maternaltouch

First of all I would like to apologise to all the sensible people who care for their children and what the best for them, please indulge me and this post.  I have been watching families at school for the past few weeks driving their precious children to school and I am shocked by the number of children I see not wearing seat belts or who are not in car seats.

Many years ago I used to organise the delivery of wheelchairs to disabled people – I remember once in a space of a few months we delivered 3 or 4 wheelchairs out to children aged between 3 and 6 – all with exactly the same spinal injury.  All had been travelling on just a lap strap and their had been a car accident.  One mum at the time told me that she would regret the decision NOT to have a 3 point seat belt fitted in the middle seat of her car for the rest of her life – her child would too. 

Speaking to an Occupational Therapist later she said something that would chill me and (I think) made me a more conscientious parent.  “Choosing which child to put on a lap strap is like choosing which child I could cope with being in a wheelchair.”  Not a decision I could make – ever!  If fate (or whatever God you believe in) decides to deal that hand so be it but I was not going to give fate a hand. 

We have 3 children and at first the middle seat only had a lap strap – It was only ever used for an infant car seat that was designed to be used with lapstraps.  We soon invested in a car that had 3 shoulder straps in the back.

Still a lap strap is better than no seat at all

I am sorry if watching those made you feel uncomfortable or upset – but you would think by now we would ALL know that seat belts and car seats save lives.

Seat belts have been law here for a long time.  Car seats have been in use for a long time too.

I have heard the excuse “He doesn’t like being in his car seat” – Sorry tough its the law, he will soon learn that he has no choice.

“She only takes the straps off there is no point putting her in the straps in the first place – My eldest would slip his straps but after a few pulling over at the side of the road to re-strap him in and a warning that if he did it again we would be going straight home (and him knowing that we would as well).

The excuse that worries me the most is when I hear older children (7 or 8 ) refusing to wear seat belts – They should not even realise that NOT wearing a seatbelt is an option. 

You may be the best driver in the world and have the safest car ever made but it only takes one stupid driver or a small patch of ice and your world could come crashing down.

Safe journeys

Today I want to challenge some ideas about doulas – these are based things I have heard: 

For the record:

  • I do not knit lentils – I actually can’t even knit
  • I am not a wannabe midwife – Midwives are fantastic and amazing at what they do but I have no desire to be one.
  • I am NOT against pain relief – Its your birth my job is to help you feel empowered to take ownership of your birth, with knowledge and support.
  • I am NOT against C-Sections – See above.
  • I am NOT Anti-formula – Its your baby, my job is to help you feel empowered to find your own path, with knowledge and support.
  • I do NOT take over a birth – Its your birth, your day, I am there to help you keep you strong and empowerered to make your own decisions and ask your own questions.
  • I am NOT only there for women who want give birth naturally – Its your birth and your decision I am there to support your informed decision of how and where to birth your baby.
  • I am NOT only there for women who want to give birth at home – See above.
  • I am NOT a replacement for your husband/boyfriend/partner – I am there to support you both, to allow them the opportunity to rest/eat/go to the loo without worrying about leaving you alone.  I help to look after your partner to alleviate some of your worries.
  • I am NOT just employed by middle class families – All families are entitled to the support of a doula if they want it.  If costs are an issue (Doula UK trainee doulas currently charge no more than £200).  Doula UK has a hardship fund, most doulas will offer discounts or payment by installments. 

The list could go on forever but I hope the above covers some of the main misconceptions about what a doula isn’t. 

Every doula is different – we all have different experiences, personalities, but we all want the same thing for you- we want you to have the most empowering birth possible in your circumstances.

for more information about doulas in the uk please go to www.doula.org.uk or www.nurturingbirth.co.uk    or visit my site www.maternaltouch.org.uk

When I was pregnant – the world and their aunt picked it up on the radar and suddenly my life became public property.

Complete strangers would come up to me pawing my bump, asking if it was a boy or a girl?

Old ladies would tell me about their 5 day labours and how many stitches they had.

One man in a ‘Jesus Saves’ t-shirt came up to me and hugged me saying “Jesus loves you” – I replied “If he loves me like that again he’s going to be arrested”

When asked if knew what (the baby) it was yet, I would reply “Wind” or “I am hoping for a puppy” in the hope of them thinking I was crazy and would leave me alone.

Being pregnant isn’t public property, our bodies our still our own.  If random strangers think its fine and lovely to rub pregnant ladies bumps and ask personal questions it is no wonder it is the norm for midwives and doctors to ‘just perform a sweep while I’m here’.  The boundaries of personal space have been blurred.

As a woman and a doula I would never touch a bump without permission. As beautiful and natural a pregnancy bump is – I have no rights to touch it unless I am invited to share that magical form.  

You wouldn’t touch a strange child (unless they were in danger of course) without permission, or run up to the nearest handsome man to feel his biceps – so why pregnant women?

Ok, my little secret – my name is Sue and I am a Sue Thomas FB Eye fan.   For those who don’t know it’s about a Deaf woman who gets a job in the FBI and with her team, and her trusty sidekick Levi her hearing dog, helps to protect the USA.  Above is a link to the song and lyrics of the theme tune ‘Who I am’.  I love this song and so does my daughter (the boys too but TBH they are sick of me and her singing it round the house).

So why did I link to they lyrics and not the video?  Look at them – those lyrics mean so much.

I see it as saying to me ‘it doesn’t matter if I win the top prize, or become No1 in my sports, Its OK to make mistakes and try.  Whatever my achievements in life, they do not change who I am. 

As a mum this line reminds me of everything I hold dear to my family

“And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan”

Whatever my children do (or don’t do) I will love them and cheer them on no matter what.  I WILL be their biggest fan (closely followed by daddy and grandparents……etc etc).

“Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me”

I am well known for being forgetful, a little clumsy, dropping stuff….etc and my friends (I hope) love me all the same because they love ME as a whole being, and can overlook my quirks.   I hope for the same for my children that their friends love totally including all their faults and flaws and that they can do the same for their friends.

My families and friends (and those who are not my friend too) have made ME.  I’m pretty pleased with the result and my other friends seem to be too.  I know I am a long way from perfect – but perfect sounds very boring TBH

So thanks to everyone who has come into contact with me in my life – you have made me ‘who I am’. 

Enjoy the rest of your day….. are you your child’s biggest fan?, do you love your friends even though they are forgetful, clumsy…….?

Be happy

Sue

I remember being about 5 and being ushered into the school hall for a ‘special assembly’.  Being in the youngest year I had a front row seat (well floor).  – I will not say exactly how long ago this was but lets leave it the early 80’s 🙂

The lights on stage dimmed and the smoke machine started…..There was a crash of thunder on the soundtrack being played lights flashed (I can remember jumping at this assault on my senses) out of the smoke and flashing lights came a lone shadowy figure.  The flashing light stopped and I was able take in the vision I had before me: A tall thin man with long dark frizzy hair which stood up in all directions, his face was whitened and he was dressed in a black and white striped shirt and trousers with braces……..then in time with the voice on the soundtrack his hands moved in a magical dance all of their own, his expressions and the hands flowing movements hypnotised me.  The soundtrack faded to me and I still have no idea what was being said.  But I was in love – WITH SIGN LANGUAGE.  The performance ended and we had a talk about why people signed and we had a quick run through of the BSL (British Sign Language) alphabet and was sent home with the alphabet sheets.

At home I studied it hard and within a few hours I could sign the alphabet slowly. That was all I could do for many years but that love of sign stayed.

At 18 I got the opportunity to study BSL properly and jumped at the chance.  The love was still there and as strong as ever.  I jumped at each and every opportunity to practice. 

When my oldest son was born in 1999 as soon as his eyes opened he was greeted in both English and Sign.  At Deaf clubs I had seen babies communicating with their parents in sign – it was beautiful to watch – their bonds seemed so close and precious.  Looking straight into my babies eyes while I spoke and signed – an extra special connection.  As he grew signing was always ‘ours’  (Daddy doesn’t sign). At around 9 months he signed ‘mouth hurts’ when he was teething and needed medicine – He knew how to tell me what he wanted!  From about 14months, when I would sign with friends he would grab people’s clothes and ask in sign ‘You Deaf?’ if they signed ‘yes’ he would try to join in the conversations making psedo-signs ‘babbling in sign’.  If they signed ‘no, hearing’ he would revert to babbling with his voice.

Signing faded away as he grew and as my others came along signing would come and go as time and situations allowed but all my children knew much earlier than their peers about personal space while talking (the signing space), eye contact while communicating, and about context of speech.  Signing with them so small has given them a huge headstart, they are articulate knowledgeable children who love watching the dancing hands of sign language.

This is my first attempt at a blog – so it may all go horribly wrong….so forgive me in advance

So why blog? mostly because I usually have a lot to say (although right now all those lovely opinions and clever witty quips I usually have have suddenly disapeared for some reason).  I am passionate about what I do and why I do it – and I am proud to have those passions.

So this blog will be a place to share my passions, snippets of work life, a squeeze of home life, random events, long held memories and anything else that comes into my head and stays long enough to make it here.  I hope you will come back and share some of my passions.

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