't run around after them, put your feet up and let them make you a cup of tea.

6. If you don't get to bath one day, wash your hair or brush your teeth or in fact do any of the things you planned for that day. Let it go. Put your feet up and relax.

So what are you going to do for those few weeks that you're getting used to being a mum. That's right 'put your feet up'. And just to make sure that you are doing that properly these are the ingredients needed for the perfect feet up experience:

  • Foot stall
  • Cushions for you and to place baby on whilst feeding
  • TV remote
  • Mobile phone
  • Telephone
  • Drink
  • Snacks
  • Book
  • Magazine
  • Muslin for those wonderful little (little yeah right) spit ups
All neatly placed by your side so once you are relaxed with your feet up the only thing that needs to disturb you is a dirty nappy or a trip to the loo.

Happy Babymoons everyone :-)

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