I was so touched to be featured in Andisheh’s amazing list of 9 women pregnant women should get to know. Her list is just wonderful and highlighted for me how much I love living here in South West London. The amount of amazing services for new and expectant parents here is just fantastic. Andisheh – who is a local mum and family & baby photographer – is completely right when she says “there are is a small army of women who specialize in helping new mums”.
Her article got me thinking who would be on my list? Who has helped me since having Rachel here in SW London 18 months ago? Or who have I seen make a difference to my clients lives? Here is my list:
- Natalie Meddings – Natalie runs the most amazing antenatal yoga class on Thursday evenings in East Sheen/Barnes. Her classes were the highlight of my week while pregnant, not just for the yoga which helped ease all the pregnancy stiffness and soreness but mainly for the 30 minutes of tea, cake and chat that came after. I made some amazing friends at that class and benefited no ends from her no nonsense approach to birth preparation and understanding your choices. Her Tell Me a Good Birth Story website was also such an inspiration and source of strength for me. As well as teaching yoga, Natalie is also an amazing doula and author of “How to have a Baby” – which if you are going to read just one book on giving birth this should be it.
- Kingston Home Birth Midwife Team – Did you know that if you register for a home birth that all your appointments from 20 weeks onward are in your home? Did you also know that the Home Birth Midwifes are the nicest, most amazing midwifes anywhere? To be honest neither did I, until a few people told me. I went from absolutely certain I was going to have another hospital birth to having a brilliant home birth, completely and utterly supported by these amazing women. South West London is really one of the best places to be for home birth. You can even rent your own birthing pool very inexpensively from the Kingston Home birth Group.
- Liz Lambourn and Geraldine Chew – Breastfeeding can be really hard in those first days. You can go to classes while pregnant, read and prepare as much as you like and still feel completely sideswiped by trying to get to grips with feeding your baby. Liz and Geraldine are actual life savers – their huge wealth of experience and completely empathetic, no agenda advice is genuinely amazing and I’ve known them to make such a difference to so many new families. They run an absolutely amazing Breast Feeding Drop in at Twickenham Green on a Tuesday.
- Hilde Bysheim is the woman behind Earthlife Wellbeing and Fitness in Kew, which offers a huge range of services for new and expectant parents including pregnancy and baby yoga, pregnancy massage, chiropractor, reflexology and workshops on hypnobirthing, antenatal classes, baby weaning and baby first aid. In fact as they are adding new stuff all the time there is probably more I’ve missed! I met Hilde at 31 weeks pregnant when my husband booked me a hydrotherm massage which was a pregnancy massage conducted on warm water cushions – sounds odd but it was the most amazing massage I’ve ever had. I’d had bad sacral pain, and Hilde expert hands totally solved this. I went back several more times before Rachel was born and often find myself wishing I was pregnant so I’d have a reason to book one of these amazing massages with Hilde again!
- Caitlin and Christien at the White Hart Clinic in Barnes. Its a sad fact that women are not offered women’s physio checks after birth. A lot is made of not doing exercise until after the 6 week check but no one actually checks your pelvic floor or your core at that appointment and so many women (including myself) return to exercise with no idea that maybe they are setting up problems for the future. One of the best pieces of advice I received second time around was to book a postnatal check, its made an absolutely huge difference to me. I won’t bore you with personal details but even if you had a completely natural delivery (which I did)… it is WORTH GETTING CHECKED!! And the White Hart Clinic are absolutely world class.
- On the same theme, if you do find you need help with strengthening your core or pelvic floor I wholeheartedly recommend Baz Moffat who runs workshops and the Holistic Core Restore course which really helped me connect with this otherwise ignored part of my body and make simple changes in my life to ensure I fully healed from birth and set up good habits with exercise going forward.
- Cat Ridgway has been another key person in my postnatal recovery, Cat offers massage therapy and specializes in pregnancy and postnatal recovery. She is incredibly knowledgeable and really able to tailor to your individual needs. The most common thing I hear from parents when trying on slings is how their back is sore, or is weak or how they have hip issues post birth and I can’t recommend going and seeking help with these niggles enough… and Cat is an amazing place to start with this, she really is an expert at borrowing down and getting to the root of the issue and working to release those sore points. She also encourages you to bring your baby if you want to, which for me made such a difference because if I hadn’t been able to bring Rachel with me I wouldn’t manage to go at all.
- Last but not least on the list is Ania Hughes who offers Hypnobirthing and HypnoMothering. There are loads of great hypnobirthing instructors around here and I could go on for ages listing them all but I mention Ania because she is the only instructor I know who also offers HypnoMothering. I dabbled in hypnobirthing before Rachel’s birth and did find it useful during her birth to a point, but where I did find those skills REALLY useful is post birth during my everyday life as a mum. It really helps knowing those little tricks to invoking calm and mindfulness when the day is otherwise getting a bit hairy!!