Author: Janine Smith

baby sleep and being exhausted

Most days I see mums and babies and the range of sleep – or lack of it – varies so much. Some babies sleep most of the night, others sleep in chunks of a few hours and the rest are up every hour. No two babies are the same and this is why books can be frustrating because your baby might not match their sleep descriptions. The reasons why babies wake frequently can be down to hunger and thirst, needing reassurance, discomfort from wind, reflux or teething or just not knowing how to get themselves back to sleep when they wake up. Sleep can be affected with growth spurts and developmental leaps – which despite apps such as Wonder Weeks – can be unique to your baby. The 2 biggest developmental leaps for your baby are around 4 months and at about 8-10 months (when brain/physical development is happening) when sleep could be at its worst but I have been around enough babies to know that it does vary a great deal. Frequent night-wakings and …

Why a birth debrief matters…

It’s a chance to talk through and make sense of the birth of your baby, which may have been different from your expectations or it may have left you feeling upset or in shock. There is no set time to have a birth debrief session, I see parents at different points after the birth of a baby… you might want to talk it through during the first weeks or months when it is fresh in your mind you could be thinking about having another baby but the birth is still weighing on your mind or you might be pregnant again and in need of a debrief before you can prepare properly for birth again. Talking through birth is a huge part of my postnatal sessions, and I work with a lot of parents on a one-to-one basis to talk it through in greater detail. It really helps to be open and honest about how you are feeling, maybe saying things to me that you wouldn’t share with anyone else for fear of worrying them. Birth …

labour and birth newcastle and tyneside

Pain

A constant pain in my head for the last day has made me reflect on pain – it’s really not pleasant and I wish it would stop now. I don’t know what it causing it and it will start to wear me down but, for now, I am being positive that it is a migraine or a sinus issue rather than a brain tumour or a stroke. As an antenatal teacher, I talk about pain a lot – I get asked questions about pain and contractions. And knowledge and acceptance is crucial for labour pains – we need strong, powerful contractions. Labour is about endurance, the muscles of your uterus are working hard. Understanding why contractions hurt, how you can work with them and what might make them more painful really helps but everyone’s experience of labour is so individual and pain is so subjective – it can be can be so fast, it takes your breath away or it can plod on for hours and hours, never seeming like the end will come. And …

Ongoing Grief

I mentioned this on my Facebook timeline this morning and I want to go into a bit more detail about my experience of grief. I have experienced the death of friends and the death of my parents and, while these losses have been difficult and emotional, nothing has compared to losing my son. His death ripped my heart in two and I’ve worked hard to keep that patched and working ever since. I can’t adequately describe the pain of losing a child but, for me, it is definitely like losing a part of myself and, in the beginning, that was matched with the most desperate sadness, a panic that would take my breath away, uncontrollable tears, overwhelming helplessness and a very real pain in my chest. Even in those early days the grief came in waves – there were brief moments of normality, a haitus in the heartbreak. Sometimes during the day and always first thing in the morning for those first few seconds before reality hit. I remember about 6 weeks in, having the …

for mums newcastle and tyneside

Hiding away at the back…

This week I have found myself googling ‘why do I feel inadequate?’ ‘why do I feel unworthy’ ‘how do I stop overthinking?’ and ‘how to feel good enough’ in search of articles and self help books to help me get a grip on the lack of confidence I can sometimes be consumed by. I am writing this not for sympathy or praise but to share because I can’t be the only person who struggles with this both professionally and personally. I never shy away from writing about the tough issues and if this post can help someone else feel less alone, then it has been worth my overshare. The truth is that I have always held myself back and I need to stop. I am at a point in my life – almost 50! – where invisibility happens, society doesn’t see the middle-aged woman and her menopausal woes. When I look at my life on paper, it’s all great and I have no regrets about the choices I have made but, going forward, I need …