This week I’m writing about my experience of working-from-home and being a mum! I’ve found pros and cons of doing both. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…
What led me to Hypnobirthing
This isn’t my first venture into the work of self-employment. It’s something I’ve always had a desire to do but finding the right thing for me was a journey. I tried MLM businesses but I never felt comfortable in my choices. I’m not knocking them, as I know many of them are really decent companies which, make a difference to the people who use their products and those who run successful businesses through them. I decided it wasn’t for me. Next came a business with my husband. We decided on an ethical tea company. We would sell loose leaf tea and we commissioned a vintage-styled trike to be made. Our mission was to go gas and electricity free to heat our water…this was no easy feat! We actually managed it though, using a biofuel burner. But we discovered just how bloody hard it was! Using bellows to stoke the fire – yes bellows, constantly refilling and heating the water, and trying to find a suitable location to trade from was almost impossible! We ended up in front of an Edinburgh Council panel as we tried to agree on a suitable pitch! We also ended up running a small café from a city hostel. This all happened in a relatively short space of time, I quit my full-time job and found out I was pregnant! I look back on that period of my life and think I was a bit nuts however it showed that we both had the drive and commitment to follow through with our ideas! Looking back on it I see how naïve we were but we learned so much, I’m a huge believer in living life with no regrets so I’m always grateful for the experience.
It is said that to run a successful business, you will probably fail a number of times until you find the right fit for you. So I’ve ticked that box! It was after Penny was born that I looked into Hypnobirthing. Initially I wanted to learn it for my own birthing experience but as I looked into it I realised I would enjoy teaching it and so I took the plunge and booked a course. My previous training of hypnotherapy had sparked an interest in hypnobirthing but life can have a funny way of taking you in a different direction and then bringing you back at the right time. I decided to use my past experiences and to make a real go of it. During my training there was a voice in my head saying YES, THIS IS IT. I knew straight away when I did my nursing training that it wasn’t the right fit for me, this time I was on the right path.
Self-employed versus employee
There are the obvious benefits of working for a company. You are guaranteed working hours, pay, workplace benefits and that provides security in family life. You also go to a workplace. I’m guaranteed none of these. For many people, that would be too big a risk. However, I faced redundancy when I was a nurse. I always remember that my dad once said “You’ll always be guaranteed work if you’re a nurse” It has always stuck with me that there are no certainties when it comes to work no matter the industry, so I decided to follow my passion so that I could make a positive difference to as many families as I could. And so my hypnobirthing journey began…
It can be difficult to explain to people what it’s like being a work-from-home mum. I don’t get to go out to a workplace every day, chat to colleagues or work face-to-face with clients. It’s something I miss. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have worked with some amazing people, had many a laugh and I have very fond memories of the places where I’ve worked . There are some days where I don’t get to have an adult conversation until Jim gets home and the kids are in bed. My verbal diarrhoea can be quite explosive! Don’t get me wrong, I love being with my kids but it’s a very long day entertaining, teaching, managing their behaviour and also trying to prevent the house from falling into a state of chaos. I mostly give up as I watch them pull out every toy in the room, and throw a tub of crayons or empty an entire bag of cotton wool balls all over the floor! My husband works shifts so I spend a lot of evenings doing the tea-bath-bed routine myself. It’s quite a chunk of the day! I’m pretty good at managing my time with them now and getting them to bed early. Routine is hugely important in our house and I usually have them in their beds sleeping by 7pm. Then it’s time for me to start my working day! Even when my eyes are blood-shot, I’m severely sleep-deprived and all I want to do is sleep, I keep on pushing on. Nothing will happen if I just stop. It’s hard to switch off when you’re doing it yourself.
I’m writing this with my blood-shot, stinging eyes, severely sleep-deprived, late at night as it’s the first chance I’ve had to work in a few days. Both children have been unwell, I spent last night in bed with one in each arm, in and out of a delirious state of sleep deprivation as each time one settled the other woke! Having two is much harder work when you can’t guarantee peace and serenity while one is in a gentle slumber.
A lot of the work I do is in the background from developing my website, to networking, writing and preparing for courses, classes and events. It’s hard to explain to people when they ask what you’ve been up to and you say working. Other people talk of their days and share a story or two but a lot of what I say is summed up in a sentence. “I was working on my website” The end. “Just been promoting my classes, trying to get the word out”. Sometimes I wonder if I’m seen as a fraud when I say I’ve been working. Is it really working? I’ve come to realise that it’s a common theme amongst home-workers. We seem to have similar thoughts surrounding this, but I’ve gained confidence in myself to be able to say it with conviction! It’s trying to do all of that and look after the kids that I find is my biggest challenge. There is always the threat of being taken away from any job I get engrossed in at any moment. But, again, I do it! It just might be later than when I planned. I can’t afford to make excuses so I drag myself to the computer and start typing. I could say I don’t have time, but actually I need to think whether that is the case or if it isn’t a priority. I find thinking like that really useful as it makes me focus on my priorities and not allow excuses to come into play.
My favourite aspect of my job is the I time I spend teaching. That’s my protected time, the time when I can fully focus with the certainty that I know the kids are with daddy or my family. It’s the face-to-face contact that I enjoy, the reason for doing this job. I absolutely love my job, I love meeting couples, I love talking about hypnobirthing and pregnancy, I love running my relaxation classes. I love that my daughter knows I work with ladies with babies in their tummies. I love that I’m using my skills, my brain and that I’m always looking to find out more about it to broaden my knowledge. It’s not only my chosen career but it’s also my interest so I spend time reading and learning which I guess you could classify as work but to me it doesn’t really feel like work! I’ve found my passion in life!
My number one priority is and always will be being the best mum I can be to Penny and Louis. My family are amazing and I want to give us all the best experiences that I can. I’m by no means perfect. There are days I feel like an epic failure. I lose my patience, or I just want to run away from the overwhelming responsibility of it all. I can get frustrated when I don’t get a break if there’s something on my mind that I want to do. But I’m learning all the time how to manage it all better. How to manage my time, how to manage the stresses of being responsible and present for two young children. I know that the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from hypnobirthing is helping me develop all the time. Learning is a life-long path. Since starting this journey, I felt it was important to look at my personal development too so I have been focusing on that so that I can give my best to my family and to my career. It’s bringing up some pretty interesting stuff which I’m sure I’ll be talking about in future blog posts…bet you can hardly contain yourself!
Back in mum-world, my daughter recently dropped her afternoon nap, it was quite a sad moment for me as I lost a precious hour of “me” time! But it’s also an exciting time as we watch our baby blossom into a beautiful, smart wee girl who never fails to amaze us with her dazzling personality. Louis is also becoming a fabulous character, his renditions of “Twinkle, twinkle” and “Walking in the air” are most impressive for a 13 month-old baby! And he has quite a rhythm as he rocks back in forth in his high chair! He rubs my hand over his head (I am also a fan of a head-rub!) and he head-butts me for kisses! I’m so grateful that I get to witness watching these precious moments with my babies. Taking them to classes and going on fun adventures together is brilliant!
So yes some days are hard going, and some days I don’t achieve very much. But I always make sure I achieve something, no matter how small. It all adds up to helping me realise my goals. It feels like an exciting time to be a female entrepreneur, I’m inspired on a daily basis by other women I see who are working hard to reach their potential. They’ve taught me so much too. There’s a fantastic support network out there, so sometimes if I’m feeling a bit lonely or lost with it all I reach out to the others. It always makes a difference. Running your own business is really like running a number of businesses. You have the actual core of what you do, and you can be great at it but without being able to do the other aspects of running a business well, you will fail. No doubt about it. Marketing is a massive part of it, I need my business to look appealing to my potential clients. It needs to look aesthetically pleasing, you need to really know what your talking about and how to talk to people. No one wants to see sales talk all the time. It’s not interesting and totally off-putting. Hopefully you find some of my posts interesting, I’ve actually been surprised by how easy it’s been to write! I have a load of ideas for taking my business forward which will include improving my website and social media presence, and doing some additional hypnotherapy training using an alternative method (I just didn’t feel busy enough!).
I’m so excited about 2018 and what’s in store! It feels like there is a shift going on in attitudes towards our birth experiences and I’m so happy to be part of that positive movement. Being part of helping to change the social attitude is amazing.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post, it means a lot to me! Christmas is nearly upon us so I’ll be looking forward to planning for the new year! You can check out what I’ve got coming up here.
With love, Kirsty x
Hello and welcome to my blog page!
I have a few exciting things in the pipeline I wanted to share!
**NEW PREGNANCY RELAXATION CLASS STARTING NOVEMBER 2nd**
My next Relaxation class starts this Thursday at 7.45pm in the Gymboree Edinburgh. If you are thinking of coming along, please drop me a message to have a chat about it!
**UPCOMING PREGNANCY AND FAMILY FAIR IN KIRKCALDY – NOVEMBER 12TH**
The Bonnie Bairn Fife Pregnancy and Family Fair takes place on November 12th at the Dean Park Hotel in Kirkcaldy from 10am till 3pm. I will have a stall there so am available to chat about hypnobirthing and to answer any questions you my have. I’ll also be doing a taster session on the day to discuss what hypnobirthing is and do a demonstration on the effectiveness of hypnosis. If you are planning on coming along, pop by to say hi!
There will be lots of great businesses there on the day from classes to photography, books and support, you’ll find everything you need at the fair!
Details are available on the Bonnie Bairn website and on their facebook page.
**NEW GROUP ON FACEBOOK**
I have recently created a Pregnancy Support group on facebook!
The aim of the group is to support each other throughout your pregnancy and beyond. It’s aimed at women who have an interest in hypnobirthing and are looking for support towards having a positive birth experience. I’ll be posting regularly with interesting information and also doing live Q and A sessions. Although there is a general focus towards hypnobirthing, I encourage any discussion on any topic you want support in.
You can join the group here: Pregnancy Support Group
If you want any further info from me please use my contact form to get in touch!
All the best, Kirsty
Now available is a gift certificate for a hypnobirthing course or relaxation class.
An ideal birthday, Christmas or baby shower gift!
It can be used to either purchase the full value of the hypnobirthing course or buy a voucher towards it.
Also available is a block of 4 relaxation classes for £60, and included with this will be the pregnancy pampering gift bag full of luxury goodies so it makes a great value gift!
Please contact me to find out more.
My hypnobirthing journey began when I discovered I was pregnant with my second baby. My first labour had been a scary experience, and I felt totally unprepared when I went into labour at 41+3 weeks. I knew I wanted it to be different this time, so I completed my teacher training whilst 30 weeks pregnant and it changed how I thought about birth completely. I went from being an avid hospital birth fan, to thinking a home birth would suit our family perfectly this time. I did my research on the benefits and the risks associated to a home birth and was surprised to find out that it was actually a safe environment to have a baby in so long as mother and baby were well both before and during labour, and support was in place. I imagined being in the comfort of my home and welcoming our new arrival in peace and tranquillity. Baba, however, had other ideas!
I had an induction at 36+2 weeks due to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). I had been monitored weekly from 32 weeks with doppler scans and ultrasounds. While they never commented on there being an issue with the cord blood flow, they were concerned that baba’s weight was tailing off the bottom centile. I’ll always remember that it was on the Wednesday at my 36-week appointment that I watched in dismay as they plotted the weight on the ultrasound scan, and immediately knew that the weight was below where we wanted it to be. The consultant suggested an induction on the Thursday or Friday that week. Although I knew this was always a possibility, I had convinced myself that everything would be fine so I sat in shock that I had gone from believing that our second baby would arrive in December to suddenly realising it would be at the start of November! We hadn’t organised anything for baba’s arrival. We franticly dug out our moses basket and some tiny baby clothes, attempting to get our heads around the change of plan. I was also torn as I wondered if he was on the small side but also healthy, as my daughter Penny had been a bit wee (6lb 3oz) when she arrived through spontaneous labour. I anxiously considered whether they should consider delaying an induction longer to see if the growth would pick up. The consultant felt that baba would cope better during labour at 36 weeks rather than delaying which would make labour harder on him if he remained small. We considered the information available about IUGR and we decided that it was best to go ahead with the induction.
Although it wasn’t the circumstances we had hoped for, we managed to make it a positive experience and I truly believe that that was due to using hypnobirthing. We spent our last morning with Penny taking her to the park and she chatted about baba as she pointed to my belly. She happily went off to her grandparents on the Thursday afternoon and we spent the rest of the day getting ready for hospital. It was a mixture of anxiety, excitement and disbelief knowing that our baby was going to be born the next day. We felt so emotional being away from our little girl too.
I had made a detailed birth plan for a home birth which I then had to adapt for a hospital birth. I had wanted to use the birthing pool however it was the hospital policy not to use the pool at 36 weeks due to monitoring the baby. So, no pool for me. I was disappointed but accepted that it wasn’t meant to be. We rocked up at 8am on Friday morning and were shown to our room. I’ll admit it didn’t fill me with joy as it was the opposite of what I had imagined but here we were and it was up to us to make it work for us. We went in armed with fake candles, my KG CD, affirmations, scripts to read and loads of food and entertainment. We hoped that it might be a quick labour and envisaged that we could be home complete with baba to watch the new series of Still Game that evening!! It quickly became obvious that this baby was in no hurry to come out to play!
My first internal examination was carried out… I wasn’t looking forward to this. I can’t imagine anyone jumps with joy at the prospect! I had hoped to avoid examinations so we discussed that they would only do them if necessary. The consultant had hoped to rupture the amniotic membrane to encourage labour but I was given gel to soften the cervix as there were no signs of it being ready. Skip forward 6 hours and numerous trips to the on-site café and all was quiet other than the odd gentle surge. The membranes were ruptured at this point…all remained relatively quiet. I tried using the birthing ball to get into a good upright position but my surges felt more powerful when I was semi-reclined on the bed. I was surprised at this but I went with what felt right for my body. I listened to the CD with Katherine’s voice many times over the day which felt familiar and comforting as we had listened to it every night for the past 6 weeks as we went to sleep. I focused on my “up” breathing and used visualisations to go with this whenever I felt a surge. I saw birds flying into the sky and the upward feeling of this worked for me! It felt manageable and I didn’t need any further pain relief. This contrasted with my previous labour as I had found the surges unmanageable quite quickly. I had panicked and didn’t know how to handle the sensation. Having a good understanding of what my body was doing made all the difference to psyche. I felt that oxytocin flow!
We watched Anchorman 2 to pass the time. (NB. I do not recommend a Will Ferrell comedy while midwives are coming in and out of the room! His use of language can be pretty embarrassing as I’m sure you can imagine if you have watched any of his films!!) We listened to a lot of 90’s radio. I felt really chilled listening to it. My favourite moment was breathing through a surge while “Creep” by Radiohead was playing and having a laugh with the midwife about our music choice. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how the Stranges do hypnobirthing!
Labour continued to progress very slowly and concerns were growing for baba’s ability to cope, so the syntocinon drip was introduced. Another intervention I had hoped to avoid. I entertained some gas and air during examinations as I found them particularly uncomfortable (although I did quite enjoy that drunk feeling accompanied by the giggles). However, I found that I managed the surges much better without it even when they were incredibly powerful when the hormone dosage was increased to its maximum. I continued throughout the night and into the wee hours of the morning, yet still baba Strange held off from gracing us with his presence.
A further examination at 8am showed that my cervix was 3cm dilated and the monitoring of baba indicated that he was becoming distressed which led to me being prepped for a caesarean section. The surges were almost continuous by this point and I suddenly felt the strong urge to push which I could not stop. I got pretty vocal at this point and I won’t go into my other bodily functions! In the short space of time from consenting to a caesarean to being introduced to around 40 members of staff (ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, it was right in the middle of the staff changeover but I was introduced to a lot of staff) and being given an epidural, the cervix was fully dilated. We were offered the chance to go back to the delivery ward to deliver without further assistance. We felt baba had had enough, we were both exhausted and didn’t want to risk him becoming distressed again and so he was delivered with “gentle forceps”. I use this term as the obstetrician said it was a “beautiful, gentle forceps delivery”. Everything was so clear this time, I felt in control and able to discuss my options with the obstetricians, I met so many faces in theatre and could talk clearly. I apologise to the nurse whose hand I crushed during a surge!
We had not known the sex of baba and it was a beautiful moment when little Louis was lifted up to greet us. We finally met our boy at 9.06am on the 5th of November 2016 weighing in at 5lb 5oz. A small boy but what he lacked in size he made up for in volume! A quiet boy he is not! We spent the rest of the day getting to know him and it was an unforgettable moment when he met his big sister that afternoon. She cuddled and kissed her “baba“ and has adored him ever since. He is a lucky boy having her to look out for him.
I am so grateful to have learned about hypnobirthing and experienced it during labour. I am certain that it made a huge difference to my state of mind and I managed the surges so effectively with the breathing techniques. Our society can be so negative towards labour, we hear that it will be frightening experience, it will hurt and it will be rather traumatic in some way. I have heard many negative birth stories (my own first experience included), that we have no control over our decisions and I hear the phrase “they don’t let you” a lot. I have been introduced to a world where it is a positive beautiful experience, women are educated about how to use the mind effectively in labour and to take control of their body. Using and adapting hypnobirthing to suit your own circumstances is empowering. We need more positivity in this world and I feel lucky to be a part of passing that knowledge onto other parents.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the midwifery team at NHS Forth Valley who I met both throughout my pregnancy and during labour. Thank you for always listening, taking the time to chat to me and helping me feel safe when I was at my most vulnerable. You guys are amazing. Also thank you to the obstetric team and theatre staff, I appreciated all you did for us.
Finally thank you to my rock Jim. You kept me sane, you came to endless antenatal appointments with me and you supported me all the way. You gave me encouragement when I introduced you to hypnobirthing and I am so glad that it helped you too as I know how worried you were first time round. We went into it this time with our eyes opened. Life now has never been busier, I’m knackered ALL the time but can’t think of a better reason to be than seeing our babies develop and grow into awesome wee people every day.