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The pelvic floor is an area that we’ve all heard about and we all ‘kind of know’ about.  But many, myself included, tend to not really think much about it unless reminded (when we might do some quick kegels.. before we forget again).

So I’ve written up an article to help answer all those pelvic floor questions so you can get a deeper understanding over how important it is that we look after this muscle group.

I also mention the newly opened Fix in East Village.  While I might be discussing pelvic floor, as a company they deal with a multitude of issues including non pregnancy related ones.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is the group of muscles found at the base of your core. They are located in your pelvis.

What does the pelvic floor do?

Your pelvic floor helps to support your pelvic organs and can help you to hold onto a full bladder without leaking urine.  The muscles help the pelvic organs function properly whether that’s to do with bowel habits, bladder issues or aiding in sexual function.

How can the pelvic floor weaken?

Pelvic floor muscles lose strength over time.  Childbirth can be a huge factor because of the weight of the baby pushing down onto the pelvic floor muscles stretching them.  For the same reason obesity can be another reason why your pelvic floor can weaken.  There are other factors that can cause a weak pelvic floor as well, and sometimes it can start from an early age.

What can happen if my pelvic floor gets weak?

Loss of bladder control is a huge issue that many people suffer in silence and is probably the most well-known symptom of a weak pelvic floor.  Even the need to frequently urinate is a pelvic floor issue.  Bowel incontinence is also due to a weak pelvic floor- whether that’s being unable to control flatulence or faeces, or feeling like you need to pass several bowel movements in a short period of time or feeling like you’ve not managed to complete a bowel movement.

It can also hugely impact sexual pleasure.

I don’t have any issues with my pelvic floor. Can I ignore it?

As stated above the pelvic floor gets weaker over time.  This is true for men and women.  Because it’s a muscle it’s important that it’s exercised properly to maintain its function.  I don’t have any pelvic floor issues currently, but I do have diastasis recti which means I’m at risk because both diastasis recti and the pelvic floor are core related problems.  The menopause is also a common time where the pelvic floor muscles weaken and can cause issues.

Why is it important to exercise the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened by exercising them- similar to any other muscle in the body.  By keeping them exercised you’re helping to maintain their function.

How do you exercise the pelvic floor?

You’ll be told by doctors and midwives to do your kegels.  And unfortunately the advice, while helpful isn’t really something many people actively do simply because it’s so easily forgotten.

Another problem is that it can be quite hard to identify the muscles that need to be worked.  So while you may be doing your kegels now, how can you be sure you’re doing it correctly?

I find going to specialist classes really useful.  It’s not about strenuous exercise, it’s about identifying the muscles that need to be exercised and being monitored by someone who can help you appropriately.

Why are specialists important?

With the boom of You Tube many people prefer the idea of working out at home and following a video.  It saves money but it doesn’t have the bonus of having a person monitoring you to make sure the exercises you’re doing are correctly performed and therefore actually working the correct muscles.

Specialists are so important because they can double-check your posture throughout a class, and they can monitor your progress to make sure you’re doing the best you possibly can to help yourself.

If money is an issue, I’d still always recommend going to a specialist class over the course of a few weeks until you learn to identify the muscles you need to work out correctly.  It’s also a great way to learn how to work those muscles properly without just doing kegels while watching tv and hoping it works.

Is there a place you recommend in London?

Fix London has just opened a new clinic in East Village.

They run many post natal groups including a Pelvic Floor Galore class.  As a company they run a variety of different classes and treatments under one roof.  Whatever your issue, whether that’s diastasis recti or pelvic floor issues or something completely not related to childbirth, they aim to give you everything you require to get your health back.

(^^ Angela during the class)

Angela runs the Pelvic Floor Galore class that I was fortunate enough to try out alongside Dani, from This Woman’s Word.  Dani is pregnant whereas I’m post natal with diastasis recti which limits certain movements for me, and I loved that Angela took both our concerns and adapted certain exercises for us.

The workout was really uplifting and enjoyable.  I can always tell when it’s a class that suits me because I feel like an hours class goes by so quickly! It was also a great way to interact with other mums too.  There were two other mums in our class, both with young babies, one in a pram asleep and the other playing on the floor next to her mum.  And the four of us worked out with each other using resistance bands.  There was no issue at all if a baby needed to be held or fed, Angela helped to keep them happy where she could while their mums continued to exercise. I even think I’d be able to bring along Evie to a class and perhaps pop up a travel cot for her to play in with some toys.

If you want to read about Dani’s experience from a pregnancy point of view, her article is here.

(^^Angela talking through safe pregnancy movements with Dani)

How do I get to Fix East Village?

Fix East village is located near to Westfield Stratford.  The location makes it ideal to use public transport to get there, or to park at Westfield and walk to Fix.

After the class you’re in a great position to get to know the other mums further.  With great coffee shops and restaurants in the East Village area it’s a great sociable place to be.

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Most parents will have experienced nappy rash issues with their babies at one time or another.

After all up to a third of babies and toddlers in nappies have nappy rash at any one time.  You can count us in that figure right now.

It can be brought about in many ways.  Ours is the result of a viral infection which led to severe spots on our daughters face and nappy area, and only now after a trip to the doctors for some strong medication are we able to use the soothing protective barrier of Bepanthen to help her heal.

As the winner of the best nappy cream by Loved by Parents in 2016, the easy flip lid tube makes applying the cream a simple process.

The ointment creates a breathable, transparent layer to protect the area prone to nappy rash and the pro-vitamin B5 encourages the natural recovery of the babies’ skin while keeping it soft and moisturised.

So what is nappy rash?

It’s an inflammation of the baby’s skin found in the nappy area.

What causes it?

Baby sitting in a damp or soiled nappy for a long period (overnight is often the cause of this).

The nappy rubbing against the baby’s skin.

Not thoroughly cleaning the nappy area.

Bath products can cause irritation i.e. soap, bubble bath etc.

An aversion to a brand of baby wipes.

An aversion to a brand of nappies.

Medication and in particular antibiotics.

Teething can create more acidity in the stools causing the skin more irritation

Illness.

Why choose Bepanthen?

It contains no unnecessary ingredients including sensitisers such as fragrances, preservatives or antiseptics.

There are no toxic ingredients.

Enhances natural protection of the skin.

Clinically proven.

All ingredients are safe to use and beneficial.

Maintains optimum moisture levels.

Where can I buy Bepanthen?

Bepanthen is sold in all leading supermarkets, chemists and independent pharmacies.  It costs £3.99 for a 30g tube or £7.99 for a 100g tube.

Although you can buy it currently on Amazon here direct from Bepanthen for £4.86 for 100g.

Or you could enter my competition to win a 6 month supply of Bepanthen along with a £50 John Lewis voucher and a Bepanthen toy.

Just use rafflecopter below to enter and a winner will be drawn in two weeks time.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is sponsored by Bepanthen.

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Before you embark on a having children, notions of babies and how to raise them never seem that hard.

And then that first pregnancy starts to take its toll.  It’s the first time that you suddenly realise that perhaps raising a family isn’t all that easy.  After all that pregnancy glow is lost somewhere and you’re struggling to find it.

On top of feeling out of your depth you start to look at baby items, only to fear how this small new addition can cost so much.

Do they really need everything that’s listed on the websites you’re scouring?

Thankfully, the NCT; a well-known family charity who support parents throughout pregnancy and into childhood, have joined forces with Kiddicare; a baby equipment retailer since 1974, to provide advice to parents while passing on exclusive offers on the necessary products for your nursery.

The NCT is certainly a charity I’d encourage all first time expectant parents to get in touch with and to consider.  It’s something I didn’t do with my first-born, and something I regretted.  Consequently, I felt out of my depth after he was born.  Simple tasks such as bathing a baby and soothing them properly were not within my understanding.  I was anxious and nervous about making mistakes.  I felt I was expected to just know what to do, but those aspects of parenting just didn’t come naturally.

Life has changed, and the notion of a village helping you raise your family no longer exists.  That village is something you have to arm yourself with before the birth, and knowledge is the new village.  And over 90,000 parents yearly choose the NCT to provide them with that knowledge.

With Kiddicare now part of the team, that support and knowledge is growing.

The two companies will endeavour to provide joint information, awareness campaigns and in store events for parents.  Kiddicare have already produced a helpful car seat guide to support antenatal class members better understand the latest safety regulations to help them make well-informed decisions when it comes to purchasing.

Kiddicare stores; which are part of the Dunelm family, will also provide free requested car seat checks and will make sure the car and the car seat are compatible.

Plus with baby friendly facilities it makes buying for your child after they arrive a much more enjoyable experience.

Customer Director at Dunelm and Kiddicare, Leonie Foster said: “Pregnancy and early parenthood is an exciting time but we also know there is a lot to think about, especially if it’s a new experience for you, so we are delighted to be partnering with NCT to provide additional support and advice for parents and their families.

Sam Grimstone, head of partnerships at NCT said: “We think Kiddicare and NCT are a great match and we’re really excited by this partnership. Through sharing knowledge and information with Kiddicare it’ll help us achieve our mission to support parents throughout the first 1,000 days of pregnancy.”

Disclosure: In partnership with Kiddicare.

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At the end of my post on the event for the Baby Jogger City Select Lux, I promised you a full review of this new stroller.

I was enamoured by the stroller when I heard all about its capabilities during the event, but how did it function when it came to practice?

Very well I’m pleased to announce, and it certainly rivals all the other leading all-terrain strollers that are aimed at new parents looking for that all-in-one pram.

Going from the Baby Jogger City Tour which we use daily to the Baby Jogger City Select Lux took some getting used to.  I’m so used to using a small, compact pop up stroller now that suddenly reverting back to an all-terrain one took some readjusting when it came to size.

But like I’ve said previously, having both types of strollers I think is something all parents should have access to.  Each type of stroller provides a different lifestyle need.

And this couldn’t have been more apparent than the sudden onset of snow and ice that we woke up to recently.

The wheels cut through the snow seamlessly, and the tyres gripped the ice well without pulling in any other direction even without the front wheels being locked (there is an option to lock them if required).

Never once did it veer off in any other direction other than where I needed it to go.

This traction was essential during those snowy and icy couple of days to keep the baby safe while I walked my oldest child to nursery.

His nursery is perched right on top of a hill typically, and I had him holding onto the side of the pram while I pushed the stroller up the hill.  While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend having a near four-year old child hanging off the handle bars, the Baby Jogger City Select Lux prevented him from falling and slipping as it helped to keep his balance on pure ice.  The weight of the stroller is obviously well spread out that it was able to distribute the weight to keep it pushing in the direction required without much effort on my behalf.

Coming back down that hill, the hand brake by the handle bars really helped to safely navigate the ice again.  The brake can be used like a bicycle brake so it can be applied at intervals to slow the stroller down by gently squeezing it.  Or in my case steady it when gravity was trying to pull it (and me) down the icy hill.

While I’m sure Baby Jogger didn’t build the brake for ice reasons, it goes to show how well they’ve thought about the function of this stroller.  With the ability to seat up to three children, the weight going down a hill may pull on any parent pushing, so squeezing the brake helps to keep that control.

Of course the brake can also be fully applied easily by pushing the lever all the way down in the opposite direction.  And a simple click of the unlock button releases the brake by the handle bar again.

The magic of this stroller however isn’t just its all-terrain features.  It’s the fact it has over 20 different configurations making it a suitable stroller for a growing family, or a family looking at strollers for multiple young children.  It can be used as a single stroller, a double stroller or even a triple stroller.

We tested this ourselves with the use of a second seat.

The second seat can be added or removed easily with adaptors, and just like the first seat it can hold up to 20kg and it can recline to suit the childs comfort needs just like the primary seat.

That meant we could fully test out the combination with our daughter and son.

Both seats can be put in any position, forward facing or parent facing.  And of course the seats can both be replaced by bassinets too if you have newborns.

Both seats have netted and zipped storage behind them, which I think would make great storage for nappies and wipes per child.  Especially if required for two separate aged young children.

Our son really doesn’t need to be using a stroller anymore, but he happily sat in the stroller seat and really didn’t want to get out.  In fact both my children were comfortable and content in their seats.

What I learnt as I was pushing it around is that going up curbs with a heavy child sat at the front is impossible due to the weight, so either sit the heaviest child in the seat closest to the parent or go up and down curbs backwards.  Although more realistically, with a child that weighs what my son does (18kg), it’s more likely the bench seat would be more appropriate than a full second seat.

In fact the bench seat is something that deserves to be mentioned, because it’s something that I think the market has been missing and a product many parents would get use out of as their family grows.

The bench seat is for occasional use when a child is starting to develop that independence away from needing a stroller full-time, but having the security of their being something should the need arise.

If we’re out for a full day, our oldest child can get quite weary with the amount of walking we end up doing.  So even for our near 4-year-old son this bench seat would come in handy.

The other thing I need to mention with this stroller is the ample basket space.  With an all-terrain stroller one of my must have features is huge basket space.  I often use this kind of stroller to do my supermarket shops after the nursery drop off, so having space where I can avoid carrying anything is something I look out for.

The basket ticks this feature and then some.

The basket was big enough to carry the second seat unit and the adaptors when the second seat wasn’t in use with our son, meaning that the stroller is convertible on the go without being stuck lugging a huge seat around with you.  It still had enough space left over as well to pop in our Christmas shopping and made the stroller nice and compact when we jumped on the bus to head home.

But should you require more space, the Baby Jogger City Select Lux has a shopping bag that can be attached to the front of the stroller where the second seat would be placed.  Great for keeping your milk and juice cartons upright and reducing the need for remembering to bring shopping bags or buying a plastic bag at the till.

Finally, I can confirm that this stroller has a compact close.  We drive an Audi A3 convertible, meaning we’re always compromised on space.  It’s the reason I tend to use all-terrain strollers for days when the car isn’t in use, and I keep the Baby Jogger City Tour in the boot of the car for days out.

This stroller collapsed easily and both seat units fit into our boot without the usual struggle.  So it’s definitely a stroller to consider if you’re limited on boot space.  To be honest to look at the stroller you wouldn’t think it would collapse so well, but it’s quite slim in width when it’s put down.

All in all it’s certainly a stroller to consider if you’re in the market for an all-terrain stroller or you need something that’ll help you with a growing family.

Price wise I think the Baby Jogger City Select Lux falls into an affordable bracket for £669.99 RRP in comparison to the other big brands out there and it offers so much more with a lifespan that should last throughout all your child rearing days.

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Back in 2013 before Little London was born we knew the potential for our family to grow was going to be quite high on the agenda.  So buying a stroller that we could use with him and then hopefully keep to use for a second was always of the utmost importance.

We didn’t want to have to buy one stroller, and then a year later buy a twin stroller.  Instead we wanted to find the perfect stroller for our needs with one child, and then have that stroller convert into a twin pushchair if needed.

After all the cost of a new stroller is quite expensive, so finding one that fits your needs from the beginning and also your future needs really needs to be accounted for.

As it turned out we didn’t need to use a twin stroller because by the time Baby London was born Little London was coming to the end of his journey with a stroller anyway.

Still the original purchase wasn’t a waste of money because with careful research we still picked a stroller that we knew would last and wouldn’t date, so Baby London gets to use that stroller now.  No money lost in that investment at all.

And that is what a good stroller is.  An investment.

So being a member of the Baby Jogger Squad, I was excited to attend their press day at Bourne and Hollingsworth for the launch of the Baby Jogger City Select LUX followed by an amazing afternoon tea.

Not only does this stroller promise to be useful for a growing family, but it has the ability for up to three children to use it simultaneously.

Television presenter Helen Skelton was there to introduce the stroller and discuss her needs now that she’s a mum of two young children Ernie, 2 and Louis, 8 months.

She’s at that stage where she isn’t able to leave the house without a double stroller.  Her children still need to nap throughout the day, and with just a single stroller she realised quite quickly that she wasn’t able to keep her older child safe at all times.  Being a typical toddler when she turned her back to tend to the baby her oldest would often put himself in danger without realising it.

The beauty of the all-terrain Baby Jogger City Select Lux though isn’t just the fact you can use it for multiple children.  But the fact it can be configured in over 20 different ways comfortably.

^^Here I am sharing the configurations on instastories.

Both seats can parent face or forward face and a bassinet can be used for newborns too.  Two of them if you happen to have twins!

Older children have the option of a glider board or a bench seat once they’ve outgrown the seat unit, which I thought was an amazing option for children such as Little London who don’t have the need for a stroller anymore, but who can still get weary on a long day out.

With a huge basket the City Select Lux also makes the perfect shopping companion, and if needs be an additional shopping tote can be positioned onto the stroller in three different spots to give even more shopping space.  Perfect for parents like me that do the shop while doing the morning nursery run as well.

Of course as always safety is at the highest level with Baby Jogger.  A fully loaded stroller with up to three children is always going to be heavy going down hills as gravity pulls on it.  But with auto lock, a  2-in-1 decelerating brake and parking brake that are all controlled via the handle bar, safety is quite literally at your fingertips.

After getting to test out the strollers ourselves we were then able to tuck into the beautifully displayed afternoon tea while talking all things family and parenting with our fellow bloggers.

All in all a wonderful event hosted by Baby Jogger and a great introduction to the City Select Lux.  Keep an eye out on the blog because I’ll be doing a full review of it shortly.

The City Select Lux can be used from birth through to 15kg and is available in the UK now.  It’s currently priced at £669.99 for the single stroller and £879.98 for the double.  

Disclosure: Pictures provided by Baby Jogger.

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There are two types of pram I think every parent will purchase.  And if they purchase well, they’ll be the only two prams a parent will ever need to purchase irrelevant of children.

The first pram is the travel system.  The one that can transform from bassinet to stroller, and a car seat can be plonked on top of it with car seat adapters.  It’ll usually have a huge basket and all terrain wheels.

This pram is a worthy purchase.

But as the child grows and gets heavier or travel starts to be part of the agenda, the travel system pram becomes quite bulky and cumbersome.

It still has its uses but it’s not practical for all situations.

This is when the second pram is purchased.

Getting the second pram right is paramount for the next three years or so.  Trust me.

And this is where Baby Jogger have come up trumps again with their City Tour.

Baby Jogger is renowned for creating practical, high quality, strong and durable strollers and their City Tour is no different.

Although it may look slight at 6.45kg, this stroller packs a punch.  In fact Baby Jogger are so sure of the sturdiness of this stroller that the chassis comes with a lifetime guaranty.

Its slight features make it the perfect travelling companion.  It folds down into a Baby Jogger bag that can be carried on your back or popped into an overhead cabin on a plane.

The fold is one-handed which makes it great when you are in a tricky situation with a baby on one hip.

But don’t be fooled by its slight exterior, because although the wheels are small they tackle terrain quite easily, which includes the cobbles that frequent London streets.

If needs be the front wheels can even be locked, however we didn’t need to use this function as we found the push comfortable and directional without the wheels being locked.

With a lightweight framed stroller (that can be carried up and down steps easily without taking the child out- they are safely secured with the 5-point harness), it can often pose the question of how long a child can realistically use the stroller.

Of course my daughter is exceptionally comfortable in the City Tour, but being 6 months old that comes as no surprise as she fits the minimum requirement.

But luckily I know she has ample chance to grow into the stroller too as we have used the stroller with her older brother who is a tall three-year old.

It’s quite nice knowing that when we use this stroller to travel with that it can be used for both children as and when it’s required.

The SPF50+ hood also makes it the perfect stroller for travelling with.  The hood features a peep through window so that even when it’s down I can always check on my daughter as I’m pushing her along.

And the seat multi-recline certainly makes it an appropriate napping tool for travelling with a young baby.

The basket size on this stroller is probably the only reason I wouldn’t use this stroller for a grocery shop.  The space just isn’t functional enough.  But that’s not surprising given that it’s a compact stroller.

There is enough space however to store everything a baby might need on a full day out including extra clothes, jumpers and a large thermos flask for making up hot milk on the go.  There’s also a pocket at the back of the seat for storing some slim items such as nappies and baby wipes.

In addition, there’s also a zipped section by the stroller basket for any items that need extra safeguarding, like keys or for storing the stroller bag.

The stroller itself currently comes in a range of four colours and to upgrade your City Tour, Baby Jogger also sell a belly bar, a cup holder and a rain cover to fit the stroller perfectly.

If you want to see the stroller in action on holiday keep an eye out on the blog as we’ll be taking it with us when we visit Thailand and Cambodia.

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I was 29 years old when I became a mum.

It’s not a bad age to become a first time mum, although personally I did feel I was slightly young to be embarking on such a big life change.  I was more acutely aware of this due to the fact that I was the first out of my friends to get pregnant and have a child.

I was ill prepared and disadvantaged from the start because no one could really give me honest advice about children or childbirth.  Even my own mum could offer no real help as things have changed drastically since she had my sister and I, so her knowledge was also null and void.

Because of this I trusted my care entirely to the health professionals I was allocated.

I had no one else to turn to during this time so every question I had was directed at them, and I believed that they had the answers I desperately sought.

I remember the weight of my gigantic belly being laughed off.  My worries and concerns that my child was going to be big.  The immense feeling of internal tearing I could feel.  The fact my skin felt fully stretched and uncomfortable like it was just going to rip apart.

The crippling debilitating pain I felt in my upper left side which saw me admit myself into hospital three times before my due date because the pain was excruciating.  I vividly remember brushing my teeth in tears because I couldn’t stand up straight and the idea of walking a few steps to my bed afterwards seemed like an impossible feat.

To this day I don’t know what that pain was, but logically it must have been my son doing his best to crack my ribs as the space internally became too small for him.

I was told just to ‘walk’ to kick-start labour.  They weren’t listening to me.  I couldn’t walk.

But I trusted them and all my niggles, aches and pains just made me feel stupid.

In hindsight I was let down hugely by the system from start to finish.

What I didn’t realise then but learnt with my second child was that I had a choice.

I had a choice over every aspect of my care including the hospital I gave birth in.

My birth with my son wasn’t any better.  If my team had listened to me they would have known my son was too big for my frame (later confirmed by a consultant).  A caesarean could have been scheduled in and the labour would have been kinder to me compared to the 48 hours of induced labour I endured.

I remember my waters breaking along with a lot of blood but because my body didn’t go into proper labour I was induced that evening by a midwife who didn’t believe my waters had gone and she felt I was being given a bed when I didn’t need it.

That made me feel great *rolls eyes*.

She gave me some high dose induction drugs via the pessary and the drip and just left me alone for 12 hours.

Some women can bear induction pain, I couldn’t.  In fact the pain was so bad I couldn’t speak.  I couldn’t make a sound.  I couldn’t even move position.  It was like I was frozen just dealing with the contractions coming thick and fast.

I had to send Mr London Mum out of my room to go and find anyone to offer me pain relief.  Being left alone I felt so vulnerable and scared.  I was in the most pain I’d ever been in and I had no one there to help me.

Internally I felt conflicted.  I felt like as a woman this must just be what labour was and I just had to deal with it, but the other side of me knew that this wasn’t right.

When my midwife finally reappeared with a pill for me to swallow she was surprised at how silent I was because of the strength of my contractions.  My silence wasn’t because I was bearing it.  It was because I couldn’t bear it.  She refused to entertain any other pain relief telling me I was coping and not listening to me through the limited amount of speech I could muster.

With my new midwife taking over I eventually had the epidural which she’d requested on my behalf.  She could see I wasn’t coping and she never left my side.  She was the care I needed all along.  Someone who supported me from beginning to end.

Little London’s heart rate kept dropping and the full emergency team were called in a couple of times before they picked up that I had sepsis.  Every time my body tried to sleep his heart rate would plummet some more.  As I knew all along a caesarean was the only way to get him out safely.

If only they’d listened to me about his size.

His birth was a whirlwind.  I got a quick glimpse before he was taken straight down to intensive care, and that immediate bond you should have with your child was ripped from me.

My experience can only be described as traumatic.  It without a doubt contributed to my post natal depression.

For close to a year afterwards I couldn’t discuss his birth without crying.  My body was in shock and I really could have used some sort of counselling to get me through those dark days to help me recover.  But no one ever asked me how I was.

For months after I blamed Mr London Mum.  I had no one else to blame.  He’d take the brunt of my anger about the whole experience.  Some of that trauma I still live with now.  The diastasis recti, the back pain because I have no core muscles.  The physical aspect over how my body looks knowing I can never return to how I used to be.  That loss of feeling womanly and the damage that does to a woman mentally.

With Baby London I knew that I needed to be more in control over how her birth panned out.

My first step was making sure I chose the right hospital to give birth in.  With two hospitals in close proximity I had the option of one of the best hospitals to have my daughter, or one of the worst hospitals to have my daughter.  My brain told me to go with the former hospital, after all why wouldn’t I?

But just to make sure I was picking the right one I decided to do a little bit of research.

What I uncovered was that the best hospital was usually over subscribed and therefore they lacked adequate post natal care- something I knew I’d need this time around as I had zero post natal care when my son was born.  And the second hospital although it was under review for being one of the worst hospitals actually had an outstanding maternity ward with amazing post natal care.

Without the research I wouldn’t have known that.

So much to everyone’s shock I chose the second hospital- the one that had been on the news because it was being monitored for failings.

The care they provided me with and the support I had throughout my pregnancy with my gestational diabetes diagnosis made me feel secure I’d made the right choice.  Never was I made to feel silly if I went in worried about baby movements or bleeding.  They understood my fears and I never felt judged.

On the day my daughter was born the phlebotomist talked gibberish to me to help me get through a blood test knowing about my needle fear.  While my midwife held my hand and stroked my hair as the spinal block was put in and made sure I was well looked after the whole time.

I felt like I had real support on the post natal ward and they truly cared about the wellbeing of my daughter and my recovery.  I must have pressed that red button to call in the staff about twenty times a day and they were always ready to help me and answer my questions- something I didn’t feel comfortable with doing at my son’s hospital.  I knew a few of the nurses by name by the time I left as they’d often stop by my bed for a little afternoon chat.  I didn’t feel like being a patient was a hindrance on anyone.

I suppose the reason I’m writing this post is because Care Quality Commission (CQC) have started a campaign that I feel very strongly about.  They want all prospective parents to know that they have a choice.  A choice in the care they receive and a choice when deciding where to give birth- whether in a hospital or at home.  Through their website, parents are able to learn more about their local hospitals to help them pick which one works best for them.

I wish as a first time mum I had known that I could have chosen my care and the hospital I had my son in.  I feel like I wish I’d had more of a voice so they actually listened to me instead of brushing me off.  My fears were valid and I had to battle through that alone for a long time until slowly my post natal depression ebbed away.  I would hate another mum to ever feel that low as a consequence of her pre or post natal care. It takes away those years with your child you can never regain and that’s not forgivable.

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