Pain relief or not, we should be proud of every woman who gives birth

There's been a big debate this week (when isn't there?!) after Harry Kane tweeted about the arrival of his new baby girl.

Photo from @HKane on Twitter.
Quite innocently, and rightly so, Harry tweeted the message saying how proud he was of his fiancée for bringing their new baby daughter into the world. It was the last bit that seems to have got everyone's back up.

"So proud of you @KateGoodlandx for having the most amazing water birth with no pain relief at all."

Dun dun dunnnnnn.

Yes, apparently the society that we live in today means that everyone is so easily offended by everything, that Harry Kane is now in the wrong for being proud of his amazing baby mama.


Apparently, by expressing his pride, Harry Kane was 'shaming' those who use pain relief during labour. I know, I had to read between the lines an awful lot to get that, too.

He was then forced to defend himself, after receiving so much backlash, and reassured the easily offended that "women can give birth however they would like" explaining how they had done hypnobirthing.

Can we just take a second, though, to notice the best thing about this tweet? The fact that it looks like our England captain is sporting a very sexy grey nightie. 

Hypnobirthing, as I've previously said, teaches you to keep calm and relaxed throughout your labour. It reminds you that your body is capable of more than you realise and puts you in a positive state of mind about your labour, removing that element of fear and the 'fight or flight' response.

Hypnobirthing works as well as your labour lets it. I know people who have practiced hypnobirthing throughout their pregnancy but their labours haven't been straightforward and have meant it's not been as effective.

For me, it worked like a dream. I had a bit of gas and air while in the pool when my contractions started coming thick and fast, but soon had to give it up soon after as I couldn't focus on my breathing while inhaling the gas and air.

Having a lovely time in the birth pool with my LED tea lights and my deep breathing.
Other than that, I had no pain relief at all. When it came to pushing her out, I did it all by myself - focusing on my breathing and keeping a calm, relaxed, positive mindset; even when things started to go wrong.

I was so proud of myself for managing to put into practice everything we learnt. I was proud of being able to channel that positivity and not let myself be scared or worried about what was happening.

But just because I was proud of myself for doing it without any pain relief, and for being able to put into practice everything we learnt during our hypnobirthing classes, doesn't mean that women who opt for pain relief shouldn't be proud, too.

It doesn't mean that women who have to have emergency caesareans shouldn't be proud. Or those who opt for elective caesareans.

Every single woman who brings a child into this world should be proud, and their partners should share that pride. Childbirth, whether natural or not, is bloody hard work.

Pregnancy is hard work, too. Our bodies go through the biggest change in such a short time - I've talked openly with how I struggled with that. Just as I am struggling with getting used to my post-baby body. Our personalities change as the hormones begin to rage; we start to dislike foods, drinks and smells that we previously loved; we swell; we cry... It's just such a glam time...!

So after going through all of that, to bring a baby into this world is something to be shouted about. It doesn't matter how that little bundle of joy enters the world - whether it's in the water, on the bed, on a stool, via surgery, or in the back of a car - the woman who birthed them is amazing.

Our bodies can do incredible things - women are incredible.

Nobody should bash anybody for how they decide to birth their child. Everyone should be rewarded and praised for doing it at all.

Shout it from the rooftops, take a full page ad in your local paper, let everyone know that you survived nine months of pregnancy and birthing the child at the end.

Women are judged enough in this life for every decision they make as a mother. Whether it's the breastfeeding vs formula debate, the dummy brigade or those who judge you for not co-sleeping with your little one, everyone has an opinion.

Nobody should feel judged in their role as a mum. Every child is different - what works for one won't work for another. I hate this society we live in where the media make everything into a competition between people. They make us judge each other without us even realising and that's not on.

Like Mean Girls says: "I wish that I could bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles and we'd all eat it and be happy".

It's time everyone was kinder to each other, and I really wish the media would start setting a better example of that.


I'm back at Slimming World now

I went back to Slimming World last week, as I alluded to in another post.

I know some might say it's too early, but I need to nip the bad habits I have picked up while pregnant in the bud sooner rather than later. I don't want to get to her crawling and walking and me not be able to get up from the floor with ease, or run around after her and play with her without getting out of breath.

My first week back has been good, but hard. Slimming World is all about preparation and organisation, something that's difficult with a newborn baby!

I have managed to make breakfast the night before, opting for overnight oats because I can eat them gradually (my record this week was 90 minutes!) and they won't get cold/set like concrete like the Weetabix did I was having before.

Lunch has been a bit more difficult and has ranged from a ham and lettuce sandwich in wholemeal bread to a bowl of pasta with chicken and grated cheese. Depending how much time I have had, or how many hands I have to eat it with, depends on what I make.

Tea has been a bit more difficult. It's had to be something relatively quick that I can start cooking, Tom can take over when, inevitably, Peyton needs feeding halfway through. It also needs to be something that can potentially be eaten lukewarm/cold. I've been eating a lot of salad, as that can be eaten over a longer period of time. I've found chicken curry not to be so good lukewarm!

When I went back last week and was weighed I was the exact same weight as the last time I was weighed, back in January. This pleased me, to a degree, but also depressed me a bit - as I was four months pregnant then!

I'm 9lbs heavier than my original starting weight, when I joined Slimming World back in November 2016. Then, I lost two and a half stone in just under three months. My aim is to be back to my target by New Year. Which means losing just over three stone.

At the moment, I'm not on plan 100 per cent. It's hard to get all the speed in my meals when they are quick grab and go ones. I do my best at every meal, but I know I need more speed.

My first weigh-in saw me lose three pounds! And I was really pleased with that, especially considering I've been unable to be 'on plan' completely.

It's a step in the right direction, and I am already organised in terms of meals for the next week (once my shopping arrives on Friday!) My mum told me about these pork and apple burgers from the Pinch of Nom website which I am going to try, I've found some low syn chicken meatballs on Morrisons, too, that will be a nice, quick and easy tea to throw together with loads of veg and pasta. I'm also going to do the chicken kebab, also from Pinch of Nom, and the Nando's spicy rice from there, too.

So, fingers crossed, if I know what we will be eating I'll be able to actually get that on our plates and in our bellies!

This last week hasn't been too bad. I've lived off overnight oats for breakfast, as mentioned.

Some nights I've also been making the grape nut cheesecake for when that sweet craving hits on an afternoon.

The one pictured had passionfruit mixed in with the Quark, blueberries on top and more passionfruit scattered over it.

I also grabbed a lasagne from the freezer, from the stash of meals I made before having Peyton. It wasn't completely syn free, as I used a jar of white sauce to make it. I re-downloaded the Slimming World app this week and found out that it worked out about 3.5 syns for a serving of lasagne, so I was happy with that.

I also made my own chips, for the first time in ages, and had a big pile of salad (which got buried by the huge wedge of lasagne!)

It was the first meal we managed to eat at the table, without one of us holding Peyton, since she came home! She was quite happy, though, in her rocker watching the football!

Another quick and easy tea was the Morrisons fishcakes (they're salmon, cod and haddock - I think - with a cheesy, melt in the middle centre) and work out at 2 syns each.

If I'm really hungry, sometimes I'll have two!

The night in question, though, I just had the one with some new potatoes and asparagus.

They're soooo nice, they are definitely worth the syns!

When I did Slimming World before I was always reluctant to have syns in my meals, always preferring to save them for snacks and sweet treats etc. However, I have very little time to snack now, so don't mind having them on my plate at meal time!

Morrisons also do cod and chorizo burgers, but I have a tale about these!

A lady in my group posted them on our Facebook group and I thought how nice they sounded, so ordered some for my shopping that week. When it was delivered, they'd been substituted for salmon and cod (these were also very nice, but not what I wanted!)

I ordered them again on last week's shopping, hoping they'd be in stock this time - and they were! I set about making them for tea on Saturday night very excited. They smelt amazing as they were cooking. I was going to have them with broccoli, asparagus and new potatoes.

As I was turning them in the frying pan, one flew out and landed flat on the floor, smashing into pieces. The air in our kitchen turned blue - I was absolutely fuming. Then I was gutted - I'd waited two weeks for these bloody burgers. I'm not ashamed to admit I cried as I scooped it up in kitchen roll and threw it in the bin.

Being the loving wife that I am, I let Tom have the in tact, not-dropped-on-the-floor burger. Instead, I had cold pieces of chicken that I'd bought to snack on and a hard boiled egg that was leftover in the fridge from when I'd made egg mayo the previous day; still with my broccoli, asparagus and potatoes. It was the most random tea ever.

So, kitchen mishaps, bad planning, and not being able to eat a hot meal aside, I'm very pleased with a 3lb loss. I'm hoping for the same, or more, again next week.

I'm sure I'll be back to update you all on my progress!


10 things I couldn't live without since having a baby

We've established that having a baby is hard, but there are things that make life ever so slightly easier. 

Here are the 10 things I couldn't live without in the seven weeks since Peyton's arrival...

1. Vanish Oxi Action
We've had some huge explosive poos that have gone through nappies, vests, outfits and all the trimmings. They've leaked down her leg, shot up her back - it's gone in all sorts of directions. But, as yet, we've not had to throw anything away. A scoop of Vanish in a tiny bit of hot water, until it dissolves, and topped up with cold water, then leave the soiled items to soak over night, rub them together slightly the next morning to get the remainder of the stain out, and then wash as normal and, voila, good as new. We've managed to salvage every vest and every outfit so far *touch wood*. 

2. Infacol
This was one of the things we got before we had Peyton "just incase" and I'm so glad we did. When the colic hit her, and us, like a train, we wouldn't have been without it. It took a few days to have an effect, but when it did it was like a little miracle. We just give her a drop before every other feed when she's suffering particularly bad and it brings her wind up like a dream.

3. Lanolin nipple cream
Yep, we're straight in there with the over-sharing! But, honestly, this stuff is fabulous and makes those sore, cracked nipples feel so much better. I have two different types - one from My Expert Midwife called No Harm Nipple Balm and the other is a NSPA soothing balm. They're both, essentially, the same thing. I find them to be more effective, and more soothing, if one has been kept somewhere cold (a hard task in this weather, so the fridge it often is!) 

4. A fan
When I found out I'd be having a baby during summer I was thrilled - "think of all the nice weather we can enjoy and all the walks in the sun we can do". HA. In reality, it's been hard. Keeping the house cool enough for her, not going out in the hottest part of the day, keeping her shaded, being robbed blind by Mamas and Papas and paying £39 for a bloody parasol for her pram... I'm so glad we bought the fan for our bedroom when the first lot of hot weather hit while I was still pregnant. It's been a godsend since Peyton arrived, particularly since a lot of places have now sold out. I find it to be even more effective when I put a bowl of ice cubes in front of the fan - it helps cool our bedroom down even more.

5. Squash
I've always drank a lot of water/squash but, since having Peyton, I've been guzzling it like it's going out of fashion! Breastfeeding makes me so thirsty it's unbelievable. I can drink at least a pint of water/squash while feeding her. As soon as she starts I am gasping! We used to go through two bottles of squash in two weeks, now we go through two in less than a week! 

6. Ewan the Dream Sheep
I was sceptical about this at first, but it's turning out to be vital. At first, she didn't respond to it at all. But every time she went to sleep, be it a daytime nap or putting her to bed at night, we would put Ewan on. Each time she stirred in the night, we'd put him back on again. Now, she sleeps for around seven hours straight through. She'll occasionally stir halfway through but, as soon as I put Ewan on, she goes straight back to sleep. That's the only annoying thing about it, he doesn't come back on automatically like some other white noise devices do, but he definitely helps her sleep better and keep her from getting too worked up and waking herself up properly.

7. Muslin cloths
As annoying as it is that my phone always autocorrects muslin to 'muslim', I could not be without these. Baby been sick? Grab a muslin. Dribble on your shoulder? Grab a muslin. Need to latch her on to feed in public but don't wanna flash your nipple at everyone? Grab a muslin. Her feet a bit chilly? Grab a muslin. She poos through all her clothes and all over the pram sheet? Grab a muslin. They are literally so, so useful. We have so many but, honestly, I wouldn't be without them.

8. Baby wipes
This is an obvious one, but baby wipes can literally clean up anything. There's the obvious nappy changes, but also sick on clothes, sick on you, sick on the carpet, all kinds of sick. We have baby wipes in the changing bag, in my hand bag, we have downstairs baby wipes, we have nursery baby wipes, baby wipes in our bedroom... We're never more than six feet away from a pack of baby wipes!

9. My breast pump
'They' say you shouldn't express milk until you're at least six weeks into feeding to allow time for your supply to settle down, but I have been expressing since Peyton was a few days old. At first it was because I didn't have the confidence to feed her when we were out. When she was five days old we went to get my nails done and to see my work colleagues, and I wasn't confident enough to feed her in either of those places, so we took some expressed milk. I carried on, once a day, to allow Tom to give her a bottle at bedtime. I read in Giovanna Fletcher's book that she did this - expressed milk on an evening so that Tom could give it to the boys and strike up that bond. I was really keen to do this, and to let Tom have the same bond with her as I do. I also wanted to make sure she was still able to take a bottle so that, when the time comes to wean her off the boob, she took a bottle with ease. She just has one feed of expressed milk a day, and that's her bedtime feed. My pump has also been a god send for those days when she hasn't fed as much and my boobs are feeling very full and uncomfortable. It's such a beaut feeling draining it all off! It also means I get to build up a supply in the freezer for when I go back to work a few days in October and Peyton isn't with me all day.

10. Tom
This is going to turn very soppy, very quickly, so I do apologise. But, honestly, I could not have coped for the last seven weeks without Tom. He can see when I am at breaking point and just need five minutes to sit in silence and have a cry myself. He can see when I am hungry and will bring me some toast, or a sandwich. He can see when I am thirsty, and brings me a big bottle of squash. He is such an amazing daddy to Peyton, as well as being an amazing husband to me. It's true what they say, you don't realise how much you love your husband until you see how much they love your child. He plays with her, he reads to her, he baths her, he winds her, he talks to her in funny voices - I just love watching and listening to them together. As soon as he is home from work, or we are back from a day out, he is straight there to see us (mainly Peyton!) I just love their little bond that they have already - the smiles she gives him and how happy she is when they're together.