5 years ago born as a mother

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It was my eldest daughter's birthday yesterday. 5 years ago I was also born a mother. This is a photo of me in labour with my husband Sam who was my biggest supporter.

I had such a wonderful home birth experience. The lead up to the birth was fairly stressful with finding out she was breech at 40 weeks then having low platelets and going to 14 days 'overdue' but the home birth itself was really amazing - see my full birth story here.

I have never read my daughter's birth story to her or shown her the video of her birth. Not sure why I haven't thought to do this? I saw @babynutrition and @persialawson post on their Instagram about sharing their birth stories with their children and it inspired me to do the same.

I believe it is so important to expose children to childbirth and normalise it against a tide of cultural messages that birth is something to be feared. My eldest daughter was at home when I gave birth to my second daughter. Although she didn’t get to see the birth itself - as she was sleeping during the night - she got to see her baby sister in her home surroundings. I trust this will be take root in her subconscious and serve her when it comes to give birth to her own children in the future.

I didn't get the water birth I planned with Estelle as the independent midwives wanted me to birth on dry land but I am incredibly grateful that I gave birth to her at home, bum first in the comfort of our bedroom on a sunny bank holiday weekend. It is etched on my memory as if it was only yesterday - not sure we ever forget the details of labour and birth. A lot of the detail comes down to memories around sensory details - the taste of raspberry tea drank from a straw held out to me by my sweet midwives, the essential oils wafted under my nose to alleviate nausea, the tender whispering voices of the midwives who were unobtrusive in our space, the hypnobirthing music on loop in our room and the heat of the August bank holiday sun (rare in the UK!) piercing through the closed curtains of my birthing cave and my dear husband rallying around in a whirlwind of activity until he realised all I needed was for him to be with me and hold the space.

I am giving pause to remember and give thanks to the amazing independent midwives Andy Parker of Maya Midwives and Kathryn Weymouth who supported me to have our home birth and believed in me and my husband and trusted us. I will never forget what they did for us. It was a great lesson in the need to have a team of support in this motherhood journey, although it took me a little while longer to fully embody this knowledge.

Estelle’s birth taught me so much and prepared me in many ways for the motherhood journey ahead of me and has given rise to my passion to support and serve mothers.

Thank you to my beautiful Estelle for choosing us to be her parents. It has been a huge privilege to be her mama and I look forward to celebrating each year that passes. It is a mixture of a dull ache in my heart for the years passing so quickly but also a feeling of excited anticipation as I see her growing into herself while showing us a glimmer of what is to come. The push and pull of motherhood - one of the hardest things on this journey.

Any mothers reading this, I also urge you to also take a moment of reflection to celebrate your birth as a mother (whether second, third or whatever time round) alongside your child’s birth date. It is an important reflection which is often overlooked. I did not have the chance to do this yesterday on her actual birthday but I am looking over the photos to remind myself how far I have come since this momentous day. Happy Mama’s day to all the mamas when your day of celebration comes.

Much love x