Blog October 2012



Hypnosis, Holidays, Hallowe’en – Deities or Devils - A Trick or Treat?

We are just a day away from one of the most commercially profitable festivals
​of the year. All Hallows’ Eve, Or Hallowe’en as it has become known is a time when many
​of us choose to play along with the light-hearted side of ghost stories. Some of us may ​go
​to parties, dress up and take part in door knocking for goodies, or watch a few scary movies.

Whilst the pagan tradition of appeasing the​​ dead is being oversold by costume makers and party suppliers, the Christian church also acknowledge the date significantly as being the eve of All Saints’ Day, the day when all the saints are remembered and we give thanks.

Having been baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church, I was never taught that hypnosis was anything to be wary of. As an adult, having attended a Pentecostal church I have come​​ up against quite a lot of criticism and condescending behaviour from people who hold themselves up as model Christians. Whilst being a Christian doesn’t make you a nice person, being a follower of Christ is supposed to influence and guide your moral compass. Never mind. 

I don’t see much difference between playing along with the make believe of Hallowe’en, or playing along with the pretence that the man in the white bearded costume asking little kids to sit on his knee, is really Santa.​​

About a year and a half ago, a very devout Catholic couple asked me to be their doula. They wanted to pray during their birth, but they were also using Hypnobirthing techniques. Science and religion really can complement each other; she was a doctor at the hospital where the baby was born. So as Catholics, the most conservative Christian denomination of them all, have no problem with hypnosis when it’s done for the benefit of good, why do so many of my friends believe it to be the work of Satan? All I can say is that any of our God-given gifts could be misused, but I don’t go about misusing my God-given fists and punching people. Neither do I misuse hypnosis. A good read on this can be found here.

​​​​Generally, people come to learn Hypnobirthing because they want to learn deep-relaxation skills for birth. They want to have a clear head themselves (both mother and father) and a calm birth for the baby. You and I pass through a state of hypnosis every time we fall asleep, so lets dismiss any misgivings of it being mind-control or voodoo. Every time you hear a song and it brings back a memory, that’s hypnosis. If I ask you to imagine the smell of a lemon, and you instantly know what it smells like, that’s hypnosis. Remember what it feels like when the warm rays of the sun touch your face? You guessed it, that’s hypnosis. When you were born, you were unaware of anything in the world. The way you view the world now has been shaped by every experience you have ever had since birth. When people come to learn Hypnobirthing, they’re coming to learn ways of experiencing the beauty of the world that they are yet oblivious to or have lost sight of so that they can find beauty in birth.

​​Lets applaud those who know of or are seeking the beauty of birth. I don’t mean that beauty only comes with a simple “pop, and the baby was born” idyllic birth​​. But the beauty of birth where the parents are truly satisfied with the journey. Where the parents are looking forward to, and have fond memories of that day, when they met their child; after all they’d waited a long time.

What is it about being scared that we latch on to? Why do so many of us spend our childhoods scared of ghost stories or monsters under the bed and then as adults choose to watch horror films or (as I did recently with my son) go to fright night at Thorpe Park?​​ I remember a very wise little girl once said to her mother, “Mummy, why when you are little and you are scared do you have to sleep alone. But when you are grown up and not scared any more, you get to sleep together?” (See my blog post below too).

​​Why when a woman is pregnant, do so many people go out of their way to frighten her about birth by retelling their worst birth stories? For the most part, it’s probably that these story-tellers have never had the chance to debrief and validate their experience. They probably need to tell a psychotherapist​, not a pregnant woman. Their negative and overtly unhelpful comments are simply spiteful.

If you’re pregnant, you are well within your rights to stop someone who is about to tell you a birth story and say “Thank you for wanting to share your story with me. Right now, I’m only interested in positive stories. Anything else can wait till after my forthcoming birth”. ​​​​There’s no harm in surrounding yourself with positive stories, images and thoughts. We all know the physical and mental health benefits of being an optimist in other aspects of life. You never know, if you’re optimistic whilst pregnant, you might just optimise your birth.

​​Christmas is coming and religious or not, most people will engage in the festivities to some degree. If people have asked you want you’d like for a present – tell them you’d like to go on a Mindful Mamma course to learn these deep relaxation techniques for your best birth. No tricks involved. What a treat!

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The Know-It-All Superwoman orI’m trying My Best Sobbing-woman?

Today a friend of mine posted a frustrated Facebook status about demoralising advice 
from ​health professionals about the frequency that a baby should be breastfed.

I often wonder why we have this idea that one-size fits all. Are there really any people who believe
that there is only one right way​​ to parent? Whilst it’s really great that as parents we have facilities 
to seek out advice as needed, do we need troubleshooting too?

Unsolicited advice is abundant, free and confusing. Unfortunately it is sometimes quite undermining to be told what to do, particularly if no one was asking. Most parents I speak with would prefer to have one or two trusted individuals who they will consult as needed. Often these are people who are like-minded, good listeners and non-dictatorial.

​​I’m pretty sure that if there was only one right way to parent, there would only be one lonely book on the shelf at Waterstones; There would only be one website to consult and there would only ever have been one programme about it on TV. So given the variation of advice and methods, it’s safe to assume that every baby can be treated as an individual. Surely.

Like my friend, I often come across parents who are told that they’re feeding their baby too frequently, or then again – not enough. They’re told that their baby sleeps too much or too little. Their baby is growing too fast, too slow, too wide, too long, too large a head circumference. You name it, a parent has been made to feel like a failure over it.

My seven year-old daughter recently told me that she would be making an effort to eat more so that she could grow tall enough to get on bigger theme park rides. I guess my daughter hasn’t considered that her height will be determined mostly by her genes and that what she eats has almost no influence over that. I won’t argue with her, if she would like to eat more, I’d be delighted! She’s a slight little thing and, like many parents, I’m always worrying if my children are getting enough to eat, in particular this child. Don’t get me wrong, she eats well balanced nutritious meals and isn’t starving. But she is lighter and thinner than her younger sister. In fact, if you were to pick her up she would probably feel as light as a feather whereas her siblings are about average in height and weight. Oh, and she’s always complaining that she’s tired. 

​​I’m sure that some of you now reading this might start thinking if she should be getting some serious medical attention especially if there is something wrong with her system. Perhaps I am being a bad mother for not force-feeding her or getting her seen to already. Or maybe a little good advice for me from someone, would set my little girl back on the right path. 

​​So how does the picture look now if I tell you that outside of school she does Tae Kwon-Do, swimming and dancing lessons every week and then twice per week she goes for two-hour gymnastics sessions? She spends a lot of her spare time on the trampoline in the back garden jumping and doing flips, or doing cartwheels and handstands around the house. She enjoys cycling and riding her scooter. And when you pick her up she feels so light because she is solid muscle and she is able to hold her body quite stiff rather than feeling like a lead weight.

On the one hand, parents are being told that they are abusing their children for allowing them to become obese; on the other hand they’re told that their baby hasn’t gained enough weight and needs topping up.

A very wise little girl once said to her mother, “Mummy, why when you are little and you are scared do you have to sleep alone. But when you are grown up and not scared any more, you get to sleep together?” 

So many people find it an inconvenience to comfort their children. Particularly if comfort means breastfeeding.​​​​ As adults we associate friendship with food, don’t we? “Come over for a meal”, “Lets meet up for a meal or a drink”. When we get visitors, we always offer them something. So why not have a friendship with baby and offer them some food and drink when you are simply enjoying their company?

So as someone must have written an instruction manual for children, I wonder if they have written one for adults yet?​​​ I haven’t seen a schedule that fits all adults, but I imagine it would go like this:


Wake up, go to the toilet and pass a stool, get showered, brush teeth, get dressed.
​Make a note if the stool was small, different from usual consistency or absent.
​Breakfast. ​​Two slices of toast and butter (no jam), a drink of orange juice with bits in. 
​Make a note of any leftovers.
Go to work and don’t fall asleep on the way in the car. 
​Arrive and settle straight into your routine. No distractions like acknowledging the new person in the office.
E​nsure you sit at your desk for exactly 45 minutes ​then get up and walk around the office for precisely ​60 seconds. Repeat
Mid-morning snooze. Go to a dark and quiet place and sleep immediately. No restlessness permitted.
​11am ​
​Wake up from your deep sleep (because you were definitely asleep)
​Mid-morning snack. One piece of fruit, diced and a drink of water in a sippy-cup. Go to the toilet.
Make a note of any leftover snack and if the bladder was fully emptied.​
​Return to your desk and continue to work. Remember the 45 minute rule.​
Lunch. ​Eat two full courses. No resting in between. Drink more water from a sippy-cup.
If there were any leftovers from breakfast or snack-time, force yourself to eat the extra calories now.
You’ve probably had too much time in front of electronic media for one day. Time for a meeting. 
​Hopefully your boss has arranged your meeting for exactly this time every day.​​
End the meeting. It’s time for your afternoon nap. Dark room again, no fidgeting.
​Mid-afternoon snack. One ricecake and a drink of water in a sippy-cup. Go to the toilet.
Make a note of any leftover ricecake and if the bladder was fully emptied.​
Back to your desk. Time to do the filing and return your phone messages. 
​Walking back and forth to the filing cupboard is building your leg strength.
​Stop filing, get your coat, it’s home-time. Try not to fall asleep in the car on the way home.
​7pm ​ 
​Arrive home. Settle straight away. 
​Cook dinner.
​Sit alone and eat 3 full courses with water. If you interact with anyone you will get spoilt.
​Remember to burp so that you are comfortable when you go to bed later. 
​If you have difficulty with this, get someone to pat/rub your back until it is sore. ​
​No cup of tea or coffee or sneaky beer. You have had your full liquid intake already for today. Any more would only be for comfort.
​Bath time. Check the temperature of the water with your elbow and then wonder if that was an accurate assessment.
8.15pm ​​
​Get out of the bath and dried and dressed for bed. Brush teeth.
​Be quiet and try not to act excited when you see your partner as it’s time to settle down.
​Quiet​ time to read.
Lights out. Go straight to sleep. Do not pass go. Do not collect £200. 
​Ensure you sleep straight through to 6am, no waking, no crying.​​​

Tues Repeat as above
Weds​​​ Repeat as above
Thu Repeat as above
Fri Repeat as above
Sat Weekend. So what. Repeat as above.
Sun Weekend. Repeat as above.

Lets not forget that the clocks are about to change at the end of the month and we will be gaining an hour. How on earth should parents ​​​​​​time those feeds, sleeps and activities?…..I’ll leave that one for you to decide.
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Follow the Purple Line

I’ve been telling couples about the purple line for as long as I’ve been teaching antenatal classes. Here’s a great article all about it and it’s referenced to some published journals and research too.
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1-2-3 times a twin mum

A British woman has given birth to her 3rd set of twins. She also has 4 other children bringing her brood total to 10.

3 Sets of twins

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