When I was pregnant with my first baby my main concern was working on my emotions, feeling confident, rather than terrified of birth and so I was relieved to find hypnobirthing. I went to a weekly yoga based exercise classed and loved being part of a group, watching as women would leave at the end of their pregnancy and getting closer and closer to my due date.
I was lucky enough not to have any aches or pains during this pregnancy and felt wonderful and enjoyed every minute. I felt prepared for birth and was starting to look forward to the experience.
However, my labour stalled about an hour after my waters broke, contractions were coming but my baby wasn’t moving downwards and so I was transferred to hospital for an instrumental delivery which was pretty traumatic and left me with a slow recovery.
I started my antenatal teachers training journey about a year later and learnt about Spinning Babies and shortly after that I came across a biomechanic who was pregnant herself and I started on a hugely immersing journey of learning about my body. I slowly realised that there was a reason (or several) that my birth went off course and there were things I could do to make changes.
I read Spinning Babies avidly and wondered how it would be if women were helped to make changes in their body – gaining strength, releasing tension- during their pregnancy rather than trying to fix things in labour or towards the end of pregnancy.
And so with my mind set on this I started training and learning and putting things in to practice. My next two births were natural – one under a very stressful situation and one a relaxed healing homebirth.
The exercises and lifestyle changes I made during the years had such a positive impact on my pregnancies and births I started working on designing a course for all pregnant and postnatal women. I also realised how many women suffer with pelvic floor weakness and as I had a few incidences of stress incontinence after my second son I practiced the exercises regularly and was amazed to find my pelvic floor and strengthened (without any kegels) that I have added a pelvic floor restore class to my offerings.
One thing I loved learning about was my baby dsevelopment – I remember reading that babies don’t come with manuals, but actually they do! Through my Sling Consultant, Baby Massage and Baby Yoga Teacher training and with observing my own babies and chatting to other mothers it was easy to see that babies go through fairly predictable development phases that affect sleep, feeding and need to be close. Once you start understanding that as well as realising that you instinctually know a lot about what your baby needs, things become so much simpler.
With my second pregnancy our baby was diagnosed early on with a medical issue, my world came crashing down and it was a long lonely path at the time. I learnt how art and creativity could help to process fears, worries and grief. It was the main reason I trained as a Birth Art Mentor and I used art to work through the pregnancy of my third, my rainbow baby. It was with my second son I learnt about exclusively expressing breastmilk rather than breastfeeding and how using a sling can really help with bonding, healing from NICU experiences and how much it could help a baby’s development. I also learnt a big lesson on grief and letting go when he died aged just 5 and a half months.
In between Bryn dying and becoming pregnant with my rainbow baby I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks. During this time I found out just how many women are affected by miscarriage and how different they all are. It had taken many months to conceive this baby and it took an awful lot to come to terms with losing two babies, working through my feelings of failure and my deep longing for another baby to hold and to love.
Becoming pregnant with my third baby (or should that be my 4th – I change how I describe it so much) was an experience in itself – lots of waiting with baited breath lots of small feelings of success and joy as the weeks passed and I realised that firstly this baby was going to stay and secondly that he was a healthy and happy baby.
During the early pregnancy with my third baby I realised how little preparation fathers get when it comes to birth – there is a lot expected of them but not much help to wade through the big life changes as well as supporting their partner. I discovered a male midwife who spent a lot of time talking to my partner and we decided to employ a doula and this has to have been our best investment ever. She was there to support us all and showed me how it was to have strong emotional support. I got my longed for home birth and my secret dream of a freebirth, as well as getting the chance to have a natural third stage and to actually see my baby’s placenta.
Postpartum care became a big part of my birth preparations for my rainbow baby. After the exhaustion of my second postpartum experience I really wanted to look after myself – I had become much more conscious of self-care and decided that I would actually make definite plans for the first few weeks of my baby’s birth. I found out the best nourishing foods, received a Closing the Bones ceremony and spent the first two weeks in bed resting, bonding and quietly coming to terms with my little miracle. Not only did I get a peaceful time postpartum but my baby was able to make his transition from womb to world in warmth, comfort and peace as well.
So that’s my story, well a fairly condensed version anyway!
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Rosie Dhoopun is a mother of three. A Pregnancy & Post-natal Exercise Specialist, Movement Teacher, Massage Therapist, Antenatal Teacher and Pregnancy Coach. She helps women truly understand their bodies by incorporating movement, corrective exercises and lifestyle changes that allow them to feel in control of their body’s, so they can enjoy their pregnancies, have a smoother birth, recover quicker postpartum and embrace the changes motherhood brings.
Rosie runs her classes and workshops in the heart of Suffolk at various venues.
In her spare time Rosie has a dream of circus stardom and can be found chasing a hoola hoop round the garden as she attempts to learn new tricks.