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Introducing the Mother Cuppa Lounge

A wonderful little online space for you to read, learn about and discuss pregnancy, birth, babies and being a family.

The Mother Cuppa Lounge is a useful, supportive place to access reliable information – based on evidence and experience – to give you a boost as well as a space to ask questions.

With ongoing information, support and reassurance, it will bring expectant and new parents something a bit different:

  • each weekly antenatal and postnatal post is sent to you by email so you can access, read, watch and listen in your own time
  • you can comment or ask questions from your inbox
  • you can visit the Mother Cuppa Lounge and read all of the previous posts.
  • it’s as simple as that!

There will be a monthly birth topic:

  • labour & birth essentials
  • positions for labour & birth
  • pain management for labour & birth
  • labour & birth challenges
  • induction
  • waterbirth
  • relax & breathe

with weekly birth posts and conversations about:

contractions, birth support, using the birth space, birth plans, mindset for labour and birth, managing your energy, expectations v reality, what you can do, being a birth partner, using your breathing, choosing where to have your baby. what you need to know, being at the centre of your care and baby preparation

There will be a monthly postnatal topic:

  • the 4th trimester
  • beyond birth
  • feeding
  • baby sleep
  • postnatal challenges
  • weaning
  • going back to work
  • being the parent you want to be
  • stress & wellbeing tips and strategies
  • relax & breathe

with weekly posts and conversations about:

recovery, unsettled babies, growth spurts, routines, managing two or more children, baby development, making comparisons, finding what works, exhaustion, isolation, friendships & relationships, your needs, guilt, baby safety, your support network, choosing and using a sling, ongoing strategies to juggle family life

The Mother Cuppa Lounge is your space to ask questions, to make comments, to gather information and to focus on your needs in pregnancy, for birth and as a new parent.

After working with parents for twenty years, I not only possess good knowledge but I am also a down-to-earth practitioner, passionate about communicating in a calm, relatable and straightforward way.

My job is to build you up, to give you the space to learn, discuss, ask questions and to feel more confident about birth and life with a baby.

You can read more and sign up here…

And please do message me below if you have any questions.

Conversations & Questions this week

This week has been a real mix of first and second time parents – some are pregnant, some are in the thick of it with their baby.

As ever no two weeks are the same and there has been a range of antenatal and postnatal questions, comments and conversations this week. Here’s a brief round-up of what we talked about

  • Second Babies – no two babies are ever the same and the challenges can be different with your next baby because they will most probably sleep differently, settle differently, feed differently. The things you did with your first maybe might not be relevant with your next.
  • Going Back To Work – this can cause apprehension and planning can be important to think about juggling and managing childcare, work and home.
  • Tiredness – this can feel like it goes hand in hand with being a parent. And it’s not just the lack of sleep, it’s the relentlessness of being on demand as well as dealing with any worries and trying to figure out solutions for any challenges.
  • Confidence – being pregnant, giving birth and being a parent can boost your confidence or it could knock it as you find your feet or come to terms with it being different from expectations. Good support and load of reassurance can help – alot!
  • Childcare – find it, choosing it, paying for it, working it all out can mean thinking it through, talking it through and making plans that work for your family.
  • Tummy Time – this can cause so much angst because parents can feel under pressure to do it. Truth it carrying your baby around it tummy time, using a sling is tummy time, cuddling your baby is tummy time. This all strengthens your baby’s neck and your baby isn’t leaning back against anything.
  • Sleep – the biggest conversation I have with parents because it can be one of the toughest challenges however normal it is for babies to wake at night. Tired parents need good information to better understand why their baby might be sleeping as expected or needed, along with support and reassurance.
  • Growth Spurts – these create challenges because your baby’s needs can intensify, she may be more unsettled, feeds may increase and she may wake more frequently. It can be tough but meet your baby’s needs, even if it feels like you are going back, because once your baby is through this leap, her needs will not be as intense.
  • Birth Again – it should never be assumed that because you have done birth once, you are ready to do it again. It might be useful to talk through your previous birth experience and it is definitely worth thinking about birth again – your options, what you would like, what you need. You might want a caesarean or to plan a vbac or you may be preparing for labour and birth once more, which could be faster than your first labour.

It really does help to talk it all through, to plan and to focus on what would help you most. My job is to build you up, to give you the space to talk, discuss and ask questions and to have more knowledge and confidence.

You can message me below with any questions or queries.

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Based in the North East and working with parents everywhere

Consultations | Groups | Digital Guides | Mother Cuppa Lounge

SHAPES research study

If you are pregnant or you are a new mum, would you like to provide feedback and help with a new maternity research study? SHAPES is aiming to identify which women might benefit from additional care during pregnancy. 

As someone who is using, or who has recently used, maternity services, your input and experience is invaluable to help the study be more effective.

technology computer health hospital

What is the SHAPES research study?

Maternity units currently use BMI to identify which women might need additional care during pregnancy. But BMI cannot tell how much fat tissue someone has or where it is stored. The SHAPES study aims to explore whether other measurements work better than BMI to identify who would benefit the most from additional care during pregnancy.

You can read more on the SHAPES website.

woman sitting on chair using black ipad

How can you help?

We need two pregnant women or new mums to take part in the next steering group meeting, which updates and discusses the SHAPES study.

Being able to contribute your perspective, experience and understanding adds real value to the study and to the researchers.

What does it involve?

  • The next steering group meeting is being held over Zoom on September 21, 11am-1pm.
  • There will also be a short Zoom chat with me and the researcher before and after the steering group meeting so you can ask questions and then have a debrief.
  • You will receive up to £150 in e-vouchers as a thank you for your time.

As an expectant or new mum, your involvement is so valuable to research, it makes such a difference to researchers and to each step of the study.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to be involved in this steering group meeting.

Thank you.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

Further Reading
Pregnancy | Birth Preparation | Labour & Birth | New Baby Feeding  | Babyloss & Grief Breathing Space
In Your Words | Essential Posts

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For You

With consultations for you, the person behind the parent, you can work through different family and personal challenges while balancing the needs of being a parent. Going beyond the postnatal period, these sessions focus on the issues affecting you as you and your children get older and the challenges change.

Life can be busy and you may be juggling the needs of your family with work, being a partner and trying to meet your own needs. These consultations are about having more clarity and focus and being better equipped for juggling the different demands and managing the chaos of family life, while also looking after you.

mum coaching

Consultations For You: you can talk through…

  • being a parent
  • loss of identity
  • feeling overwhelmed and in need of some thinking space
  • managing everyday anxiety
  • needing better life balance
  • developing effective coping strategies
  • focusing on the motherload
  • talking through the parenting, work or family challenges
  • managing stress and boosting your wellbeing
  • being the parent you want to be
  • needing to focus on you
  • to talk through loss and grief

Being a parent can be an all-consuming job with little time left to focus on you, your own wellbeing, ambitions and the balancing act that your life may well involve.

You can focus on your needs, while also being mindful of how these needs fit in with also meeting the needs of your family.

This is not counselling or therapy, it is about having a place to offload, to talk about the frustrations and challenges for you within family life. Talking it all through openly and using a toolkit of strategies to focus on you means you can feel supported and better able to manage the challenges.

Consultations For You: what parents say

“Thank you so much for listening and caring. Our session made a huge difference.”

“Our 1:1 sessions were so positive, really helped me to refocus and to plan.”

“I needed space to think and offload and make sense of what I need as part of my family. Juggling the needs of my family, work and trying to do it all was becoming overwhelming.”

“Just having the space to offload, to reframe some thoughts and to focus on coping strategies has made a difference – I am thinking clearly and I feel more positive.”

Book your consultations

You can book here and message me below to arrange your sessions.

With the consultation series, you can arrange for sessions to run together or they can be spread out over a few weeks or months, we will work out the right schedule for you.

Why I run consultations for you…

I have worked with expectant and new parents since 2002 and I trained as a coach in 2016 to be able to work with parents beyond the postnatal period.

As a mother of two teenagers, I am very aware of balancing family, work and me, along with the motherload, managing stress and keeping going so I can also be the parent I want to be. Having the opportunity to offload and to focus on the challenges can mean better communication, change, better balance and less stress.

There isn’t a lot of ongoing support for parents beyond the early postnatal period but there are many challenges as our children get older, which impact stress, wellbeing and relationships – ongoing support can be crucial.

Please feel free to message me here with any queries.

janine signature

Working with parents since 2002

My face-to-face groups are ideal for parents across Newcastle & Tyneside. With video sessions and digital courses, I also work with parents and families from across the UK as well as internationally.
How can I help you?

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Copyright: Janine Smith

birth trauma

Experiencing birth trauma

Birth trauma can be different for each women who is affected by the birth of their baby. It can be caused by birth injury or by a frightening birth where you may have felt that either you or your baby may have been in danger.

My birth trauma came from a manual removal of my placenta when I was taken to an operating theatre for a procedure which involved a spinal anaesthetic, stirrups and an obstetrician rummaging around in my uterus.

It was a fairly routine procedure, I wasn’t bleeding and there was no emergency. So where did my trauma come from? I believe it was caused by a few factors…

  • I was alone in a room full of people, who were talking around me and about me but not to me. I felt vulnerable and scared
  • there was a chance this could be a bigger issue than it seemed
  • I was away from my baby, who was being assessed in SCBU and who would most probably due to have surgery that day
  • it took an age to administer the spinal block and I was in the hands of a small group of student anaesthetists until the consultant roared at them and asked them to leave the room. Not one of them had spoken to me and not one had acknowledged that I was now sobbing. But I felt safe in this doctor’s hands, which he put on my shoulders and said it was going to be okay, he had this now. I calmed, relaxed and the spinal was administered in seconds.
  • and then there’s the vulnerability of the procedure, the nakedness, the helplessness of being in stirrups, the discomfort of a gloved hand being inside me
  • I felt like a piece of meat that day, not a woman, not a mother of three, just a body

I developed PTSD as a result of this experience in the operating theatre, where I felt violated and ignored. Good therapy with EMDR, as well as medication, helped me cope with flashbacks and the constant, crippling anxiety.

Birth is very subjective, another woman could experience the same as me and feel completely okay. According to the Birth Trauma Association, around 30,000 women a year experience birth trauma in the UK.

If you are struggling after the birth of your baby – and this could be years later for some women – please do seek some help, to talk it through and to make sense of what you experienced. And it may be that you benefit from seeing a psychologist for trauma treatment.

And please do look after yourself, try not to ignore what you are experiencing.

Birth trauma support

There is more information and support at Birth Trauma Association and you can also speak to me as an initial step. You can also speak to your health visitor or GP about being referred for counselling or therapy and you can look into private therapy options.

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Working with parents since 2002 | In-person & Online Sessions
Based in the North East and working with parents everywhere

Say hello…
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