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How exercise taught me to get through childbirth

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“You can do this, keep pushing on. You’ve been through childbirth.” This is the mantra I repeated in my head over and over again when I pushed my body to its physical limits climbing three of the highest mountains in the UK in 24 hours.

My mind and body were both at the point of total fatigue on the second mountain. I felt slightly delirious with exhaustion but through it all I reminded myself of the amazing things my body is capable of.

Before I had children, and when I had the benefit of an abundance of free time, I took part in a few half-marathons. I also climbed the highest mountains in Wales, Ireland and England. The breathing techniques I had always used during intensive exercise I took with me into the delivery room when I gave birth naturally to my two children.

After a long labour with my first child, staying focussed on my breathing and keeping in my mind that I was only moments away from meeting my baby was the best way for me to deal with the pain. Every hour that went by I would tell myself that it was almost over. I’d try to imagine that I was doing the last few miles of a long run and coming to the home stretch.

It is such an incredible moment when you can feel your baby’s head. To know that you’re so close to meeting your tiny human being who, from this moment, will be the most precious person in your life. Every push after the head finally crowned felt all the more worth it. I suddenly felt reenergised and ready to have my baby in my arms.

My first baby was born into water and was lifted from the birth pool in front of us to reveal that I’d given birth to a gorgeous baby boy. I felt beyond exhausted, but elated and so proud of this new life that my body had delivered into the world.

My second birth experience was quicker and for that reason I wasn’t as exhausted going into ‘active’ labour as I was the first time round – I’m sure the first baby pathes the way for the next. But again I felt like what helped most was really tuning in and focussing on my breathing until eventually my little girl shot out into the world. Interestingly, like in birth, my son is always the slowest to get ready to leave the house, whereas my two-year-old daughter is a little firecracker.

This year I finally felt ready to once again, take on some endurance type challenges. I lost my dad to suicide when I was pregnant with my son. He had competed in the Three Peaks Challenge and in the spring of this year a friend had said she was going to do the Three Peaks (the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours) on the 25 June. A shiver went down my spine, the 25 June is the anniversary of my dad’s death. I decided I had to take part and raise money for the mental health charity Heads Together.

The challenge is gruelling and extremely draining on your mind and body, but I truly believe that having been through the intensity of natural childbirth I can take on anything. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think. Just as the techniques I learnt through exercise got me through labour, childbirth has most certainly helped me to dig deeper and talk my body into pushing itself that little bit further when I feel like I’m running on empty. You have to mentally prepare yourself that you’re going to be physically uncomfortable for a while, but that you can do it!

On the 1 October I did my first half marathon since having my children and once again, the mantra of “You can do this, keep breathing, keep pushing on” came into my head as I battled with the final two miles of the race.

It’s important to me to continue to do more challenges to raise awareness of mental health issues and to also support the pregnancy charity my clothing company donates to, Kicks Count. Kicks Count aims to improve people’s understanding of baby movements during pregnancy and help save lives.

I recently launched my website Mama Life London, which aims to tackle subjects on mental wellbeing and offer guidance and support. If you or anyone you know suffers from depression or anxiety, there are some useful blogs on www.mamalifelondon.com that give advice and tips for coping, as well as links to organisations that can help.

I feel extremely proud of what I have achieved this year. Having been through childbirth, the loss of my dad, and these two challenges I feel like I can achieve what I set my mind to. My dad always taught me to have self-belief and stay positive. Whatever you want to do, give it your best shot! If you really believe you can, then you will.

By Beth Campagna

Mama Life London

www.mamalifelondon.com

@mamalifelondon on social media.

Sleepyhead Giveaway

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Get your hands on a Sleepyhead 🌟😴 🌟

Over here at The Bump to Baby Chapter we know how important it is to limit the robbery of the sleep thief. So we’ve got for you one shiny new Sleepyhead of Sweden to give one lucky, tired mama or papa.

If you have a sleep thief or are expecting an arrival of a sleep thief in the not too distant future then…

You can enter on all three of our social media sites… Just find the post with the same picture as above and follow the instructions. Remember to follow or like our page whilst your there.

🌟 Facebook Instagram Twitter  🌟

T&C – Closes on Saturday 30th September. There is one Sleepyhead to win and the competition is held across Facebook Instagram and Twitter. UK entries only.

The ‘new me’ can stick it.

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This time of year we go a bit ‘brand new’ crazy. Like ‘batshit’ crazy but a lot more harder on the purse strings. The hopes and prospects of what the new year brings, coupled with the Christmas extravaganza of new things that now fill our homes (and underwear drawers) new pants, new socks, new slippers, new toothbrush (Santa treated me well this year) seems to not be enough for us… We Brits like to have it all. We extend this obsession with new ness to ourselves.

 

The ‘new me’.

 

Oooh the new me will be 2 stone lighter, be organised, spend more time with the children. Throw in a new hobby and a new career and you’ve got yourself a checklist for everything that you feel shit about in your life. What a crappy way to pop open the bottle of 2017.

 

We go from the festive, Christmas season where everyone is so merry and over indulgent on food and presents, (it’s this jolly, mulled wine and prosecco filled season that makes September on the labour ward so busy!) to feelings of motivation ready to start the new year to… the end of January, which apparently is the most depressing day of the year. Nobody wants that kind of emotional turmoil in their life.

 

I blame New Years resolutions.

 

Us mothers and mothers-to- be already have enough self-doubt and guilt. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a ‘we got this’ salute and tell the resolutions to go stick it. This year I will not be promising myself change. I will appreciate what I already have from 2016. The Danish have been known to be one of the happiest nations. They have a way called ‘Hugge’ finding comforts and cosiness in moments of everyday life, shared with friends and family.

 

Going into 2017, highlight the moments of 2016 that gave you comfort. The things that are most important to us are hidden as they are simple and familiar. The smell of coffee brewing in the morning. The kiss goodbye from the children before they go into school. Lighting a candle at the end of the day. Here are a few of mine…

 

A comforting moment…

Mums together, warmth of hot chocolate, frosty tables, fresh air, watching new relationships grow at the buggy walks and hearing mums bond over feeling crazy and knowing we feel the same.

 

A comforting love my family moment…

I could have picked many but… bedtime. It’s wild, it’s messy, it’s noisy, we laugh, there are tears, tantrums, we share a story, a conversation about the day.

It may not be peace, and certainly not everyone’s comfort. But this is my familiar, my anchor, my belonging and my hugge.

 

 

It’s these cherished moments of love and friendship that I want to take with me into the New Year. When we find comforts in our everyday lives and the people that fill it, we stop looking for the ‘new’. How we spend each day, will of course be how we spend our year. So on this New Years Eve, may your everyday comforts be as full as your glass of Prosecco. For the pregnant mamas who won’t be toasting with fizz this year… You rock too. The mark of 2017 is a pregnancy milestone, this year your ‘brand new’ baby will be born. This is the only kind of ‘brand new’ that really matters.

Happy New Year from The Bump to Baby Chapter.

Beth and Kate

x

 

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Winner of 🌟The Best Pregnancy Support Service in Gloucestershire 2017🌟, The Bump to Baby Chapter has something for everyone. 🌟For expectant couple wanting to know all you need to know about labour, baby and those early days we have midwife led antenatal courses. 🌟For a second or third time mother wanting to birth without fear after a negative birth experience. There’s hypnobirthing one day classes for the busy Mum. 🌟Free blogs with tips on birth and baby for all 🌟Buggy walks in Cheltenham for new mothers to bring the sisterhood in motherhood. So whatever stage of pregnancy and whatever number baby have a look at the page, website and get involved 🌟
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The Bump to Baby Chapter4 hours ago
On the blog this Sunday morning we have Shani’s wonderfully calm birth story. Grab yourself a Yorkshire brew, in true Shani style, and have a read!! .....

“I felt immense relief, joy, love and exhaustion. Amabell weighed 6lb 12oz and I managed the birth with no pain killers or gas and air, all down to the focus Hypnobirthing had provided me with, the mind is one powerful tool!”

https://www.thebumptobabychapter.co.uk/shanis-birth-story/
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