Have you got your Grumpy Trousers on?

I’m only asking, because I have. Or rather I did. Only for a day but believe me, feeling grumpy or moody even for just a day (or two) is not nice.

Leave me alone, I'm grumpy!

I knew there was a problem when everything seemed to be getting on my nerves. You’d think that being offered a cup of tea is a nice thing, wouldn’t you? Not for me. In my miserable, grumpy mind, there was only one very obvious answer to that question, so why bother me by asking?

I felt irritable

But not for any tangible, logical reason. And whilst not being annoyed about anything specifically, I was annoyed by everything! After just over 24 hours of my miserable onslaught, I caught myself saying out loud “I need to go back to bed & start over again“.

Do you have your Grumpy Boots on too?

That’s when I decided to do something. Because when you are in a proper grump who invariably gets the short end of the stick? Your family, your friends and the biscuit tin. Family & friends deserve better & the biscuit tin definitely deserves to be shared.

Do you hit the biscuit tin when you're grumpy?

And Grumpy leads to poor sleep

In fact when we are feeling down, stressed, over worked, under appreciated or a whole host of other negative emotions, good sleep goes out of the window. The impact of a disrupted night is far reaching – because you don’t just feel tired. You don’t feel like yourself. You don’t feel anything like yourself. You are on edge. As such you are more emotional, less resilient, more likely to loose your temper, or as I did, feel down right grumpy. So guess what? You don’t sleep well, the whole mess keeps happening and those wretched days just keeping rolling!!

Resolve your bad mood at steohmcgeehypnotherapy.com

You become less & less inclined to engage in positive activities, start turning to the biscuit tin and find it harder & harder to be nice to the people around you. So what did I do?

I put my positive pants on

How to go from grumpy trousers to positive pants!

I went to bed. I went to bed at a sensible time. I switched off all the usual pesky social media devices and the tv a couple of hours before sleep. I did the whole bath, book, bed thing to myself. (The bath, book, bed thing that your supposed to do with kids). But I didn’t sleep well. My new baby saw to that. The following day, grumpy & bleary eyed, but still resolute on making change, the only thing left was effort. A firm, conscious decision to put in 100% effort whether I felt like it or not. At 06.30 on a Sunday morning  I definitely didn’t. Cup of tea not yet in hand I put up my best facade and;

1. Stopped

To listen and engage with the 3 little people racing around me.

2. Bit my tongue

When at 06.31 on a Sunday morning my 8 year old began babbling on about Lego cards, Pokemon cards, and a host of unpronounceable characters and at 06.32 my 6yo pulled my arm out of its socket in her bid to show me that EVERY SINGLE toy in the house was now gleefully strewn across the living room floor.

3. Took a deep breath

Enabling myself to gather the power of my positive pants before opening my mouth to speak.

3. Focused on the positives

Because even hypnotherapists need to remind themselves of this occasionally. Because reframing your life IS the key to happiness. Because it’s good the lounge looks like a Toys R Us penny sale. Because it’s good the kids are playing the old fashioned way without TV or gaming. Because it’s good they are doing the mentally healthy stuff because they want to rather than their mother is ‘encouraging’ them to. Because they’re kids & they’re happy. Still sleep deprived, still grumpy, did I feel like it? No. Of course not. But for one whole day I would make the effort, whether I felt like it or not. Because if I didn’t, I would continue to be miserable. And where does that get you? Deeper & deeper & deeper. Grumpy trousers lead to grumpy shirt, grumpy hat, grumpy pants and grumpy boots… NO THANK YOU.

I’m not saying its easy. It’s not. But try it. Because as the day progresses it gets easier. At first you feel like a fraud. After all, they can tell you’re faking it, can’t they? Well no, as I found out they can’t. But even if they can they’re so grateful for the change that they don’t comment.

Find freedom from negative thinking at stephmcgeehypnotherapy.com

And with this small (initially challenging) effort come the magic three:

1. Positive activity

Doing things that are a teeny bit high effort (given your grump), but you have to admit are a teeny bit enjoyable (despite your grump). Things you might otherwise dismiss if you were trying to keep your grumpies on.

2. Positive interaction

Putting in the effort to be nice and guess what? Those people start being nicer to you and losing their grumpies too. Even the little people get whizzier & perkier.

3. Positive thinking

This is of course the hardest one but with your grumpy trousers loosening, this one just naturally starts to invade your brain space. Even if you don’t want to admit it at first, you ARE starting to think more positively.

You’ve had a better day. Not a brilliant day (let’s not get ahead of ourselves!). You’re tired from putting in 110% effort all day. But because you’ve had a better day you have a better sleep. Your brain resets itself overnight and the next day it really does feel like you’re back. The real you! Positive pants, positive boots, positive mum. (And YES, I’ll explain the brain thing fully another time).

Should I change to please my husband?

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“What’s that?” Apparently not the comment to make when your husband has just gleefully told you he’s bought two tickets to Depeche Mode. After grappling with the horror of my ignorance, he explained and I begrudgingly understood.

It was going to be UB40 all over again. Going to a concert I wasn’t interested in. And keeping quiet about it so as not to offend… keeping schtum…for my husband. But the brain is not fixed. As that well used hypnotherapy saying goes ‘it’s made of plastic not porcelain’.

Pleasing my husband…inadvertently

I was given the Depeche Mode ‘101’ cd and advised to played it everywhere I drove. “You’ll enjoy the concert more. You’ll recognise the songs when we’re at the concert” He said. We always do this before a concert. We didn’t before Amy Winehouse (way back in the early days) & regretted it. So now we do it every time. And guess what? I began to like Depeche Mode. I even recognised one of the songs! Then came the concert. Gazing at that ageing, gyrating, rocker of a front man I began to love Depeche Mode (and that front man). And the cd? That stayed with me.

Should I change to please my husband?

So what happened? My brain changed. Did I change for my husband? No. Have I ever changed for my husband? Apart from giving up my TV soap operas (and saving myself 7.5 hours a week), I don’t think so. But I have changed? Definitely.

When I met my husband I was a smoker. He was quick to tell me he despised smoking and he kept telling me…but that kept me smoking. My logic was decidedly illogical. If I gave up he might think his protestations had worked and that might lead to more? A couple of years rolled by. My husband gave up the unfruitful protestations. So I gave up smoking. Instantly. And three months later…he noticed.

When I met my husband I was a korma eating, instant coffee loving, white wine drinking, smoker who had no interest in Star Wars, Top Gear or Grand Designs. But the other day I stopped myself as I poured Chan Cham’s Zingy Chilli Sauce all over my cheese on toast. I haven’t changed for my husband but I have definitely changed.

positive change at stephmcgeehypnotherapy.com

Why?

When you are exposed to things again and again its impossible not to become accustomed to them. Whether its an unhelpful pattern of negative thinking that locks you into low confidence, fear or anxiety or in my case, the drip drip drip effect of constant exposure to fiery chilli, strong coffee and what I then regarded as dire tv.

“Only a little bit of chilli” my husband would say as my tastebuds recoiled at the spicy dish he had just lovingly placed in front of me. And that’s what he always said as over the years he increased the chilli content in everything he cooked. He even had the cheek to meddle with my cooking, until…korma lover no more…I thought nothing of ordering a vindaloo and complaining that it wasn’t spicy enough. But why? Apart from the exposure, there were chemicals at play. Oxytocin as we laughed & joked, my husband teasing me mercilessly. Dopamine as I proved in my own stubborn way that I CAN eat your spicy food and I CAN hide the fact that my face is about to explode. Serotonin as I my husband congratulated me on my new, impressive liking for the ultra hot Scotch Bonnet and endorphins as I coped with the pain.

How to make positive changes at stephmcgeehypnotherapy.com

The same thing happened with coffee. He’d insist on making me ‘proper’ strong coffees. Yes he’d water them down for me but they were always a touch strong and over the years…they got stronger. Now? I can obliterate a good strong coffee and I can make the coffee too. I even have a coffee loving bunch of followers on Instagram!

Learning to love coffee at stephmcgeehypnotherapy.com

But it’s not just about the chemicals and the production of new neurological pathways. Sometimes it’s about being open minded & admitting something you simply hadn’t known. At some point whilst (barely) watching Top Gear, I noticed it was funny. Who knew? Sure, I couldn’t care less about the cars, but that show is just too silly not to enjoy. Stars Wars quickly went the same way. And before I knew it the whole family became involved. The kids brains changed too as their apathy became a frenzy of excitement as their Dad whispered….”Guess what we’ve got mummy for her birthday?…ROGUE ONE!”

Even Star Wars style changes are possible!

And Grand Designs? That took a while. Sure I knew my DIY. A childhood spent traipsing after my Father in B&Q ensured that. But there was no interest. Until my husband started working on our house. That gave it meaning and it made sense. My enthusiasm for the trade shows even grew. After all, they do provide great coffee.

So have I changed to please my husband?

No. But I have changed. I have evolved within my environment, because ours brain can change. It’s a primitive survival thing we naturally do… Especially if we are willing and open to change. It doesn’t matter if you’re changing ketchup for the Chan Cham you’ve done an 80 mile round trip to buy, instant coffee for the real deal, anxiety for calm, insecurity for confidence or insomnia for peace. Our brains can and do evolve. We build new neurological pathways, break old ones down. And we grow. Especially when we’re chasing those feel good hormones like Oxytocin, Dopamine & Serotonin. So if you are open to change it will happen. It might take you years or with hypnotherapy it could take a few weeks, but if you want it, you will achieve it.

Has my husband changed to please me?

No. Has he changed? Put it this way…I married a man who didn’t want children!

Has my husband changed to please me?

Hypnotherapy, Stress and The Nickelback Effect

I observed the darndest thing yesterday. And I’m not sure what was stranger. What I observed or the fact that I was surprised by it. To give you the background (as quickly as I can)…

I am a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist

What does that mean?? I am a hypnotherapist who helps you move forward by finding answers and solutions rather than dragging up nasty past issues.

And I work holistically

What does that mean??? It means that whatever the problem you want to resolve, I do that whilst addressing the whole umbrella. And that’s what I am now calling ‘The Nickelback Effect’.

Here’s an example…

Hypnotherapy & The Nickelback Effect:

A woman came to see me for confidence (and only confidence).
After her free initial consultation she reported she was sleeping through the night.
After the second session she said her anger was resolved.
After the third session she said her love life had improved 10 fold.
After the fourth session she said parenting was no longer stressful.
After the fifth session she said her sales had doubled.
After the sixth session she said her confidence issues were resolved. Personally & professionally.

Still unsure?

A woman came to see me for social anxiety (and only social anxiety).
After her free initial consultation she reported her phobia of snakes had stopped and she was sleeping through the night.
After the second session she reported she no longer shouted at her kids & the school run was a breeze.
After the third session she said she was not using alcohol as a crutch.
After the fourth she gave up smoking.
After the fifth session she reported her social anxiety was resolved.

So that is the Nickelback effect. But it was only yesterday that I named it The Nickelback Effect. Because yesterday, I saw it in action, in the one place I NEVER thought I’d see it.

What was I doing? I was minding my own business. Tidying the lounge. The kitchen radio was on, as always. Loud, as always. My husband listening to the Pop Quiz with Ken Bruce, as always. Normal. And then it happened. The Nickelback Effect.

I’m through standing in line, To clubs we’ll never get in, It’s like the bottom of the ninth, And I’m never gonna win…

And nothing. Not a thing.

Little things can be big stressors

Now I’ve known my husband for a long time. A very long time. And I accept him. Pros & cons, risks & benefits, ups & downs, highs & lows. But there’s this one thing he does. And it’s that song. That Nickelback song.
When that song starts on the radio my husband turns. He turns into a fire breathing dragon, who bellows “I hate that song” “Don’t do that to my ears” “I can’t take it” “Why…Why…WHY?!” I then hear running (stamping) and the radio is shut down. Then there’s a little lingering huffing & puffing (the way a dragon does) before a great huge sigh of relief. 10 minutes later, when it’s definitely safe to turn the radio back on, life returns to normal.

Solutions for stress at stephmcgeehypnotherapy.com

So why didn’t this happen yesterday?
Back when I was a student hypnotherapist, I needed volunteers. I prowled the school playground at pick up time for willing Mums. Some jumped at the chance of a freebie, others looked at me like I had three heads. My husband, knowing I needed more volunteers, offered himself up. But what on earth for? Sleep. Sounds like an easy win given the results with the clients I mentioned earlier, doesn’t it?
Believe me, it wasn’t. It’s not easy working with friends, let alone relatives.

My hypnotherapy lecturer warned me, but I didn’t listen. So both feet jumping straight in, I took on a long a standing insomniac who just happened to be my husband. The weeks rolled by and nothing…as I said…working with relatives isn’t recommended.

Arguably the tipping point, the key, if you like was Integrated Parts Therapy, an advanced form of hypnotherapy. But the Solution Focused hypnotherapy played its part too. It played its part well and with a most surprising outcome. “I feel different” he said. “I’m sleeping” he said.

Hypnotherapy for sleep at stephmcgeehypnotherapy.com

Then….”Its that song. You know, THAT song. That NICKELBACK song. It’s been on the radio and I’ve not turned it off. I’m not saying I like that song. I don’t. But I don’t need to turn it off.”. I was stunned. For me this was more significant than the sleep! It said it all about the holistic work I do. Then the days turned to weeks, turned to months turned to years etc etc and I just haven’t heard that song.
Until yesterday. And there it was. As I braced myself for the fallout which never came. I got my very own evidence that my hypnotherapy is not only good but that Solution Focused hypnotherapy is holistic. That clients, even the challenging family member clients, get more than they bargained for. And I now call it The Nickelback Effect.

High Speed Hypnobirthing

Is Emma the fastest hypnobirthing mummy in Oxfordshire?

Read her guest hypnobirthing blog to find out…Because not many hypnobirthing couples can say their baby’s hypnobirth was as high speed or at as many miles per hour as Emma & Adams! But they certainly practiced the hypnobirthing techniques I shared with them and they certainly got the fast, natural birth they wanted. It was in stark contrast to the birth of their first child which involved several trips to the hospital and being sent home, labour stalling on more than one occasion, leading to augmentation and further interventions…But baby number two’s entry into the world was slick, a bit too slick perhaps?!

My hypnobirthing journey really started I would say as soon as I found out I was pregnant with Eliot, which was May 2016. I had already decided that I wanted and needed my birth experience to be different from the fairly awful time I had had with Miles, my first son.

Oxford Hypnobirthing gorgeous baby EliotI joined an aqua-natal group and I instantly recognised Steph who was an ex-colleague of mine and pregnant with her third baby. She told me about her career change to hypnotherapy and when asked, confirmed that yes, she did hypnobirthing as well! It was something I wanted to try; Steph was very passionate about it and told me how she had used the techniques whilst giving birth to her two older children.

I completed Steph’s KG hypnobirthing course with my husband Adam over 4 weeks. Steph came to our house for the first few and then we travelled to her because she was more pregnant than me! We both loved the hypnotherapy and visualisations as well as really having a lot of anatomy explained. I was warned that hypnobirthing was likely to mean that labour was faster and to the outsider it may not appear that I was in established labour due to feeling empowered and in control. Although I fully engaged with the course, I still had an inkling that my labour would be long, difficult and painful like the first had been. I practised and listened to the hypnosis CDs and kept reminding myself that I could have the birth I wanted.


Emma Adam and baby EliotOn the 27th January 2017, I was sitting on the sofa tying my shoe laces when I felt a sort of rumbling, stood up and felt a ‘gush.’ Quite a shock! It should have been my last day at work and it was 6 days before due date! So I had a moment… I started crying…about ‘not being ready’ etc. I didn’t go to work but Adam did and he took Miles to my Mum’s. I called the midwives who advised usual protocol about induction after 24 hours of waters breaking and came out to examine me. They conducted the examination using Miles’s Peppa Pig torch as they’d forgotten theirs! They advised me to relax and that things looked as though they were happening. I had a sleep and ate and generally rested.

Adam came home at 4.30pm having told work he wouldn’t be in for two weeks. We had decided after much discussion, as still nothing much was happening to leave Miles with Mum overnight. By this point I had had the odd surge (contraction) but nothing to speak of. I sent Adam to the chip shop at about 6pm because I felt like being alone. He was only gone around 15 minutes. But things started to happen and by the time he came back my surges were strong and close together. I listened to Steph’s hypno cd and kept moving and breathing.

At 7pm I told Adam I wasn’t coping with the pain and felt like pushing. I went into the lounge, then promptly left, fearing I might wreck the carpet. I instead went to the downstairs loo and took my trousers off so I think my instincts were telling me that birth was close. In hindsight we should have stayed at home but despite it being covered in Steph’s course, having a home birth wasn’t something either of us had talked about – because we didn’t particularly want it…So the obvious thing seemed to be to get in the car and go to the hospital!

Baby Eliot with Oxford Hypnotherapy & Hypnobirthing

We bundled into the car, me on my knees on the front seat, facing backwards and hugging the headrest. I was adamant I couldn’t sit, nor be strapped in. As we got to the slip road to come off the duel carriage way we got stuck in traffic behind a broken down bus! I had 3 big surges all together and felt a burning sensation. I said to Adam ‘he’s coming, he’s coming!’ Then ‘the heads out!’ I just got my trousers down in time and Eliot just sort of fell out on the seat (which is ruined obviously). Adam was still driving so I shouted “Pull Over!!” Adam ran around to pick up the baby who had cried as soon as he’d hit the seat. Adam shouted to the bloke in the car behind “Can you give me a hand? My wife’s just had a baby!” The guy took one look at Adam and said “I’m no good with that” before promptly driving off!
High Speed Hypnobirthing in Oxford

Adam picked up Eliot & handed him to me. He got a blanket from the boot and then dialled 999 for an ambulance. The first responder was there within 4 minutes and then a big ambulance arrived. Adam cut the cord in the ambulance after a good 30 minutes so Eliot benefitted from all the cord blood. I was even able to breastfeed straight away in the ambulance. We were taken to the Hospital to be checked out.

Eliot’s hypnobirth was totally different to the exhaustion and terror I had felt throughout the birth of my first child, Miles. With hypnobirthing I felt a million dollars! So much so, I was convinced that we would be sent straight home once I had delivered the placenta, which I did naturally, 90 minutes after birth. Unfortunately during the birth of my first baby, I had had an episiotomy and that did open up again during my hypnobirth. Steph had told me the benefits of perennial massage (and various other tips to reduce the chances of tearing) but it just didn’t appeal to me. We also found out that Eliot weighed 8lbs 9 oz (3.85 kilos)!

So I got my natural hypnobirth and my experience just shows how different two births can be. The power of the mind is a wonderful thing and finding someone like Steph, who can show you how to use it is equally as wonderful in my book! X

Relaxed birth with Hypnobirthing at stephmcgeehypnotherapy.com

I have to add hypnobirthing a disclaimer, don’t I?

As Emma says, I do advise that hypnobirthing babies can birth quickly and easily. And now, thanks to Emma & Adam, I have a lovely example to give my hypnobirthing couples that really drives that message home… After all, when pregnant, labouring mothers are relaxed, calm, confident and using all the glorious hypnobirthing techniques I’ve taught them, their bodies do exactly what they’re supposed to do…beautifully and spontaneously…occasionally in the car… on the Oxford bypass.

This is my Good Baby

I did the school run. I know, right?

Two weeks ago I was having my third glorious hypnobirth and this week I’m back at work and taking on the school run (the latter being far more “Wow, you’re not are you? So soon?” than the former in my mind.

So on this dreaded school run I was stopped not once, but three times and simply asked “Is your baby good?” But what is a good baby? A baby that sleeps I presume? Even as a cool, calm, hypnobaby who sleeps well, my baby’s still a baby. A good baby.

My good baby sleeps. My good baby sleeps as well as he should. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Hormone levels are highest at night. He knows feeding at night is important. Whatever he sleeps I am always tired, slightly detached from reality and liable to nod off if I stay still for more than a minute or two.

My good baby criesMy good baby cries. He cries when he’s hungry. His tummy is tiny (currently about the size of an apricot) so he’s often hungry and his milk digests easily. But my baby has a cold. He barely fed for 2 days. My good baby is now playing catch up. So I am not sleeping and neither is he. My baby is drinking so much I feel like a raisin. By feeding regularly my baby gets cuddled regularly, he interacts regularly and his brain develops.

My good baby nurses. He nurses when he’s hungry. He nurses when he not. He nurses when he’s thirsty. He nurses when he’s bored. He nurses for comfort. He nurses because he wants a cuddle, reassurance or just to be close.

My good baby grumbles. He grumbles when he’s not feeling well. He grumbles with his snotty, sniffly nose. He snores, he snuffles, he snorts, he grunts. He grumbles because he’s frustrated, he’s tired or perhaps he’s noticed he sounds like a piglet?

My good baby screams. He screams and screams and screams because he’s got wind. He wriggles, he squirms, he kicks, he fusses, he claws out – at me. He just screams because he’s got wind. He screams mainly at night. Or perhaps I notice it more at night? Wind up or down, he screams until the wind comes out.

My good baby wants his mummyMy good baby wants his mummy. He wants his mummy more than anyone. He likes being cuddled by his daddy, his brother, his sister, his grandparents, but eventually he wants his mummy. He’s happy when he’s with his mummy. He’s happy when he knows his mummy is near. He’s happy when he doesn’t have to wait for mummy. He’s happy when mummy responds to him quickly. He’s happy when his mummy cuddles him.

My good baby knows what he wants. He ensures his needs are met. He knows what he needs, physically and emotionally. He knows how to tell his mummy. He follows his survival instincts. He takes exactly what he needs.

My good baby can tell his mummy. He can tell his mummy by touch. He can tell his mummy by scent. He can tell his mummy by sound. He’s was fine tuning his skills before he was born, whilst he was born and he continues now that he’s been born.

My good baby looks after his mummy. He makes his mummy slow down. He makes his mummy sit still. He makes his mummy relax and rest and eat and sleep.

So this is my good baby

He sleeps. For him that means sleep, more sleep, wake, feed, repeat. Does he sleep through the night? No! Because that doesn’t suit his needs right now. Not yet. And I don’t mind. I love everything he does and he does everything a good baby should.

A Mum Track Mind

Postpartum Confessions of a Hypnobirthing Goddess

I’m a Goddess. A hypnobirthing Goddess!

I birth beautifully, calmly and serenely. And did I mention quickly? Because I’m a hypnobirhitng goddess. From then on? But the rest of the story…?

My baby sleeps

But then that’s the rumour isn’t it? That Hypnobirthing babies sleep. The theory is that the more relaxed & natural the birth, the more relaxed the baby. And my little hypnobaby’s natural hypnobirth was certainly relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, baby does not sleep through the night. He’s not supposed to. He’s supposed to wake up for a feed. His stomach is tiny after all. But he wakes just once (occasionally twice) and that’s it, back to sleep. Of course I’m still tired. We still get all the post feed burping, nappy changing, fun & games and I could still benefit from more sleep but I am enjoying hypnobaby heaven.

I’m fine!

It’s the damnedest thing. People’s faces as I sit down. “Ooh, are you sore…(then whispering)…down there?”. No, not at all, I’m fine. I do Hypnobirthing so why would there be a problem? Why would there be perennial tearing? When you focus on what you want to achieve, rather than what you fear, you are far more likely to achieve your goals. When you relax during birth, your body does just what it’s designed to do, beautifully, like it does for all the other incredible birthing mammals on the planet. And why would I not practice all the hints & tips I share with my lovely Hypnobirthing mummies?
However, according to my fabulous Chiropractor, Tamsyn, Hypnobirthing hasn’t stopped my hips from getting a shunting so whilst my ligaments are still in the last throws of ‘pregnant’ mode, I get the pleasure of two gloriously numb butt cheeks.

Elvis was an accident

Oh come on, my new baby was not that kind of accident! What I mean is Elvis’s name was an accident. It was just a flippant comment made by my husband whilst in hospital. “Guess who baby shares his birthday with?” And his fatal mistake? He then promptly left me to go and fetch our other children. For two whole hours I called our baby ‘Elvis’ and by the time he returned it had stuck. Writing this, I’ve just realised my poor baby has a name ending in S. I’m going to have to learn how to deal with those pesky plurals. I’ll ask my other son. He’s 8. He’ll know.

I don’t do baby blue

I did, at first, with my first son. But got inundated with it, gifts and hand me downs, and I rapidly developed a painful reflux response. I started buying my boy token pink things, just to ‘shake it up’ a little. Not pale pink of course, my aversion spread to that as well. I’d dress him in orange, navy, green, red, yellow, anything that didn’t make my eyes bleed.

I’ve been wishing for snow

The weather warnings have been coming and I’ve been hoping. I know snow causes trouble for so many, but for me it means the outside chance that the school will close for a day…or two. That means no school run. Not that I am doing the school run, my husband is, but I still somehow get embroiled in the trauma of dressing, feeding, packing off etc. The fact that a snow day would leave me with 2 children and a newborn at home, all day, seems to be lost on me. It’s just that school run…I can do anything but that.

I’m turning into a Werewolf

As soon as the evening darkness draws in, my claws come out, I bare my fangs and boy, do I growl. My patience, my kindness, my nurturing & mothering instincts hit automatic shut down and a bitch rolls into town. It’s a combination of tiredness & that primitive mind that’s all too eager to focus on the negatives. And so the stress levels ramp right up and I start to howl. Put simply, I just can’t do evenings. So please, protect yourself and stay away after dark.

I’ve banned the H word…and its not hypnobirthing!

This week I made the controversial decision to boycott Homework. Of course, if the children wanted to do it, I wouldn’t stop them and in fact my son made just that judgement call. Bless him. In these first few days of exhaustion and bewilderment it was a simple choice between spending my limited energy on ensuring my children eat or focusing on homework. And so hopefully keeping the werewolf at bay for a few more minutes. We’ll start up again on Monday. I’ll be back into logical, hypnotherapist mode and what we focus on, those small positive, forward focused, dopamine boosting steps, we will achieve (at a slow pace).

That Darn Due Date

Siri just popped up uninvited (yet again) so I asked “When will I have my baby?” “Interesting question, I might have to get back to you” she replied. Good answer Siri!

But it seems everyone else knows.

The due date negotiations

Oh the pressure of That Darn Due Date! Blog by stephmcgeehypnotherapy.comAt my 10 week booking in appointment, my Midwife eventually calculated baby’s due date as 4th January. I say eventually, because when she asked me the first date of my last period, I was clueless. “But this is your third child, you should know your dates!” she barked “That’s exactly why I don’t know” I gently replied. This was a no pressure pregnancy, if it happened it happened, if it didn’t, it didn’t. “I remember the conception” I said “But the date? No, I couldn’t say” – her face fell further. “If it helps, the day we conceived I had calculated for a mid February baby, but think I added 10 months, not 9” I’m sure the Midwife mentally shoved her shoe up my backside…

Finally, out came the whirly wheel, and with a random spin back and forth the Midwife calculated babie’s ‘Due Date’ as 4th Jan. This was based on my vague recollection that I didn’t have a period on my 40th birthday, that my period had been due on the day of a gynae appointment I couldn’t recall the date of, the wild assumption that my cycles are 28 days and that I ovulate slap bang on day 14 (which I don’t).

The due date theories

Oxford Hypnotherapy for stress in pregnancyWhen I first embarked on Hypnobirthing 8 (and a half) years ago, I was told that after the Bible was written, pregnancy was considered to be 40 weeks but before that it had always been considered to be 42 weeks. I’ve never checked, but when baby no 1 and I went ‘Overdue’ I found this knowledge nicely reassuring. Nevertheless the stretch and sweep was booked, performed and baby arrived the next day at 40+8 ‘Overdue’ – according to my Midwife and the Bible?

When telling friends & family of my impending third baby I simply gave January in response to “When is it due?”. Even with the new, scan driven ‘Due Date’ set at 3rd January, scans are apparently only accurate at calculating babies size to about 20% (either way), it’s hardly a double blind process and (forgetting the February faux pas) I couldn’t help but recall I had calculated for a mid-month baby based on conception.

The due date stress

Sadly, once looking decidedly pregnant, people became pushy – “But when EXACTLY is it due?” I’d have liked to have replied, “Does it matter? Will you remember? Are you offering to clear your diary and help with my kids?” but that would be rude and I’m incapable of lying. When saying “Early January” provoked yet more probing I started giving the date out willy nilly. “Ooh that’ll be a Christmas baby” came the replies. So frequently did I hear those words, that come Christmas Eve I was like a cat on a hot tin roof. I couldn’t relax, couldn’t sit still, and was decidedly grumpy (and a bit of a bitch) as I tried to do all the things I should have already done, given that baby was going to arrive that night.

My first baby was 40+8, ‘A Boy Thing’ I’m told. My second baby arrived on her Due Date, ‘A Girl Thing’ I’m told. REALLY? Despite only 5% of babies arriving ‘On Time’ it’s a girl thing? And now at 39+7 with number 3 I don’t feel ready to have a baby despite being constantly told each baby comes earlier than the last. I simply don’t feel big enough, heavy enough or ‘ready to pop’ enough. I’m not Over Due (but for a few hours) and frankly, even if I get to 41 or 42 weeks I am not convinced I will be overdue.

Us KG Hypnobirthing mums & Hypnobirthing teachers know it is not up to us, or anyone else – it’s all about baby.

So there’s the Bible theory, the Romans who recognised pregnancy as being around 9 months, Aristotle who first documented pregnancy as 10 lunar months or 280 days and then Naegele’s rule that adds nine months & 7 days to the beginning of a woman’s last menstrual cycle (if you know it). The World Health Organisation regards anything from 37-42 weeks as an average pregnancy. A lovely little article by the BBC refers to a study based on precise calculation of ovulation & implantation which showed gestational variation of 37 days. In the U.K. pregnancy may be regarded as 40 weeks, but hop on a boat or plane and the country you stop at is likely to give you an extra week…or three. No one is the same. Our bodies are different, our lifestyles are different, each individual pregnancy is different and so is every sperm…

Hypnotherapy in pregnancy

This knowledge didn’t prevent my stress on Christmas Eve or the subsequent days but I am relaxing as my Due Date comes and goes and my ‘Up Your Bum’ attitude gently grows (directed mainly at the concept of induction for ‘postdates’). All the planning of taking it easy over Christmas, New Year & the Due Date has fallen short of its aim because I’m still pregnant and with all the ‘easy’ food eaten I’m back to cooking from scratch. I’ve given up on my Christmas dishwasher boycott, I’m tired of waiting 24+hours for it to empty itself. I’m back to taking it in turns to wake up & deal with the kids, I’m back to making the morning tea myself and in two days will be back to packed lunch boxes,PE Kits, homework and school runs. I may even have to go back to work…

Despite all the comments, I didn’t have a Christmas baby, nor a New Year’s baby, my baby wasn’t the last of 2016 nor the first of 2017, my babies haven’t got earlier & earlier and ironically the low level hum of tension all those comments caused me could be a contributory factor. And as every day goes by, I get closer to being able to say I TOLD YOU SO! And perhaps my maths is better than the Midwife thought?

A Mum Track Mind

Why I chose Hypnobirthing

“Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, and fall into a sleep like death!” (Malificent) No wait, that’s not it but the principle is the same, or rather similar.

Hypnobirthing is just too good for fairy tales!

Today is my son’s birthday and despite having been pushed, bullied and cajoled about blogging for a year or so now I have got nowhere. So today I decree that “Before the sun sets on his 8th Birthday, she will get her typing fingers out and write a blog, even if it means she (or her readers) falls into a death like sleep”. My son is my first hypnobirthing baby, an experience that has, through an unexpected series of events, led to me becoming a Hypnotherapist and a KG Hypnobirthing teacher.

So all other ideas for hypnobirthing blogs aside…

This is my story as to why I had a hypnobirth. I’m not fluffy, by any stretch of the imagination. I was a total science bunny before a long and thrilling career in the emergency services. During that time I met my now husband, got married, (probably) saved a few lives and put plenty of people well and truly in their place. Then infertility struck and nothing seemed to work. We eventually discovered there was nothing wrong, but that information alone didn’t get me pregnant, the meds landed me in A&E, I was sick of recording dates/temperatures and waiting for the next cycle to start etc and still no good news to share. When my husand declared he was now being used for nothing more than sex (which admittedly does become tiresome after a couple of years), I decided to try hypnotherapy. After all, if it wasn’t a physical problem, perhaps it was the mind? And BOOM, within about 6 weeks I had a positive pregnancy test.

My lovely hypnotherapist suggested a hypnobirth and she knew just the person (who was at that time, just about the only hypnobirthing teacher within a 60 mile radius). I can’t recall how she described hypnobirthing to me, but it seemed obvious that if hypnotherapy could help get baby in, hypnotherapy could help get baby out! But my reasons for wanting a hypnobirth ran far deeper than that.

Hypnotherapy for Fertility in Oxford with www.stephmcgeehypnotherapy.com

When I was about 4 years old, I had a holiday on a friend’s farm. Whilst running from the sheep field back into the farmhouse I nearly tripped over their dog. There she was lying near the back door, cool as a cucumber popping puppies out. She glanced casually at me, very still, and breathing gently as the next puppy started to emerge. So I stood in awe for several moments watching my first ever birth, before running off to tell the farmer’s wife.

And for years after, my view of birthing remained the same. You just chill out and gently pop baby out, right? Wrong! Everyone you speak to the minute you’re pregnant (or they are?!) tells horror stories and what we see on TV isn’t much better. But I didn’t want that, I wanted:

Dignity

 I don’t scream and shout at the best of times and I didn’t want that to change during birth.

Vaginal appreciation to remain in tact

A colleague’s husband had described seeing her giving birth vaginally, as like seeing his favourite pub burn down to the ground. I didn’t want that! Not least because I was already hankering for baby number two.

Control

Birthing classes & baby forums gave me lots of information on drugs for pain control, but they also told of the side effects and I didn’t fancy being off my face, not knowing when to push, or vomiting (to name some of them). I also didn’t like the thought of a needle going anywhere near my back. I’m not phobic, but unless there was a medical emergency, anyone who mentioned such a wince worthy procedure could jog on.

So without digressing into my first hypnobirthing story just yet, I will tell you that I got exactly what I wanted – more or less. Things didn’t 100% go to plan, but what birth plan ever does? Crucially, I had dignity, control and my husband did not develop any phobias. I had confidence, I was calm and I don’t think my new baby heard much shouting or swearing at all.

Ever since, anyone who is pregnant hears my positive birthing stories, my love of hypnobirthing and my joy of giving birth. I usually get looks (and some comments) that mean they assume I am a bit of an odd ball, that I don’t shave my legs and that my vagina is the size of the Dartford tunnel. But that’s ok, because its not true and just once in a while, someone listens and they decide to have a hypnobirth too.