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Sarah and Debs visit Mummy & Little Me Retreats

Tuesday, 26 November 2013  | 

So I'm coming up for 32 weeks now and I can feel myself starting to slow down. I'm getting really tired, everything is starting to feel like hard work, my body seems to be expanding at a rate of knots and even bending over to put my shoes on is a mammoth task. I'm starting to understand why people have husbands as it would be great to have an extra pair of hands around. My love affair with being pregnant has definitely come to an end, that 2nd trimester I really enjoyed as I could feel the baby moving but physically I wasn't hampered by it. Now in the 3rd trimester I seem to have reverted back to how I felt at the beginning where I just don't have full control of my body and I don't enjoy it. I know I didn't choose to be in this situation, although some could argue that actually I did, but being pregnant and on your own is really hard and I'm not sure if it's an experience I would repeat or recommend. I don't think that the NCT classes help, I'm now fully convinced that the woman that runs it doesn't like me at all, it's totally centred around couples and of course, that doesn't include me, so when she starts going on about partners and having sex to help bring on labour I just crack jokes at the back of the room, which of course she doesn't appreciate. I don't blame her. If I hadn't paid good money or wanted to meet people that were also pregnant in the area I would just stop going, my enthusiasm for it has totally disappeared, but I've only got 2 more weeks to go. I think my main bug bear with it is that the lady who runs it is always putting midwives down and I don't like that at all. I think she wants us all to give birth on our kitchen floors, with no help, and surrounded by candles and whale music. But the reality is that the majority of us won't be giving birth like that so I think she should be making us feel a bit more confident with the help that's around. The midwives, after all, do this every day, they have seen hundreds of births, almost every scenario they have dealt with and they are the absolute experts so you'd be bonkers not to trust them. They know what they are doing.


I know that the midwives know what they are doing as I was lucky enough to spend the whole weekend with one last weekend and you can tell from talking to her that she's got a lifetime of experience. Last weekend I went to the launch of Mummy and Little Me Pregnancy Retreats and it was amazing. It started at 2pm on the Saturday, which was great as it gave me time to walk the dog and get stuff done before I headed off. I went to pick up Debs, who was hungover, and I sat on her sofa eating cheese cake left over from her dinner party the night before while she packed her back and dithered about. We set off late and rowed in the car about the route we should take, then we were stuck in traffic so by the time we arrived at Champneys it was all a bit fraught and we were late. Not a problem for MMLM, then gave us our welcome pack, chatted away and calmed us(me) down and showed us to our room and we still had half and hour before the first workshop began. I have done a few spa breaks before but never to Champneys so was very excited, our rooms were massive, and we had lovely big beds but the best bit was what was on the beds. A massive goody bag full of stuff for me and the baby. It was wonderful, lots of delicious chocolates, which we immediately opened ignoring the healthy bowl of fruit that had been left out for us. An Aden & Anais blanket, covers and bibs, just like little Prince George had when Wills and Kate first brought him out of hospital and a Pacapod nappy bag which it the nappy bag I'd had my eye on for ages. All my bad mood and stress lifted, this is a gonna be a great weekend I thought and quickly pulled on my tankini and went along to the first workshop in my dressing gown. 


In the first workshops we were introduced to our Midwife, Alison, who works on the Lindo wing where Prince George was born and our resident GP, Dr Runa, who specialises in womens health. There were a few expectant mums there, some first time, some with a few children already, some with partners and some not and the atmosphere was great. Alison and Runa spoke about giving birth, what to expect and what could happen and they have a great way of putting you at ease. Even though by this point I'd had 3 weeks of Antenatal classes covering the same topic this felt totally different, it was relaxed and inclusive and nothing was made to feel wrong. They really know what they are talking about and put your feelings first, not what they believe which was such a refreshing change. After the workshop I had a massage and then a swim and then managed to locate my sister and we went to the room where I had a photo shoot with a lovely photographer who took some great pictures of my baby bump.
At dinner we all got to sit on a table to together and I got to chat with Dr Runa (who advised me that I should have the flu jab I'd been umming and ahhing about) and Alison some more and also some of the other mums and listened to everyone's opinions and shared stories. The food at Champneys is delicious however I was the only pregnant lady to have a glass of wine at dinner, and I looked over jealously at my sister who was taking full advantage of being away by having a bottle of red to herself!
In the morning, after a healthy breakfast I got a one-to-one session with Alison, where we discussed what happens after the baby is born which no ones really mentioned to me yet and is my biggest concern, and I got to talk to her about being on my own when I go into labour, when to call my family round and about what to do when I go back to work. Then we had another workshop on breast feeding which was really helpful and dealt with delicately which I appreciated.
I managed to find Debs in the chill out area after this, surprisingly without a glass of wine in her hand, and we discussed what to do with the dog when I've had the baby. At the moment he sleeps on the bed with me and this can't carry on when the baby arrives so I need to start to train him basically to go elsewhere. Shes going to get me a doll to carry around so that he's used to seeing me with something. I did tell her that I've been playing him sound clips off YouTube of babies crying to get him used to it but that his reaction is just to get up and leave the room, then a lovely woman on the sofa next us told us about her dog and how he got used to the baby in 24 hours and although things change the dog adapts pretty quickly.


So then I had lunch and another swim and it was time to leave.
I must have been at Champneys and on the retreat for just over 24 hours and I'd covered so much, including labour, feeding the baby and looking after the dog, ate some delicious food, had a glass of wine, a massage and met some wonderful, intelligent and driven women, including Alison, Runa, Vicky the director of MMLM and my old soak of a sister all of which are working mums at the top of their game that I came out of there feeling so positive and happy and really feeling like I can do this childbirth/mother thing and do it on my own.
Not once throughout the whole weekend did I feel like the odd one out, or less of a person, or a pain to deal with. We covered more in the weekend than I have in 4 weeks of NCT classes and all in my dressing gown and tankini. Not a bad way to learn and I admit, not everything about pregnancy is hard work!

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