/ The Daisy Foundation with Ceri Elms

Finding Your Village

I had heard the old adage that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and I loved the idea. I was lucky enough to have amazing support from friends and family but I soon realised that I needed something else as well, and as a very independent, self-reliant person this came as a bit of a surprise. I needed other mums. Mums like me, who lived near me, with whom I could share the ups and downs of being a new mum.  A village. A tribe.

In today’s society we have lost that village in its literal sense – unless you are lucky enough to live in an actual village where you are offered practical, emotional support from women across the generations and where traditions and wisdom are passed down. (If so, hold on to that and let us know where it is!)

The benefits of finding your village of support are huge as you learn to grow and evolve into your new role as a mum.  Your village provides emotional support and advice through shared experience which in turn helps reduce anxiety knowing that you have people around you who can help, reassure, listen, perhaps even getting you out of the house if they happen to live nearby, or if not, then at least, out of a rut and feeling less isolated and crucially, that you are not in this alone. It gives you chance to be you, to be a social being, and catch up on life outside of your baby/children, which is really important for your wellbeing and mental health. I am so grateful for finding my tribe when I needed them most, giving me strength, support, inspiration, love and welcome distraction, and they have become firm friends for life, not just for the baby years.

For most of us, busy lives, favouring the ease of technological communication over personal communication, and perhaps a more nomadic lifestyle moving around from place to place, and no longer in the same house , village or sometimes even country as our families, may mean that we barely know our neighbours let alone our village and we may not yet be a part of the local community or be finding it hard to fit in.

 

So where do we turn? How do we create our own village and find our own tribe?  

* Get Social. Follow the mums who inspire you and join in the conversations on social media as a good starting point to open up connections and share experiences. @DaisyFoundationUK has a fantastic online peer support group for mums to empower and connect with other mums and you’ll find other online groups that appeal and resonate with you. Try some of these to get you started:

Mountain Meets – facilitate walks and talks in nature and virtual village events (co-founded and hosted by myself and the lovely Sam Wheeler)

Mums Mindfulness Matters – A new local group based around Abergavenny supporting mums through meet ups and groups run by local mums and their families to raise mental health awareness

Brecon Mums Matter (Brecon & District Mind) – an adapted remote programme to support mums to be and mums with babies up to 2 years old, feeling any of the following: low, stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, having worrying thoughts and feelings. To find out more, please call Sarah on 07535 385512 or Ros on 07399 583415 or email mumsmatter@breconmind.org.uk

* Go where other mums like you would go. Think about your area and find out where the playgroups, parks, baby/toddler groups, breastfeeding support groups (we are so lucky to have the amazing Brecon BIBS group in Brecon and Abergavenny breastfeeding support group in this area, both of which are offering online support until it is safe to meet up regularly again), mums wellbeing classes (things like postnatal classes, yoga, aqua aerobics, running clubs, buggy fitness and mindfulness classes and so on) and baby friendly cafes and meeting spaces are (we have lots in this area such as Bean and Bread and the brand new Marlow’s Place in Abergavenny, Ambika Social (a fab outdoor cafe in Linda Vista Gardens, Abergavenny that’s perfect for little ones – play area nearby & kid-friendly options) and Vamos in Crickhowell to name just a few) and go there.  Libraries and community centres/village halls are a good place to start your search if you aren’t sure what’s on and check local newspaper listings. There may be courses you could do with, or without your child if you have childcare options, where you will meet others too. Once there, be brave, start a conversation with another mum and it may lead to a coffee and a chat and perhaps the start of your ‘village’.

Links to breastfeeding groups and postnatal fitness below:

Brecon BIBS – Contact – bibszoom@gmail.com

Abergavenny breastfeeding support group  

Sweaty Mama Abergavenny, Brecon & Surrounding Areas – fun and effective postnatal workouts for mums and babies/children from 6 wks – 4 yrs old+. Alecs runs online and face to face options currently.

Intimate Being – yoga, pranayama and meditation courses at Brecon Subud Hall, especially beneficial for anyone experiencing stress, isolation or any kind of disconnect from others and the world.

*Join a baby class like Daisy Baby Tinies or Wrigglers and meet other local mums. Being part of a community of mums in a class that supports your postnatal recovery, and gives you confidence as a mum through baby massage, baby yoga, sensory experience for baby and movements, songs and stories that aid your baby’s development and are baby led, welcoming you to relax and respond to your baby’s needs first, is a fantastic way to bond with your baby and connect with other like-minded mums in your area.  Coffee dates can be arranged before or after the class and you can build up rapport and that all important sense of community and find your village.

*Can’t find any local groups or not sure where is baby-friendly in your area? Put out a post on your local area community.  Facebook page or local message boards (bus-stops, community centres, local shops and supermarkets usually have them) and ask for advice from other mums or see if anyone else is in the same boat and fancies a meet-up. Talk to other friends who may know mums with kids of the same age as yours, ask mums at nursery, pre-school, the school gates etc…if they fancy a coffee. It may sound daunting to put yourself out there, but it’s so worth it to meet like-minded mums who live near you.

*You could also set up your own ‘Mother’s Meeting’ or join a group like @thelonelyparentclubabergavenny who facilitate meetings in the area or why not set up your own informal mothers group? I wanted to connect with more local mums and dads in my area and create a community wide ‘village’ of support and a social network so recently started @mountainmeets and @mountainmumsuk with a friend to do just that. After all, if you can’t find what you are looking for, then create it and make it happen yourself. You will be surprised how many people are looking for the same thing and it just takes 1 person to get something brilliant started.

 

Ceri Elms – Perinatal Educator, The Daisy Foundation Abergavenny, Brecon and Crickhowell

ceri-elms@thedaisy-foundation.com

FB: @DaisyAbergavenny

TWITTER: @DaisyAber_Brecon

 

 

/ The Daisy Foundation with Ceri Elms

The Importance of Mothering the Mother

From pregnancy through to the birth and then motherhood. Who mothers the mother in today’s society?

Other cultures and tribes around the world still value the importance of ‘mothering the mother’, allowing her time to rest and recover and bed into her new role as mother (even if she already has children, a new baby brings a period of adjustment and new challenges and discoveries). The Chinese art of ‘sitting the month’ or zuo yuezi is a period of postnatal recuperation and ritual which lasts up to 40 days after the birth. Ayurverdic principles believe the first 42 days postpartum are a ‘sacred window of time’, that will affect the mother for the next 42 years of her life.  Other women rally around to offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to the mother, to look after her whilst she is learning to look after her new baby.

Why have we lost this sacred tradition in favour of encouraging mums to ‘snap back into shape’, get back to work and ‘get back to normal’ as quickly as possible?  It is trivialising the incredible transformation of birth and motherhood. A transformation that deserves respect, time and care.

Every mum deserves to be encircled with support for at least the 6-week postpartum recovery period; to be nourished; to be rejuvenated; to be cared for and to have responsibilities lifted.  To instil this time with positivity and practical support so she can be the best mum she can be.

How can we as mothers, sisters, wives, partners, friends and family, support other mothers when they need it most, after the birth of their baby and continuing into motherhood?

 

5 Practical Ways to Mother the Mother

1 – Be there. Don’t just send a card and assume that she will reach out if she needs help. Pop round and provide practical hands-on support on whatever level she needs it most. Make this a regular activity. Offering once is nice, offering twice is lovely, offering often is actually making a difference.

2 – Nourish her. Take away the burden of having to think about what to eat. If you are kitchen confident, batch cook a freezer drawer’s worth of food. If cooking isn’t your thing, put together a care package of her favourite foods, and stock up on mood-boosting, nutrient rich delicious food that will aid her recovery and nourish her body.  Think dips, fruit, nuts, malt-loaf and long-life milk, tins of beans and soup, plus frozen veg and fruit smoothie mixes are great standbys.

3 – Nurture in Nature.  The emotional and physical benefits for mum and baby getting outside in nature are huge. From lowering stress and re-energising the body and soul through gentle activity, to the healing and positive mood-enhancing effects of nature, increasing serotonin levels and boosting feel-good endorphins.

4 – Mental health matters. Between 3-10 days after birth, new mums can experience the baby blues: low energy and feelings of negativity, anxiety and even despair.  If these feelings last for more than 2 weeks, it may be a sign of postnatal depression so looking after the mind is key to a healthy, happy mum. Ask her how she really is and allow her the time and space to open up a discussion about her emotional and mental wellbeing, ideally over tea and cake.

5 – Relax the mind and the body. Draw her a bath. Create a beautiful, calm environment to help her feel pampered and indulgent. Or draw the curtains, quieten the house and just let her sleep. Meanwhile, you look after everything else in her life. You are essentially her ‘out of office’  allowing her time to immerse herself in the healing power of relaxation, protecting her space and enabling her the time she deserves to rest, recuperate and recover.

 

 

Ceri Elms – Perinatal Educator, The Daisy Foundation Abergavenny, Brecon and Crickhowell

ceri-elms@thedaisy-foundation.com

FB: @DaisyAbergavenny

TWITTER: @DaisyAber_Brecon

/ The Daisy Foundation with Ceri Elms

Welcome to The Daisy Foundation Abergavenny, Brecon, Crickhowell & Hay on Wye

ABOUT CERI

“My priority is to support you, inform your choices and to help you to navigate these waters of pregnancy, birth and motherhood with positivity, confidence and community.”

Ceri offers continuous perinatal support and perinatal education to mums and families in Abergavenny, Brecon and Crickhowell with classes and workshops that offer practical birth preparation and evidence-based antenatal education, including birth breathing, gentle yoga based movement for pregnancy, active birth positions, an introduction to birth hypnosis, elements of hypnobirthing, birth plan guidance and information on all stages of labour and support for all birth journeys and choices interwoven together to create a complete antenatal package;  postnatal baby classes combining baby massage, movement, rhyme and song and gentle postnatal support, exercises and information on baby care and baby development; and postnatal mind body movement classes just for mums focusing on gentle postnatal yoga combined with tai chi, acupressure, relaxation and mindfulness; and parent workshops to equip you with all the information, education and practical tools and techniques you need from pregnancy through to parenthood including baby care and newborn workshops.  

Classes are centralised in Abergavenny, Brecon, Crickhowell and Glangrwyney usually, however we are currently online in compliance with Tier 4 lockdown restrictions.  We will return face to face as soon as it is safe to do so and when our lovely venues are able to re-open again. Online options are always available for Daisy Mama classes to encourage you to make the most of the sessions as a new mum from the comfort of your own home, and for our Active Birth Couples Workshops which work brilliantly virtually, to give you greater options no matter what tier or restrictions we are facing. 

As a breastfeeding peer supporter trained in two different approaches, a mum and a ‘ tell me a good birth story’ birth buddy, and regular contributor to The Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums Ceri brings a wealth of experience, compassion, knowledge, sensitivity and positivity to her role as a Daisy Foundation Perinatal Educator.

Ceri also co-founded Mountain Meets, a local walk and support community group who have recently organised and hosted virtual village events online for mums and families, and will be running walk and talk sessions in nature again when safe to do so. Do get in touch to be added to the private groups to access the wealth of free support, wellbeing and inspirational and informative content provided by local professionals, practitioners and parents.

“Knowing your options, informing your choices and learning about your body in labour, and how you can use simple techniques like birth breathing, affirmations and active birth positions to work with your body, maximises your potential of having a positive, empowered and confident birth.

And finding your village of support and community of local mums along with building your confidence as a mum through gentle soothing, developmental and calming techniques gives you a strong foundation, and time to bond, connect and find your way together, as you transition into motherhood, whether it’s for the first, second, third or fourth time.” Ceri

LOCAL CLASSES AVAILABLE

Antenatal: Birthing/Pregnancy Classes 

Daisy Birthing: A weekly antenatal class for expectant mums to help you enjoy pregnancy, stay mobile, learn about your changing baby and body and prepare for a confident birth. Our unique Active Antenatal method draws on elements of active birth, pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing and antenatal education to create one very powerful combination. From easing pregnancy ailments, adapting to your changing body, preparing for birth and informing your own individual choices – we’ve got you covered.

Active Birth Workshop: A workshop for mum and her birth companion that will not only cover all of the basics of antenatal education and an active, informed birth but also give you both the space to prepare as a team and confidently plan for your baby’s birthing day. Our unique Active Antenatal Birth method draws on elements of traditional active birth, hypnobirthing and antenatal education to create one very powerful combination. From understanding the stages of labour to working with gravity to support your baby’s birth, massage for labour and informing your own individual choices – we’ve got you covered.

Enjoying a positive pregnancy, preparing for your confident birth and cutting through the overwhelm that can come from all the confusing advice out there as you find your way with your pregnancy, your birth and with your little one is what all new mums hope for.  With the help of your local Daisy Teacher and in the safety of your Daisy community you can positively impact your  journey of continuous perinatal support to confident motherhood.

Postnatal: Baby Classes 

Daisy Baby Tinies: A weekly postnatal class for mum and baby in the ‘fourth trimester’ to help you learn how to use baby massage and movement to aid calming, soothing and connection with your baby. Our unique fourth trimester mum and baby class draws on elements of baby massage, baby yoga, postnatal movement and baby care education to create one very powerful combination. From easing infant ailments, aiding their development, adapting to your postnatal body and easing in to your new role amongst friends – we’ve got you covered.

Daisy Baby Wrigglers: A weekly class for mum and baby to help you learn how to use a variety of tools such as: baby yoga, rhythm, rhyme, story and (baby) sensory experiences to aid your baby’s development, your connection and have fun together! Our unique mum and baby class draws on elements of baby massage, baby yoga, rhythm and rhyme and baby sensory experiences to create one very powerful combination. From easing infant ailments, aiding their development, growing your connection and learning about baby’s key stages amongst friends – we’ve got you covered.

Postnatal: Mama Classes – always delivered online

Daisy Mama: Weekly live online postnatal classes suitable to attend from 6 weeks post-birth right up until your baby’s 2nd birthday and are adapted to suit all postnatal related conditions with ease. Our unique mind/body movement method draws on elements of postnatal yoga, mindfulness , pelvic floor recover, mind/body movement and relaxation to create one very powerful combination. From calming your mind, adapting to your healing body, settling your emotions and replenishing your reserves – we’ve got you covered. Delivered online so that you can just relax and make the most of the time out for you whilst still being close to your baby at home.

“Find the class that suits you, for whichever stage of your pregnancy and motherhood journey you are on.  Online and face to face options (gov. guidelines permitting) and one-to-one sessions available.

I look forward to guiding you through your options, helping you to inform your decisions, holding the space for you to relax, be supported, feel connection, build confidence and positivity around your birth, motherhood or postnatal recovery, and take time out for yourself.

I look forward to supporting your journey, whether that’s throughout pregnancy, into motherhood, as part of your postnatal healing, as a new mum or a combination of them all. 

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”

Ceri X

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

NB: Under current Tier 4 lockdown restrictions, all classes will be delivered online, though some dates are planned for face to face if compliant with regulations and venues remaining open at the time.

NB: Current Welsh guidance states that a review on indoor mother and baby classes will NOT take place until 22nd April, with no guarantees then that permission will follow immediately. With this in mind, terms starting before this date will be delivered online currently, and terms starting afterwards that are planned face to face are subject to change and may revert to online if government guidance does not permit us to meet indoors or if venues are unable to open due to restrictions. 

Current Welsh guidance states that indoor classes for adults will not be allowed until 17th May at the earliest, so all Birthing terms and workshop will be delivered online until after this date.

Please be assured that our online classes will remain interactive, using a video platform where we can all still see one another and you will have lots of opportunity to chat, connect , ask questions and feel truly supported, just as in a face to face class. Classes include support emails, facebook group access, what’s app  group set-up and I am always reachable via email, call or video link-up should you need it during class terms classes and beyond as I believe strongly in a continuity of care.  

Your safety and comfort is our priority and we all have a responsibility to keep each other safe and stay at home currently but your antenatal care, support and education will continue online with the same great content and support as always.

Face to face classes will resume with comprehensive health and safety measures in place when safe to do so, in late Autumn when I resume teaching group classes after my maternity leave, so all current advertised classes are the last ones planned until A/W 2021. If you’d like to be added to the waiting list if expecting a Winter or Spring 2022 baby, then please send me a message as I will still be monitoring these during my leave.

Message me on ceri-elms@thedaisyfoundation.com for further info.

Ceri x