Why I Think Mummy Blogs Are Fabulous

There’s tonnes of reasons why I think Mummy Blogs are fab.  I think of a ‘mummy blog’ as one written by a Mum, rather than any other type of person.  They may not even be about mummy stuff, but they will still have a particular slant, which other blogs won’t have.  You can get blogs about babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, children, teenagers, single mums, divorced mums, married mums, stay at home mums (SAHM), work from home mums (WFH), and going out to work mums.

But the main reason I recommend Mums check them out is because they can give a REALITY CHECK, something we all could do with sometimes.  The more honest the blog, the better the reality check.  (How can you tell if it is honest?  If it has both happy and sad, coping and struggling, good and bad days discussed in it).  Reality checks help us to see that the grass is different, but not always greener on the other side, and to appreciate our particular lawn.

So if you are a Mum, and haven’t gotten into Mummy blogs yet, I really recommend you have a go.  They are easy to fit into a Mum’s life, for a quick 2-5min read, and will often give you a much needed giggle.

You can just keep all the URL’s but it’s tricky to keep up to date, so the best option is to either subscribe by email or an RSS reader.  You can do both of those by clicking on the little orange square thingy on the RHS of my blog.

(By the way, if you are subscribed to my blog, you might want to re-do it, as I have just updated my blog to use a different feedburner).  I use google reader, which means I can read the blogs on my macbook air, iphone or ipad (geeky apple household here we come): http://www.google.com/reader/

If you would like a list of places to start, then there have been a couple of lists of the top British Mummy Bloggers and awards recently (all measured in totally different ways!):

Tots 100: http://www.whosthemummy.co.uk/parent-blog-index/

Make sure you add Sally who hosts the Tots 100, as she is hysterical, but not listed in the list anymore: http://www.whosthemummy.co.uk/

Wikio’s Top 20: http://www.wikio.co.uk/blogs/top

The Gurgle Blog Awards: http://www.gurgle.com/articles/Lifestyle/36776/Top_20_mummy_blogs_on_the_web.aspx

Alpha Mummy Top 10: http://timesonline.typepad.com/alphamummy/2006/12/10_great_blogs_.html

Cision top 10 Mummy Blogs (also check out Daddy & Parenting): http://uk.cision.com/Resources/Social-Media-Index/Top-UK-Social-Media/Top-10-UK-Mummy-Blogs/

For people already really into blogs, what are your favourites, or do you have lists you can recommend to my readers?  Are there any other tips you would give people?

Oooh by the way, I’ve never been up for an award for any blog list, sob sob.  I once got listed as in the top 50 mummy bloggers on twitter, but that was ages ago.  So if you ever see any competitions going, feel free to recommend me, plug, plug!

Wow, 3 Months Is a Lot Faster Second Time Around

Wow, Wibee (little pink/Willow Phoebe) is now 3 months old.  I can now pop her in a bumbo and eat at least half my meal without her needing a cuddle.  We have reached that magical second milestone, where she’s transitioned through the squeaky, alien phase, into the gradually becoming more aware phase, and is now in the plump cute looking baby phase where things start to get more interesting.

She is teething; bummer.  Plus she has already rolled once, which might have been a fluke, but means I can no longer leave her on the kitchen work surfaces (not recommended anyway really!).  But it is getting much easier to differentiate her cries, and her dimples are darn cute!

I was worried that it might be the same kind of difficult second time around, and the good news is that it isn’t.  Of course the degree of ease and difficulty in my life has been maintained, as it always is.  I’ll talk about that in more detail another day, but basically it’s about the philosophy that there is aways ease and difficulty in our lives, in equal amounts, it’s just that we don’t always see the other side of the story.  However, I am kind of relieved that it isn’t the same kind of difficulty, however tough it has been.

I called the first year with Monster/Angel Boy the ‘black times’,  NOT because it was horrid, but because there was such a huge shift in my identity and what I valued in life, that I kind of disappeared for a while.  That has certainly not happened again, but there has been another change.  I’m a hell of a lot more focussed on practical stuff right now.  All I’m looking for is a practical car, for the house to work for the family, for my clothes to be washable, my hair is tied back and there are no hoops in my ears (otherwise ‘ouch’ from little fingers!).  I’m just looking for a easy life at the moment, and for ways to make life flow more smoothly.  I’m sure that this will be just a phase of it’s own, but I still suspect that some of these changes will stick, especially the one where I’m so much stricter on my priorities.

In comparison, the first 6 weeks with Max was intense, scary, exhausting, and interminable.  I was all alone, I didn’t know any Mums because anti-natal classes didn’t start until later, and I felt like I was floundering along with no clue.  Then David got made redundant, and all the stress of the previous year kind of fell on top of me for a bit.  The good side to that, is that this is where the ‘Mummy Whisperer’ was born, because my training was great, but impractical for a new Mum to do on her own, so over the coming months I worked out what would work within the resource limitations I was now under and created the ‘Fun Creation Equation’.  The key was that I found that I became increasingly confused by the number of different parenting techniques out there, none of which totally worked for me.  Whereas, when I managed to calm the noise in my head (you know, the worries, and guilt about EVERYTHING!) I found out that I was pretty good at working out my own solutions that matched the family perfectly.  So that’s what I now do for other Mums; help them to learn how to listen to themselves, so that each day can flow a little more easily, with a little more fun and sparkle.

Ironically, this time David had problems with his job again, but within 1 day of her being born, rather than 6 weeks; which suggests that we shouldn’t risk having another child!  But this time I didn’t get the intense 2 weeks of bubble time with Wibee, because after an easy home birth I was thrown unceremoniously back into real life and nursery runs, which initially I found really hard.  I had a long tearful chat with a friend of mine from who uses the same techniques as myself, and I settled after we worked out that the bubble was there, but this time was more widely spread as it included Max, plus I wouldn’t have wanted to have such an intense bubble and upset Max by excluding him.  My body didn’t agree though, and 3 weeks ago I fell very ill and was forced to spend 2 weeks with Willow on the sofa, which was a lovely, if painful opportunity to be with her and learn more about myself.  (See all my blogs about asking for help).

So we are 3 months in.  David has still got a job; result!  The in-laws have visited twice because of me being ill, and really bonded with both kids, which has thrilled Max.  I’ve realised that I’m just not able to do the day to day stuff on my own (hubby works late and I don’t have family of my own), so I’ve employed a lovely irish granny, and a fabulous local mum to help me out a few hours a week.  I woke up 2 days ago and felt loads better after my illness, but also like I was ‘back’, which I think is just getting to the magic 3 month stage.  I’m not getting a load of sleep, but I get some, so that’s not bad.  Max loves his sister and has shown no jealousy, just a little sensitivity at times which we have to be careful of.  The dogs have been very jealous and very badly behaved just to balance him out!  I’ve got a couple of tests in the next week or two to find out how come I got sick so badly, and then I might have a think about starting to do a little work in while.  And now it’s on to the 3-6 month phase: sitting up, grabbing things, teeth, summer holidays, swimming classes, music classes …. lots of fun and trouble all rolled into a monster/angel boy and a Wibee girl, I wonder if that will feel faster too?

Another Question: Why Feel Guilty About Needing Some Help

You might have guessed, that my theme this week is questions!  Plus, my blogs have changed a little, as I used to blog when I had resolved a problem of mine, or for someone else’s situation.  Whereas now I’m blogging in the midst of a problem.  I’d be interested to know what you think about the change, as the blogs develop!

My question today is ‘Howcome do I feel guilty, that I really could do with some help for the last 2 hours of the day before the kids go to bed?’.

These hours tend to consist of the baby deciding she would like to be permanently held (but not in a sling, obviously, because that would be too easy!), whilst the generally well behaved 4yr old, gets tired and cranky, thus losing all ability to think rationally.  Recently, the dogs have helped out with a weeks worth of puking, and now the odd pee incident, for no apparent reason.  My husband’s job suddenly changed the day after the baby was born, and he now doesn’t get home at the time he used to, which means he can’t even help with the juggling a windy screamy baby, whilst reading a story and putting a bedtime nappy on the 4yr old.  So the task of cooking a quick meal, feeding the dogs, tidying the house, putting the washing away, and getting everyone ready for bed, has become a new form of very noisy torture ;o)

So howcome, do I feel guilty, when I realise that I could do with some help?  I didn’t feel guilty about getting a cleaner, because I could feel I deserved one as I was working.  I didn’t feel guilty about her being expensive, because otherwise I had to clean after the cleaner went, which kind of defeated the object.  I didn’t feel guilty about buying myself some clothes.  But for some reason, there is a tinge of guilt that suggests that I ‘should be able to cope’, especially as I’m a born coper!

One of the reasons that my stress levels are exasperated is because I don’t have a Mum to complain to daily in order to let off steam (this is my fantasy of what a Mum would be willing to put up with!), and there isn’t any family locally to help out.  All the Mums nearby are of course very supportive, but also going through the same thing, or just escaped the same problem.  The difference is, that I don’t have the carrot of a regular potential visit from a Mum, who would put a duvet on me and take away my responsibilities for an hour (again another TOTAL fantasy, as loads of people don’t have Mums or Mums with duvets).

Now the importance of the question, is because when you ask it, you can face it and see it’s basically daft, whereas before it was an internal niggle that wasn’t getting me anywhere.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Well, people will find out that I’m not perfect, and that my only solution was to bring in an extra pair of hands.  That’s not so bad.  After all, I’m luckily not selling myself as a perfect Mum, so it shouldn’t put people off.

Potentially, people could dislike me because they don’t like to be reminded of their fallibility.  This is very likely, and could affect friendships and work.  However, in life, there are always going to be as many people liking you as disliking you, so it will be balanced out.

Some people will criticise me for having the money to be able to do it, and throw at me the fact that they don’t have family, or a partner, and they can manage.  But in fact what I’m doing is swapping my cleaner (that I didn’t feel guilty about), for more hours with a mother’s help, so ironically it would be purely how I was spending my money that was the issue.  Plus this way, I’m going to be helping out another local mother/grandmother financially, which is I think a very sensible way to spend my money.  However, they would be right, because I’m not great at these last 2hrs of the day.  I LOVE being a Mum, but notice that I do also work part-time because I couldn’t be a full-time mum.  If I was advising me, I would remind myself that we are all great at some things, and not so great at others and that there is a reason that I work part-time.

Some people might criticise me and ask how can I help other mums with my blog and business, if the only solution I could find to this problem, was to pay for help?  Which would be a valid comment too.  But, it wasn’t the only solution.  Actually, I’ve been tackling this issue for 9 weeks now, bit by little bit.  I’ve helped the 4yr old with his insecurities, and added in a star chart, which is really helping him.  I’ve taken the baby to a chiropractor to reduce the screaming in the car and enable her to sit comfortably in a bouncy chair.  I’ve changed my priorities, so that there is as little as possible to do in the evening.  There have been lots of little steps.  In fact last night, I interviewed someone for the job, and the house seemed calm, so I wondered ‘maybe I don’t really need help?’.  But just as she walked out the door I discovered the dog pee in a corner, realised I hadn’t emptied the tumble dryer, was shouted at for not playing by the 4yr old, the baby woke up and screamed, then the internet shopping arrived late, and I still had dinner to cook, a 4yr old to get to bed, and then a sick husband walked through the door!

So what I need to do is remind myself that I’m a great Mum in my own way, and my little boy would prefer I spend the money on someone to be an extra pair of hands, so that I can give myself totally to the job of being the best that I’m able to be.  Meanwhile, I got an email today from a master practitioner of the methodology that trained in, asking for help with finishing a self-session.  It’s made me feel great to be asked, and in no way have I judged her.  In fact it made me realise, that I could then swap a session with her, and pay the mother’s help to cover me, in that way making me even more fun for my son to have around.

If you are feeling guilty today, try these questions out too, because they might make you feel better …

  • What are you feeling guilty for doing/not doing?
  • Why do you feel guilty for it, is there really reason to feel guilty about it when you look at it?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen: face the fear and guilt, it might not be so bad.
  • How could you and your family gain or benefit from it?
  • If you are judging yourself for being rubbish at something, what are you great at, and why does it suit your family that you are the way you are.

Thanks for listening, it helps to sort my squashy brain out when I write it all down! I’m also not going to feel guilty about the fact that I’m going to eat a chocolate bar now, because since I ate one yesterday my milk has been back on form ;o)

To do list

What Will Cause The Most ‘Pain’ If Not Done By The End Of Today?

To do list
To do list

In ‘ye olden days’, i.e. 2 months ago before the arrival of ‘little dimples’, my second child, I used to ask myself what might seem a slightly dark question when sorting out my plan for work/life balance.

I would think about being elderly and sitting on my death bed, looking back over my life.  ‘What would I regret not doing?’.  Would I miss doing that piece of admin, writing that document, working with that client, or playing with my son.

In some cases, I really wanted to write, or the client session was going to be really interesting and couldn’t be at another time.  But in other cases, the sun would be out and it was definitely time to make a memory and go and have a picnic.

This would really help me to be clear on what I wanted to achieve, and how I wanted to do it.  I’m not the type to go pushing ahead with my business, and put the kids last.  It’s not wrong, it’s just not me, and most of all kids just want us to be ourselves.  I’m also not the type to not have another string to my bow; that is, I’d be a rubbish stay at home mum!

But now my life has changed, and is much more practical and much more short term.  My question is ‘What will cause me the most pain if I don’t get it done by the end of today?‘.  It helps me with the juggling act (which frankly I’m not doing well at), because ‘little pink’ could wake up at any moment and then demand attention for the rest of the day.

Today, I needed the washing dry, but I also needed to write, just quickly, so that I felt that feeling I love for a moment.  I’ve also made myself a long glass of squash and got some snacks ready, as I’m conscious that her milk demands are increasing.  Which also means sod any thought of a diet for another week!

If I get a chance I’ll phone the two mates who left me a voicemail or text.  Max is at nursery today, so I might even get a chance to interview a ‘Mother’s help’, but most of all I need a little peace and quiet after the easter holidays, when I made a couple of fatal mistakes; I’ll blog about them later in the week, but they are all about feeling unappreciated because you do a pile of stuff ‘for’ people and forgot to work out your compensation package ;o)

A great question, can be worth it’s weight in gold.  What questions help you?

The Ideal Mummy Age – 16, 26, or 36?

I was reading a blog by a fellow Mummy Blogger the other day about age and mummyhood; you know, the eternal question about which age is most ideal.  Suddenly it hit me about the weird synchronicities in my life and how there were 3 potential ages and outcomes for my life.

16 – So Nearly A Teenage Mum

It might surprise people to know that I was very nearly a teenage Mum, and therefore can totally understand why young girls make the choice to get pregnant.  Not because of council houses etc, etc, but because of an urge for someone who would love me, for me, and need me for me, not use me. It wasn’t a rational thought, it was a pretty lonely desperate thought.

I was a very bright, slightly serious, very responsible girl, who had been what is now termed a ‘young carer’ from an extremely young age (called an ambulance at 5 for my Mum) and I’d pretty much enjoyed the job, just like all young kids who are so resilient and adaptable to situations.  But when I hit my teens it got much harder to deal with.  During my ‘O’ level revision my Dad had a heart attack, was overdosed by the hospital and ended up in a diabetic coma. Although he recovered, he was pretty sick throughout my exams, plus the family company was being sold.  The day that school finished, my Mum fell over the dog and broke her pelvis.  So I spent the majority of my summer holidays nursing the two of them, as they refused proper help or to go somewhere more suitable.

It was that time of your life where you start to meet loads of new friends and your social life begins to take precedence.  I was lucky, my new friends were willing to come to the house to see me, when I got a break.  But after the stress of exams and a tough summer, I was becoming very resentful.  I remember distinctly the thought running through my head, that if I had a baby, they would want me for just me, not as a potential carer for the rest of their lives.  Now to all the shattered Mums out there, that might sound rather ironic!  But it is different.  I look in my daughter’s eyes tonight and in a way that young version of me was right and I do feel different about nursing her, than I did my parents.

So for the first time I rebelled when we went on holiday, which happened to co-incide with falling head over heels for a summer romance.  The only reason that I did not come back pregnant, was that I happened to fall for someone younger than me (which I didn’t realise), who therefore didn’t take advantage of the potential on offer.  Instead I came back a smoker; hell I needed something!

Wow, life would have been different if I’d tried harder to get pregnant.  I reckon I would have enjoyed being a Mum, despite my age, and as caring came naturally, I would have taken to the role easily.  But so many other things would have changed.  Would my parents have helped, so that I could continue to study my ‘A’ Levels?  I’m not sure, and even if they did, I suspect it would have been delayed.  I doubt the rather disastrous 5yr intense relationship would have happened, as I wouldn’t have been so attractive with a baby.  That would have saved some heartache, but also lost useful lessons.  I might still have met my husband, if I’d managed to continue and do a degree, even if I’d gone for a local one instead, but again I wonder how attractive I would have been with a 4yr old child.

So here I would be, 40yrs old, with a 24yr old child.  They would definitely have left college by now, so I would be free to enjoy my 40’s and make the most of them.  They would have known my Dad for 4yrs and might remember him, and would have had 20yrs with my Mum.  Plus, I would have had a Mum to talk to when I was tired, and upset, and a Mum to babysit or help out when I just felt like I couldn’t cope.  However, my escape from home was combined with going away to do my degree (that was kind of what I’d been working towards since very young), so I might never have got away and stayed as her carer until she died 4yrs ago.  But maybe as I learnt more about her from becoming a Mum myself, we might have found a more balanced way?  Nahhh, I was too young, and I’ve needed to learn a hell of a lot in order to understand human behaviour, especially when it gets all twisted and knarly.  But I reckon I would still have loved being a Mum.

26 – Why Not At The ‘Ideal Age’?

Ironically 3 yrs later I was told by a doctor that I was ‘barren’ and had to take pills for the rest of my life otherwise I would get ‘brittle bone disease or cancer and die’.  So at 26 when I was ‘meant to’ be having kids, (we’d been together 6 yrs, married for 1yr) I wasn’t.  My husband knew from the beginning that there were problems, but I did double check just before we got married.  The specialist said that IVF wouldn’t work, but I could try fertility treatments.  However, ironically if I did fall pregnant there was a high probability of multiple pregnancies, but he thought it unlikely I would be successful.

Now, by this stage I was a stress junkie.  I did not deal well with my Dad’s death, and had a huge discovery about my Mum which turned my life upside down and back again.  I was doing really well in a mega stressful job, and working long days and hours.  I organised my wedding in conjunction with my in-laws, which is just not ideal, however nice your in-laws are.  There was NO WAY I could have handled twins or worse, it just wasn’t worth the risk.  The problem was that everyone said it had to be in my 20’s, and that the slimmest of chances was slipping away.  But we weren’t ready, I was too stressed and it wasn’t a priority for my husband.  I insisted it would be ‘wrong’ to try for a baby just because of age (please do not think that I am criticising anyone who makes that choice – just wrong for us, that’s all).

I am SO glad that we didn’t try at that point, because one thing I am sure of is that I would not have handled it.  I would have been filled with brain noise, and been a prime candidate for Post-natal depression, with no idea on how to tackle it.  I wouldn’t have had time to heal the rift between myself and my Mum, which would have just added to the whole messy emotional state.  Plus, my husband and I went through a key, although uncomfortable, shift in our relationship 10yrs later, and without it, I don’t think we could have had the family that we have today, or the future possibilities.

36 – Miraculous (and again at 40!)

So then we come to the 36 year old, walking up and down a corridor saying ‘Oh shit’ and starring in disbelief at a pregnancy test that is definitely positive.  By now, I’d got so used to the idea of being ‘barren’ that I had totally accepted it, and was sure it was because I’d be a rubbish Mum anyway.  Our marriage had been through some tough times, but my husband had also got his head around the lack of children, and we were just planning our very hedonistic mid-life together when I discovered that I was 2 months pregnant!

I didn’t get much chance to think it through, because during the next 7 months my Mum died (she did see me pregnant) and we moved house.  So there suddenly in my arms, was this little boy.  There was no family to rely on, not many local friends, but most crucially no one to interfere. Everyone said I was lucky to have a boy, because they are so affectionate, and they were right.  I spent 3 months holding him, because he screamed if I put him down, and this little creature taught me how to just ‘Be’ in a moment.  It was certainly hard, but I immediately found out this amazing thing; I LOVED being a Mum, and I reckon I’m pretty good at it what a surprise!

So It’s Extremes That Win For Me

Ironically that means that at 26 I’m sure, I would have been miserable, and perpetuated all the problems I’d seen in my childhood.  Whereas the extremes of 16 or 36, were either before there was too much emotional baggage, or after it was ‘fixed’, giving me the chance to really enjoy being a Mum.  So they are the ages that work best for me.  Makes sense, as I’m not that traditional anyway!

If I’d been 16, I would have no worries about seeing my grandchildren grow up, and would have had more energy, which would be a big advantage.  I had older parents (Mum was 43 when she had me), and there were definitely hardships that I felt due to their lack of health.  But this is where I have some power over the situation at 36, because I have the gift of hindsight.  So, I’m hoping that in the next couple of years (giving me some time to recover from the arrival of another surprise baby 7 weeks ago at 40!) I can shift my pretty good health up several notches, thereby ensuring I still get relationships with my grandchildren.  It’s going to be hard work, but I’m sure it’s possible, wish me luck (ooh, and this time, I might be a bit more careful with that thing called contraception for a while!)

So, is there an ‘ideal’ age?  The obvious answer is no.  But it’s not that easy.  The ideal age for me, was when I was going to enjoy it the most, but I was lucky to get a second chance.  Now that I know what having kids is like, I would probably still go for 26 if it was my only chance, and hope that given time I would be able to fix the problems caused by my stress junkie status.  Maybe that is one of the reasons why I’m so driven to help other Mums who are stuck in that place of discomfort at whatever age; I suspect it has a lot to do with it.

Here’s the link to the blog that got all this going in my head: A Modern Mother ‘Becoming a Mum in Your 40s’)

Arrival Of Baby No2 – A Very Different Experience

Willow Phoebe Rose Pearson arrived on Saturday 13th February at 13.25, at a chubby 9lbs 3oz, at home in our lounge after a very relaxed 7hr labour, lots of chatting and a short dip in the birthing pool.  Hubby and 4yr old son were downstairs during the process, watching films or playing computer games, and popping up to see how I was doing every now and again with more tea for us.  So it all worked out to be a very calm and un-stressful experience.

Now, if you fancy more detailed info, here you go, but feel free to stop here; I know that some friends will be wanting the full monte, and others will be interested in the home birth side, but some of you won’t want to know ;o)

So Much More Relaxed

It was so different this time around, with her picking a daytime arrival (6.30am-1.25pm) versus Max’s evening one (6.30-10pm).  Max was really full on, with me going straight into ‘transition’ 24hrs after my waters broke, no pre-warning contractions, just straight into 1 min contractions every minute.  The rather scary (and noisy, because I’m not good with physical pain!) roller coaster 4hrs included a mad dash for hospital, finishing off in a birthing unit.

Instead, this was a relaxed affair, with the Doula (Nicola Wilson – like an old fashioned midwife who gives additional support during the birth and post-natally) arriving an hour in, and the community midwife (Sarah Loveday – very lovely and relaxed) an hour or two after that.  There was lots of chatting, which I found helped with the pain as it relaxes the jaw (which relaxes the pelvis), along with remembering to eat, drink water and breathe (which I forgot to do first time).  I can see now why those women on YouTube were singing during labour, which might not be my cup of tea, but I definitely recommend humming to music or chatting!

I mainly stood up and leaned on a leather chair, for 6.5hrs, by the french windows (curtains shut obviously!).  It was a beautiful day, and when I got a bit hot and flustered I could open the doors.  It wasn’t where I planned to be, as I thought I would use the big fit balls or a bean bag, but they were useful for the midwife and doula instead!

I also thought I’d go straight in the pool, but things were going so well, that we decided to keep it for when I really needed it, which was only the final 30 mins.  The pool was a blow up ECO small one, which was perfect.  I wouldn’t want bigger, it kept it’s heat all the way through from the beginning, was quick to fill, and very comfortable to be in (both leaning on the sides and kneeling).  Things really ramped up when I got in, which although painful, was NOTHING like the traumatic pain I remembered from before and totally bearable for that short time, especially as I had help from the Doula and Midwife.

Pain Levels

I suspect this is the difference in pain levels is down to some prior preparation about fear of pain, plus being in a much more relaxed environment, with no mad dash for Watford.  I didn’t do ‘hypnobirthing’, but did use some relaxation techniques in the 6 weeks prior (I’ll do another post with information about that), which meant I was well rested. I also did some practical looking at the value of the pain with some of my associates beforehand, which meant that I wasn’t worried about making noise or it hurting again.  Plus with a more gentle build up there was less shock, and I wasn’t lieing on a hospital bed or ‘sitting on her head’ as the midwife called it.  I couldn’t have done anything other than lie down first time round, but now I know a little more about these things, I could have been lieing on my side, rather than on my back.

First time round it felt like someone had a couple of hot pokers and were mixing my stomach with them (sorry for the gruesome details!), whereas this time the contractions were in my back (like period pains are).  It was fascinating as they moved down my back as she moved, which is quite an encouraging feeling.  Plus, we tried an old fashioned tip, which was to check my legs to see how dilated I was.  Apparently, your legs starting getting cold at the ankle, and the higher up towards your knees it goes, the more dilated you are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like that model recently who didn’t feel a thing.  That last 20 mins was very intense, but this time I managed to not scream (waste of energy) and keep the noises lower in the back of my throat (which is where you want them).  I didn’t even get heard by the neighbours, unlike last time when I couldn’t speak for a week and could have been heard miles away ;o)

I owe huge gratitude to the fact that I live in St Albans, where home births are pretty much matter of fact, and the midwives get plenty of leeway to make it the best possible experience for mums, that it can possibly be.  Plus in hertfordshire we have loads of Doula’s including really experienced ones like Nicola, which is definitely the answer to the problem of no local family, siblings that need taking care of, potential help after the birth, and additional support during the birth hence taking some pressure off hubby.

Her Arrival

I was leaning forwards at the end, so the funniest thing was as they popped her on my back, and I suddenly realised how come she had taken longer, because blimey she was heavy.  Max had been a little 6lb 10oz baby, and she is nearly 3lb’s heavier at 9lb’s 3oz!  She was also very cute looking as she was delivered in her waters bag, so her head was all cushioned throughout, with no funny squashed look.

As expected she has dark hair, dark eyes (slate grey at the moment, but likely to go brown), and dark skin.  In fact her skin is really dark at the moment, which is because of giving birth at home and having no rush to remove the cord, so she got a lot extra blood etc, than a baby whose cord is cut quickly in hospital.  Whereas Max was obviously red haired, pale skinned and blue eyed, right from the start.  He was whipped off quickly to be measured etc, given a quick feed, and then passed to Daddy while I had a couple of hours of stitching (don’t worry, gas and air is fabulous, it didn’t hurt a bit!).  This time, despite her being a ton bigger, there are no stitches, which is really good news.

The only similarity between the two was the lack of drugs.  Not my plan!  But first time round there wasn’t enough time for them to have taken effect, and this time, I didn’t really need anything until then end, and there wasn’t much point by then.  I was given some homeopathic remedies by the Doula in the pushing stage, which I did think helped me through the last bit.

It was weird to be so much more conscious and able to follow instructions at the end.  I’d seen women give birth on YouTube, and they had seemed so much more involved and able to understand the midwives, but I just couldn’t understand how that could be, as first time around, I was so incapable of understanding anything.  This time I could understand instructions, and move when told to (with a little bit of complaining!).

The Rest Of The Family

Max and David had fun playing computer games and watching films.  David did a fab job of keeping everyone fed and watered, meanwhile Max would pop up to check on us, announce something funny and then disappear back downstairs.  I did suggest that they go out near the end, but unbeknown to me the Doula counteracted that, which I am really grateful for.  I was worried I might make noise and scare Max, but in fact they hardly heard anything, and it meant that they arrived in the lounge, almost immediately after her entrance into the world.  Willow and I cuddled for a quite some time in the pool, with Max leaning over.  He was really chuffed, not bothered by the pool being a slightly bloody colour at all.  In fact it was only later on that he got slightly upset, but we discovered it was just because he insists that she should wear pink or cute stuff, and he didn’t like the outfit that we had picked!

The dogs got treated to a lovely long walk by our dog walker, so they were pretty exhausted that night.  However, the Labradoodle noticed her immediately, and is already watching over her with great concern if she issues the smallest of squeaks.  The Spaniel took 2 days to notice her, and is just a little annoyed that she tends to take up space on the sofa, but thinks that she smells nice.

Afterwards

Once the cord had stopped pulsing, we decided to get out, and were put in a lovely cocoon of towels, while I fed her.  An hour later, I popped off to the bathroom and the placenta arrived very quickly, so there was no need for an injection.  Then I had a lovely shower, and got all cleaned up.  Meanwhile the Doula and two midwives (the second midwife didn’t arrive until just after she was born, because once she decided it was time to push, she only took 20mins, so there wasn’t a lot of notice) had tidied everything, fed me, and the pool had already been emptied and disassembled by David and Max.

It’s a lovely feeling to be at home, in the peace and quiet and not have to go anywhere.  Despite it being pretty easy, I did feel a little shaky afterwards for a couple of days, so it’s lovely to be all snuggled on your own sofa, with your baby and family.

The Next Week

Willow ‘mewed’ her way through her first 24hrs, with lots of little squeaky noises whether she was asleep or awake.  She has a set of lungs on her, but her wail is gentle in comparison to Max’s, which would go from 0 to 100 decibels in a matter of 5 seconds.  She wasn’t impressed by bodily functions like puking (delicately of course!), or pooing, but has found that if she sucks my finger it is a much more lady like way of winding herself than burping.

Max is a little sensitive, but has been wonderful with her.  Having no younger siblings myself, I’m amazed at how genuinely he loved her immediately, and how gentle he is when he holds or touches her.  Although it is half-term, he has been attending drama camp this week (same days as nursery), which has given him some normalcy, plus he got invited out for a ‘play-date’ on his own, which he adored (thanks Clare!).  We are co-sleeping just as he planned, and at the moment he would prefer Willow and I to stay in the room, even if she is being a little fractious; we’ll see how that goes.

David has had a tough time, as the day after Willow was born, it was announced that his company were shutting down the division that he had moved to 14 days previously.  Despite him supposedly being on paternity leave, he has repeatedly had to work late into the night, and attend teleconferences during the day in order to help out the different factions.  It would definitely be kind of fun to get a chance to be locked in a room with his main boss at the moment, what with the hormonal soup that week1 after a baby is born can be.  But don’t worry about us, David was made redundant 6 weeks after Max was born, so if the worst possible scenario happens, it just means that he gets the same opportunity to spend time with Willow.  Meanwhile, the Mums at Max’s nursery have all kindly offered to help with the nursery runs next week, so I don’t have to handle the a total return to normalcy when David goes ‘back’ to work, or in his case, actually has to go into London to work.

David’s parents turned up excitedly the night that Willow was born, and the next day were joined briefly by his sister and her 2 teenage kids.  But since monday afternoon we have had a quieter time of it, and are gradually getting our heads around how a family works with an additional pink bundle (she is definitely a rather cute bundle, whereas Max was nick named ‘alien bug’ for the first few weeks of his life!).  Hopefully, one of my brothers will be able to make it to meet her next week.

With Max I remember the first two weeks being totally cocooned with him for the most blissful weeks of my life.  That’s not a possibility with paternity leaves being cancelled, and reappearing, and then cancelled again, along with the reality of already having a 4yr old.  But generally, just as with her birth, it’s a slower, more relaxed if less intense experience (so far, that is!).

Note: Every couple of months I’ll post another blog on our progress and the differences/similarities second time around (mainly as a diary for me, but it might be interesting for people thinking of having a second), so if you fancy keeping up to date with our journey you might want to subscribe.

The Power of Perception to Cloud Your Views

You walk into a room with a pile of people, and what do you see?  An opportunity to meet and get to know people, or almost instantly a judgement description on each person in the room and a worry about what they will think about you?

There’s no getting away from it, we will all judge everyone we meet immediately we meet them.  However, where we go from there is up to us.  Your perception creates your reality, which doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with actuality.  What I mean is, what you think is going on, will affect how you behave and come across, so it will affect what happens, more than anything else.

We judge things according to our values (values are what we believe are important in our lives), and we all have a totally different set of values.  When we meet people who appear to match some of our values, we open up to them and feel all warm about them.  When we meet people who don’t match our values, then we tend to judge them as wrong and not be willing to get to know them or listen to what they may have to say.

The problem is that we let these perceptions rule our lives and affect our future.

Two people walk into a bank, which gets robbed and they both get shot in the arm.  One says ‘blimey that was lucky, we could have been shot somewhere much worse’.  The other one says ‘How unlucky are we, these things ALWAYS happen to me’.  Which are you?

Two people walk into a new group of women; a very intimidating experience!  One becomes painfully aware of what she doesn’t have and immediately assumes they wouldn’t be interested in her.  Eventually, her belief becomes reality.  Not because she wasn’t the same, but because she will have behaved in a way that is uncomfortable and unattractive to be around, especially if it is a habit of hers and she has that ‘chip on the shoulder’ kind of attitude.  The other woman takes some time to assess the situation and watches carefully.  Eventually, she will see that things are not always as they seem, and as she gains confidence, she will be able to connect to the group.

For example, is there a Mum in your school ground who appears to blank you and is a bit scary?  It’s quite possible, that she is actually very stressed, with a ‘difficult’ child that she can’t handle, and is therefore putting on a front in order to protect herself.  What about the gorgeous Mum, who is so well dressed and gorgeous that you think she wouldn’t be interested in you?  Well, actually, if she is totally confident in the way that she is, then she won’t worry about what you look like.  It’s only the Mums that are underneath worried that they don’t have the right clothes/shoes/sunglasses, that will judge you for also not having the right ones.

Let me give you a personal example.  I recently went back to the states to retake the advanced certification course in the Demartini Method (my background) as part of continuing professional development.  On the first day, I’m hormonal (pregnant) and jetlagged, and one of the first to be called upon to do a presentation to the group (no warning!).  I’d seen the woman before get pulled to pieces, and I was immediately nervous, plus I was a bit flummoxed by having to do something differently from the way I traditionally do it, and finally, I knew that my plans for my business might not be in my mentor’s (Dr John Demartini) ideal plans for me!  So I totally fluffed it, and ended up stamping my feet, crying and having a big argument with John.  Afterwards, I sat down and did some used my training to change my perception of him, me and the value that I had to give.  The next day I had my Senior certification interview with John, and passed with flying colours.  I had total clarity on what I was doing, why I was doing it, and why I was of value to his organisation.  Same person.  Just a different perception in my head.

Here’s another example that you will all have seen.  A woman starts to worry that her partner will leave her, because she isn’t good enough for him.  Despite his trying to show her that she is fab, she keeps on.  Eventually, she becomes such a pain in the neck, that he does leave.  It was nothing to do with the fact that she ‘wasn’t good enough’, but more because she became such a pain.  It was her lack of belief in herself that caused the problem, because that is what people pick up on.

When my son joined a new nursery a couple of months back, I was taken aback by the number of rather gorgeous Mums, with rather posh cars, and did feel a little nervous.  But, I realised that they didn’t know me at all, so they wouldn’t really know any particular reason why I wasn’t interesting to meet – I just had to pretend that I was interesting, that’s all ;o)  As time progressed, I realised that it wasn’t one big group of women, but there are about 4 groups.  Some Mums you never see, because they drop the children off early, so to meet them, I popped notes in their children’s bags to arrange play dates.  Some Mums were always late, and much less of the ‘yummy’ type, so to meet them I would pick a day where I didn’t have clients and make sure I hung around a little.  The other group of Mums were totally confident in how they looked, so they don’t mind about me not having the right sun glasses at all.  If I smiled at them and was friendly, they were totally friendly back.  Then the final group of Mums actually appeared less confident in themselves, so I looked for something that we would have in common and then started up a conversation when an opportunity arose.  I’m perfectly aware of the fact that in life only about 50% of people will like you, so I’m not attempting to be liked by everyone.  But heh, that leaves 50% to like me, not bad odds heh!

I know other Mums who have been faced with the same sort of situation, but because they believed that they didn’t have enough money and didn’t fit in, that’s basically what happened.  There might be a small number of mums who wouldn’t be interested for that reason.  But to generalise about a whole town or city, is just daft, it’s not possible for all of them to be only interested in rich friends.

I know several Mums who are from other countries e.g. America or Russia.  Some of them were always worried that they wouldn’t fit in, because they were not english.  They assumed that everyone already had friends, and no one would be interested in them.  The others realised that actually there are plenty of Mums who are a little isolated, and coming from a different country can actually make you interesting to be around.  The first set of Mums are lonely.  The second set of Mums have loads of friends.

What are you worrying about?  Is it affecting how you come across in that situation – work/home/socially?

Have a think about yourself.  Rather than thinking about what you don’t have, concentrate on what you do have?  For work, think about all your past jobs, projects, skills, qualifications, characteristics, and strengths.  Write a really detailed list, until you understand what you are good at and can value yourself more.  For home, think about everything that you do at home, and why you are fabulous to have around?  Socially, think about why people like being around you, is it because you are a good listener, or are you the life and soul of the party, what is it about you that people love?  I’m not suggesting you get big headed about yourself, because that can go the other way!  I’m just suggesting you learn to appreciate why you are wonderful and fantastic.

(Just adding a quick line to help me submit my blog to technorati JYY278WUKM2J)

Breast Feeding or Formula Feeding, What ‘should’ I do?

The whole breast feeding debate is often a Mums first introduction to the world of worrisome decisions that are about to land on their plates, and this one is particularly political and harshly debated.

Political Stances

One of the problems with any debate where people take a ‘stance’ is that the stronger they take their stance, the stronger the opposition takes the opposite stance.  To be honest, I do wonder how much the Formula companies created the NCT (National Childbirth Trust), and whether the NCT’s then strong stance has created the continued focus on formula feeding in new mums.  If possible, attempt to ignore any of the politics and focus on your family!

How Did I Tackle It?

To be honest, I had no idea whether I would manage it.  I decided to go for a goal set approach, of aiming for 6 weeks (people often say, if you can possibly do this then at least it is a ‘good start’ for baby – it gets a lot easier and less painful after this), then 6 months (WHO minimum recommended time), then 1 year, then 2 years (WHO recommended), expecting to finish before 4 years (The world wide average duration of breast feeding).  I was unlucky in that I had to stay in hospital for a few extra days after Max was born as the doctors were worried I might have the same blood problems as my Mum.  But this meant that I was lucky to encounter 2 breast feeding teachers, who were really helpful.  Plus, I didn’t have a caesarian or long traumatic birth, which appears to make it much more difficult for Mums to be able to breast feed.  The other advantage I had was that I’m good at using the internet, so could find info on the fact that you have to eat and drink well in order to produce milk.  (Beware parenting techniques that suggest anything other than feeding on demand, as that can affect your supply).

So How to Go About Making the Decision?

1) Will it work for you?

Breast feeding is incredibly easy once you are past the first few weeks.  I rather think that although it is sold as being best for baby, and very ‘earth mother’, it is actually brilliant for rather lazy Mums like me.  It worked for me, because I never had to worry about Max when he was sick, as it is much easier to BF them than give them formula when their tummies are upset.  You don’t have to worry about their weight, or constipation (horrid to see in a new baby, bless them).  There’s no getting up to make bottles at night, which would wake me up, and I’m not good at falling back to sleep.  I didn’t need to prepare anything to go out, and just needed to buy some pretty scarves.  Plus the nappies didn’t pong as bad as formula nappies.  It also meant lots of bonding and sitting on a sofa, and yummy hormones being released, which I probably needed after a rather stressful and sad pregnancy (we moved house, my Mum died, and my husband was made redundant when Max was 6 weeks).  So in all honesty, it was all about me, having the most relaxed time, and reducing the worries!

Would any of those things work for you?  Write down everything that you think will and won’t work for you, and then double check some of your assumptions in step 3.

2) Will it work for family?

Undoubtedly the scientific research is that ideally it’s best for your baby, but you are not going to ruin your baby for life by formula feeding them, even if they do get digestive or weight problems, it’s still not a ‘ruined’ life.  If you would love to feed or love not to feed, then the key here is to explain it to your partner in a way that makes sense to them, not in the way that makes sense to you!  So if your partner is worried about sharing your breasts, then pop to step 3, and find the things that will help him understand.  Perhaps there is a compromise?  Does your partner want you to feed and you don’t?  In that case, you need to explain it to them in a way that they will hear and understand.  A stressed mummy will cause greater problems for baby, than what they are fed on, so you are extremely important in the equation.

3) What Are You Worrying About?

There are some standard worries (read step 4 for some answers to the more scientific or physical ones) e.g.

– People will hate me feeding in public – actually I never encountered a problem, or if I did, I didn’t notice it.  I was mainly in coffee shops with lots of Mums and family restaurants.  If you are worried about this, think about this – do those people really matter?  Does it really matter if they stare at you?  I promise you, that whatever you do in life, only 50% of the world will agree with you or like it.  The worst thing that can happen is that they ask you to leave, which you could refuse to do!

– My partner will feel left out – if you can explain to him that it’s only a short time and will make their lives easier (if that is of value to them), then it may set their worries at rest.  Explain that your boobs will be back for them at some point!

– It’s yukky, because boobs are for sex – actually no, that’s a misunderstanding, as breasts were clearly made for making milk, as they are in animals.  What are you worried about?  That you might get turned on (extremely unlikely!!!)?  That your child will always remember your breasts (I’ve not heard of mentally scared children with this problem, and on average children are fed to 4yrs old around the world, so they must remember).  What is it?  Face your fear, and find out what it actually is based upon.

– I’m a bad mother if I don’t breast-feed – rubbish!  We are all ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mothers.  None of us do everything that we possibly could, and if we did, we would be so self-righteous and martyred, that no Child would want us!  Be a contented Mum, that is what is most important to baby and make a plan for tackling the downsides.  For example, keep a close eye on constipation, and get advice about it.  Make sure that baby gets held for long times, maybe use a sling.  Make eye contact with baby, and just cuddle them for hours on the sofa.

4) Have you read up about it?

I found this brilliant news article today, which summarises a great deal of the scientific research into breast feeding: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1201285/Sorry-breast-IS-best-As-leading-scientist-questions-benefits-mother-sorts-myths-facts.html

Check all your assumptions, because they may actually be incorrect.

5) Making the decision

Right, now you have all the information.  What I would like you to do is list all the Pro’s and Con’s (good & bad things) on a piece of paper.  It’s Ok if you keep coming back and it takes you a couple of days.  The key to this exercise is to keep going until you have AS MANY Pro’s as Con’s!  AS MANY.  It is only then that you can be sure that you are seeing it clearly.  You may wonder then, how to make the decision.  The point is that at this stage, you will see that one option works for you and the family better, and kind of ‘sparkles’.  You are aware of the opposite side to the story and can prepare for it, but your heart, feels that you would prefer this option.  It’s not logic of the head, or emotion/fear of the gut, but a heart centered feeling of sureness.  If you don’t feel sure, then keep going with the list, there is something that you haven’t included.

Conclusion

You are looking to be sure that you are informed, have cleared out the worry’s about it, and that the solution has been explained to your family in a way that works for them, and that the decision works for you and baby.

The above process is based upon the ‘Fun creation equation’, so you might like to check out my other blogs on that.  Obviously though, I’ve only brushed the surface of what can worry some Mums, or the problems of communicating with a partner.  So feel free to either pop a comment here for further clarification or post a question in the discussions on my facebook fan page.

You might want to check out my blog on why Breast Feeding isn’t always possible, to help reduce your guilt <click here>

Feeling Disempowered?

Do You Sometimes Feel Disempowered?

It’s easy as a Mum to feel disempowered. Maybe you’re not quite as fit as you once were, or don’t go out socially as much, or don’t get as much ‘quality’ time with your other half. Perhaps you are worried that you are not bringing in as much money because you are a SAHM or working part-time, or you feel that your work has been affected. Are you unsure about what makes up ‘You’ and feel that your brain has become sluggish?

It’s important to remember that how we feel is just a reaction to a thought that went through our head, which then led our body to release chemicals to create a corresponding emotional feeling. Put simply, how you see yourself, will affect how you feel about yourself.

Step 1 – Kick the Habit!

If you would like to kick the habit, then firstly you need to stop feeling guilty for not feeling fab and work out what you are getting from it. Did you know that we get something out of feeling rubbish?! We do! Sometimes, it’s just nice to whinge. Sometimes it helps us fit in with other people who are also whinging. It gets us attention and care from people. It can just feel good to wallow a bit! Do you need some time out from being capable, which being a bit ‘down’ can give you? Are you always ‘nice’ to people and feeling drained or full of resentment or unappreciated? Sit down with a nice cuppa or glass of wine and have a think about what you are getting from it. Don’t waste time thinking that you aren’t, because I promise you that you wouldn’t be doing it, if you were’nt getting something!

Step 2 – Find Where you are Fab!

Now, have a look at yourself and find out where you are brilliant, skilled, and very good at what you do. Is it making sure the children are clothed & fed? (You get added brownie points for organic, home cooked!). Can you make a fabulous glittering picture? Are you patient when playing hide & seek? Do you do the cleaning, ironing, cooking, gardening and keeping the house together? Are you a great friend? Do you manage to live within a budget? What do other people say about you?

Check out my other blog ‘Pregnant & Feeling Disempowered’, written for pregnant women, but it will work for you too, to get ideas about different areas of life where you are wonderful:

Pregnant and Feeling Disempowered?

Mums often feel disempowered, especially when pregnant.  I’m amazed how quickly it has hit me again, being only a couple of month’s pregnant.

The key to empowerment/disempowerment, is to understand that it is all in the mind!  But how ever imaginary, it can have a drastic effect on your life.  I’m going to concentrate on being pregnant in particular for this post, however the same holds true for any situation, and I’ll write again about it in more depth.

I was shocked first time round by how disempowered I suddenly felt when I became pregnant.  Of course one of the problems can be that our hormones go a bit haywire, so any ‘normal’ worries are also accentuated.  Let’s look at the 7 areas of life and why it happens …

Spiritual – this is all about knowing where you are going and what your greater purpose is in life.  Now if you are worried at all about your options being limited, then you are bound to worry about this.

Mental – well, the brain just goes to jelly doesn’t it!  I’ve just got back from attempting to pick up pills at my homeopath, to find they were shut – I thought I heard open from 10am-1pm, infact they aren’t open until 1pm!

Financial – it is true that it is very likely that our financial health will be affected by becoming pregnant.  It is bound to affect our earning capability, at a minimum for 2 months, but for most of us it could be years.  Plus there is the expense of having a baby/toddler/child/teenager!

Vocational – the ideal appears to be able to work part-time.  But there are many Mums who find their type of job incompatible with becoming a Mum, so have to take a career break, or alternatively are not able to take time off, so they have to work full-time.  It’s true that many workplaces view Mums as unreliable, because we have to look after our kids when they are sick, and we can’t do the long hours we might have done before.

Social – this was the biggest shocker to me when I first became pregnant!  I found myself treated almost as if I didn’t exist, and often totally ignored.  In particular, there was the male nurse telling me that I wasn’t experiencing contractions, but braxton hicks – I was 3 cms dilated!!!

Physical – it’s the whale comparison that is the problem!  First we just feel fat, then there is the pregnant like on the TV shows stage, and then there is the ‘my god I didn’t know it was possible to get so huge’ stage!  There’s the additional exhaustion and so called morning sickness, and the fact that there is a baby in our tummies sucking everything good out of our food for themselves!  So it’s not difficult to see why we take it badly!

Family/Relationships – Our relationship may suffer a bit if we are worried about Sex.  But apart from that, here is the one good piece of news, as family becomes much more important, so we do tend to gain in our perceived power here.  Although, it is obviously more difficult for single Mums etc.

Put all that together, and we can feel quite rubbish about being pregnant!  If you let it get you down too much, then other people will pick up on it as well.  They feel it subconsciously, but it then affects the way that they treat us.  For example, if your boss doesn’t feel that you value yourself, they may then think that they shouldn’t either.  Plus if you feel unimportant, then people are more likely to ignore you.  In the worst cases, this is one of the reasons for father’s having affairs whilst their wife is pregnant, because their power structure has changed so dramatically.  I’m not blaming either the wife or husband for this, it kind of creeps up on the father without them expecting it, or understanding how come they are less attracted to their wives.  Meanwhile the fact that it is so taboo to be unfaithful to a pregnant woman, makes them ignore the potential for it, and get caught unawares.  So, don’t let yourself feel disempowered, because you don’t need to!

Here’s a beginning view of why you are a powerful, fantastic woman!

Spiritual – the great thing about kids, is that they give you certainty of what you will be doing.  Maybe it’s unclear as to how soon you will be back on track for something else.  But you can be sure that each morning, you will know what you have to do – mainly attempt to get dressed, feed the baby, sort out the rest of the family if there is more, change nappies, feed the baby, and then go back to bed.  You will have an incredibly clear purpose for a period of time.

Mental – whilst forgetting the simple things that we always remembered before, like petrol, keys, coats etc, our bodies are building a new brain.  That brain is learning to beat a heart, move fingers & toes and do all sorts of things.  Plus our brains are focussed on new things – scans, weeks, folic acid.

Financial – instead of thinking of money as an exact amount, think of it as the amount of value in your life.  If you can sit down and look sensibly at your budget & needs, then you can actually increase the amount of value in your life.  You wont need the same amount of money, because things change.  (Check out my free podcast on money and values on my website http://www.MummyWhisperer.com).  You can feel rich without money, or without the same amount of money.  Also, remember, even if you decide to be a stay at home mum, you are actually saving money.  I saw an article recently that put the price of a SAHM at £35k, and to be honest I think that is low!  Try listing what you are worth!

Vocational – think of the project management & multi-tasking skills that you have gained as a Mum!  Plus a company could view Mums as their most loyal and steady employees, because they do tend to be more grateful for the opportunity to work, especially part-time.  For many mums, it actually creates a new career, which is a scary, but exciting option.  Realistically, all sorts of things can go wrong in a Man’s career as well, so they may have to take a step back at some point.  Perhaps, it isn’t the drawback that we think it is.

Social – ok, so this might seem a bit cheeky, but you need to learn the power of the ‘pregnant card’.  This requires not holding back & going for full on pregnant tantrums – they won’t ignore a CRYING pregnant woman!  It got members of my family into action following the death of my Mum, and got me seen by a midwife when I knew I was in labour ;o)  It’ll get you a seat, which you need on a train/bus – it’s not a weakness, it’s a sensible thing to do, to take care of yourself & the family.  Remember, you are creating the new society, we have the power in the end!

Physical – there are women who love being pregnant, so it is totally possible!  The pregnant form was the earliest goddess symbol, and is inherent as a picture of growth and potential.  If you encounter people who find it unattractive, remember, it is not because of you, but something to do with their upbringing, because it is not ‘normal’ to dislike it (i.e. they have some ‘issues’!).  Check out the books that show you what you are growing each week.  Enjoying aqua-natal classes, or yoga for mums and learn about this new body (with great boobs!), that you have got.  It will connect you to something primeval that you didn’t have before, and not everyone is able to do it, so that makes you special.  Plus, your baby will think that you are beautiful.  Max is 3.5yrs old and tells me every morning that I’m beautiful, despite the muffin top & cellulite ;o)

Family/Relationships – they do take time to adjust and grow, but be patient and your family will blossom over the coming year.  This is a time for you to create your own family, and you are the heart of it.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a partner, or grand-parents.  People will arrive to fill those boots, and you will still create the family that works for you.

So now you have got some ideas, think about each area of life and look at what you have got, gained, and the value that you bring because you are pregnant.  Keep listing things until you realise that you are truly powerful in all areas.  Because you are. Rose Kennedy’s mission was to create a family of world leaders, and she did that with the kennedy boys.  You are about to create the future.  I may have learnt loads about personal development, but Max was my greatest teacher in my life, and if you go into it feeling empowered, rather than worrisome, you will be able to make the most of the opportunities your child is offering you.

Be you, the beautiful you xxxx