Kate Humble Supports Local

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Originally posted on Mumsnet Gwent :
As I entered the edible garden of Humble by Nature and heard the sound of excited children, chatting away and having fun, my first question was answered- “Does Humble by Nature host educational school trips…

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Teatonics Mind Awakening Yerba Mate and Laid Back Botanicals

I was delighted to receive a box of Teatonics teabags in the post this week,  beautifully packaged in silver foil and wrapped in tissue paper in brown box with an equally lovely floral postal label too.  Expectations were high given the presentation of the product and I am delighted to report, weren’t disappointed.

Teatonics gift boxes are sent by postTeatonics are a new company, launching in March this year. Charles Grummitt and Rosie Marteau were travelling through South America when they first tried mate (pronounced mat-ay). Inspired by the traditional Paraguayan way of taking it as a remedy in combination with other herbs and flowers, they decided to get blending on their return to Dorset with yerba mate as their starting point.

Blending our teasThe company have produced two blends of tea, designed to compliment one another and bookend your day – Mind Awakening Yerba Mate for your morning brew and Laid Back Botanicals to soothe in the evening.


Teatonics pair of blendsStarting with the teabags in order I opened the Mind Awakening Yerba Mate around 10 am after the school run. Normally at this point in the day I am already tired after the usual routine and craving builders tea and biscuits. The packet yielded the delicious fresh smell of grapefruit and mint. I followed the instructions which indicate that water at 80 degrees is best, and so I added some cold water as well as water from the kettle to steep the bag in. I left it for around 4 minutes. The smell intensified as the bag steeped and the first sip provided me with a lovely warm fruity taste, rich with grapefruit and citrus flavours. Although I could smell the peppermint, I couldn’t immediately taste it, but the tea was no worse off for that. Unlike so many herbal and fruit teas, which seem to smell lovely but taste only of the bag, this tea actually tastes every bit as good as the initial scent promises. No need for sweetener, this was refreshing, with a slight smoky grassy after flavour, and ideal for morning drinking.

Mind-Awakening Yerba Mate - ingredients

Dr Charles Grummitt, a biochemist turned tea blending entrepreneur explains the attractions of the South American ingredient:

“Yerba mate contains all the stimulation of coffee, tea and chocolate, but with none of the jitters and has a fantastic grassy, smoky flavour – reminiscent of a full-bodied green tea, but better. It’s used to boost metabolilsm and mental alertness, as well as to sooth indigestion and other ailments. We’ve complimented it with fresh, bright ingredients, like peppermint and grapefruit to give you a tea that is delicious and unlike any other tea you’ve tried.”

Interestingly, there are health benefits to the tea which include the following:

  • Better cognition and sharpened focus throughout the day, thanks to the yerba mate plant’s triple stimulation of caffeine, theobromine and theophylline.
  • Unique profile of antioxidants, vitamins and micronutrients to boost your immune system
  • Aid for weight loss, yerba mate activates your metabolism and reduces hunger

A member of the holly family and hugely popular in South America, yerba mate was analysed by the Pasteur Institute who concluded:

“it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value. It has almost all the vitamins necessary to sustain life”.

Now, I can’t tell whether my metabolism has been boosted after a few days, but I can report feeling much more alert and efficient after starting my mornings with a cup of MIND Awakening Yerba Mate as opposed to my former tipple of English Breakfast tea.

The second foil packet contains the second complimentary tea ‘Laid Back Botanicals’ which is a caffeine free blend of green rooibos, hops, elderflower, chamomile and lavender flowers. The primary smell from the packet on opening is lavender, which is a favourite scent of mine, and oft used during my pregnancies for a restful night’s sleep. Already a keen drinker of red bush tea also containing rooibos, I was looking forward to trying this blend. This tea is best using boiling water straight from the kettle and I left it to steep for around two minutes. No one flavour dominates this blend,  the chamomile, the elderflower and the rooibos all feature strongly with mere hints of the lavender and hops. Whereas I could take long draughts of the Yerba Mate, this tea demanded to be sipped slowly. A soothing blend, and one which did induce a relaxed state, quite a feat in this household of seemingly a million children (ok just two, but that’s plenty) under five. Fans of chamomile tea will certainly like this blend, which takes chamomile tea and makes it better.

The health benefits of this tea include:

  • Better digestion: green rooibos and elderflower cleanse and relieve indigestion
  • A more restful night’s sleep, care of hops, chamomile and lavender

Rosie, a Spanish translator and tea fanatic explains:

“Our blends are full of fresh, loose leaf ingredients, individually milled and gently infused – we think even coffee drinkers will be converted.”

I can’t comment on giving up coffee for these teas, I’ve never been a coffee drinker, too bitter for my taste, but I will certainly be cutting down on the English Breakfast tea in favour of the Mind Awakening Yerba Mate blend, which of the two, was my favourite.

The teas are sold in two week supplies, lending themselves beautifully to being one-off treats for yourself, or a gift for others, or in a three month course as part of a commitment free subscription. A two weeks supply costs £14 including postage and packaging, reducing to £12.50 if you take up a subscription.

You can order a beautiful box of teatonics by visiting their website http://www.teatonics.co.uk

Teatonics generously supplied the teabags for review, views are my own.


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Bursledon Brickworks, A Museum in the Making

DSC_0792I first discovered the brickworks by accident as I was researching things to do for the Easter break. A brickworks you say? Sounds dull. And yes, it could be, in the wrong hands. But this museum is run by volunteers, and they are possibly the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers you’d ever have the pleasure of meeting.  Not just for Fred Dibnah Fans, the Brickworks has made a huge effort to appeal to families and children – no easy task given that the brickworks were abandoned in 1974 and left to decay for 2o years.

Founded in 1897  the brickworks closed in 1974, being too expensive to convert them to meet modern Health and Safety Regulations, and in 1990 the Grade II listed site was sold to Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust for the token sum of £1.

They were saved because of their unique history. For some reason the Victorian brickworks were never updated and when they closed the men working there were working in just the same way as their Victorian and Edwardian forefathers. The site has been recognised nationally as one of high significance and is the only steam driven brickworks left in the country.

The Brickworks were turned into a museum in 2007 and in 2012 received a Heritage Lottery Grant of £660,000 to help create a fully functioning museum open on a regular basis.  The works are due to complete in 2015 and various works in progress can be seen around the site.

We visited on Father’s Day which happened to be the Country Fair Gala Day.  Gala days are held once a month on a Sunday and each have a different theme. The admission on a Gala Day is a £1 extra on top of the ordinary admission fee, and the museum is normally open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

On arrival we were confronted by a man dressed as a cow unicycling and playing a bugle which was highly amusing to the 5 year old and slightly alarming to the 1 year old. The site is an old industrial site, and as we had been warned to expect, the paths and flooring are uneven and you need to take care.  Crossing the narrow gauge railway line we passed the miniature railway to get to the reception and soon realised that we should have brought some cash with us. Having become accustomed to museums including all attractions within the entrance price we were caught out when we realised that we would have to pay extra for the train rides on either railway, and that there were stalls which would only take cash. The children, having already spotted the trains were determined to ride, and so a quick trip back to the car and search for a cashpoint ensued for my husband whilst we amused ourselves with a large collection of vintage penny slot machines which take old pennies.  I happened to have a little bit of change with me which allowed me to obtain five old pennies to use on the machines.

cafe_cakesMy husband returning triumphant we commenced our tour of the brickworks in the only sensible way possible with two small children, by feeding them in the café. There are tables in the café and also out in the adjoining room which contains the slot machines and outside overlooking the playground.  There isn’t a lot of room and large pushchairs will get in the way (as we discovered with our enormous 3 wheeler), but there are two highchairs and the food is reasonably priced, with a choice of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, pasties and sausage rolls. We sampled the sausage buns, and promised ourselves we would go back for tea and cake later, having salivated over the display of home made cakes.

Suitably fortified we wandered off into the brickworks. Initially, the museum reminded me of the museums I visited as a child, with large display boards and explanations but little in the way of interaction. This improved as we went around the displays, and it was possible to see where the museum is headed in terms of making the brickworks more appealing to younger visitors.

The museum tells the story of bricks and brickmaking from the early days right through to industrialisation.  The idea behind the route around the museum is to take visitors through as if they were a lump of clay being turned into a brick.

steam_engineWe were rewarded with gasps from the children when we got to the brickmaking machine and the first signs of interactive displays, as there was a box of plastic cogs for the children to play with and experiment with and it allowed me to discuss with the 5 year old how the machine worked.

My son, who is 20 months and a fan of all things moving and mechanical simply stood and stared, fascinated at the moving parts of the machine.

There were volunteers on hand giving explanations and if I had been allowed to listen (children not being particularly patient) I am sure it would have been very interesting.

Moving into the boiler room we met a volunteer who offered to let us try the model steam engine, and explained how it all worked and then told us a little about the history of the boilers. My daughter was more willing to listen here as she could touch the miniature model  – touching things being a necessary part of looking at them when you are five.

At this point we nearly missed the next section of the museum as it wasn’t obviously marked but we made our way into a room with further display boards and a video playing. I had no time to take in any of these exhibits before my daughter ran off to examine the model office complete with manual typewriter and old style telephone. She was rather taken with the typewriter but more impressed with a wooden box filled with sand with odds and ends hidden in it including bolts and cigarette cards. I couldn’t see anything explaining the contents, but quite possibly missed this as my daughter darted between displays with a typical 5 year olds attention span. Also in this room were a blackboard and an invitation to try to work out wages in todays money and a spinning wheel setting out a typical day for a worker in the brickworks.

The rooms led to the drying room and past the recently installed lift. This is the only lift in the building and is labelled as a disabled lift. There was nothing on the lift to say whether or not it could be used for pushchairs but having checked, you can indeed use the lift for pushchairs without having to notify staff you are using it.

making_bricksWe came out of the brickworks into the courtyard next to the Kiln and found stalls, country and western singing, dogs to pet, a working blacksmith and tractors for clambering upon. There were also a large selection of vintage cars on display. Having amused ourselves exploring those, I kept seeing children carrying small clay animals and bricks around and determined to try and find out where these came from as I hadn’t spotted any signs. I eventually found this in a room adjacent to the café with a door leading into the courtyard. On offer was a free clay modelling activity, and a brick making activity for which it was suggested you donate a £1.  My daughter spent quite some time making an elephant before abandoning it in favour of making a brick. Also in the room were rabbits and guinea pigs on display, being groomed by their keeper.

DSC_0778No visit would have been complete without a trip on the train which is priced at £1 for an adult and 50 pence for a child for one trip or £2 per adult and £1 for a child for three trips on either railway. The tickets can be used on either train. We tried the miniature railway first, which is of the ride on variety, which takes you on a short run around the back of the brickworks and back again.  The narrow gauge railway has carriages and takes you up to the car park the reverses back to the station, and past the carpark on the other side of the road before coming back to the station.  The volunteers explained that they would like to build a circular track eventually and that would certainly improve the experience. Both railways are short rides but very enjoyable.  All the monies charged goes towards restoring more narrow gauge locomotives.

I discovered, just as we were thinking of leaving, that there was a craft fair on upstairs and more exhibits. My son was asleep at this point in his pushchair so I took my daughter up the stairs and found lots of interactive games for children to play upstairs. I did feel it was a real shame that this wasn’t better highlighted as I had almost missed it.

The small playground is suitable for children aged 3-9 although my son had a fine time whilst supervised. The toilets are clean and there is a baby changing table in the disabled toilet.

We enjoyed our day out  and I do have a clay brick now, with my daughter’s initials stamped into the side, which will take pride of place, er, somewhere… Real effort has been made to make the Brickworks appeal to families and if Sunday was typical of  a gala day then it is a good day out.  The museum has potential to be better and undoubtedly it will be, given that works are on-going to improve it, and we will definitely go back on another Gala Day.

If you’re planning a visit, make sure the children have sensible shoes on and check the events on the website.  The next Gala Day will be on the 20th July 2014 ‘Around the World and Brick Again!’ and will be a celebration of other countries based on where the bricks were sold – and you are invited to come in fancy dress.






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New Vintage Event for Fareham

A Great Night OutOn the 12th July next, West Street will be hosting Fareham’s newest event – a Vintage Fair.

Entertainment will be provided by local acoustic duo One4theRoadLive, who will be performing hits from the 60s; solo act Nathan Newman, and Miss Hayley Fisher playing jazz, blues and soul.

Come along in your own retro clothing, enjoy the music and browse the goods for sale.

From 9.30 am – 4.30 pm West Street’s pedestrian area will be filled with iconic vehicles including camper vans, scooters and minis.

Shop from local vintage traders stalls, selling everything from clothing and jewellery to kitchenware and homeware.

Westbury Museum will be displaying the Hampshire Museum’s collection of clothing and accessories from the 40s and 70s as part of their free Handbags and Gladrags event – come and have a look, and even try some on.

All of this follows on from ‘A Great Night Out’ at Westbury manor Museum from 7 pm – 9 pm on Friday 11th July. This event promises to be something to get dressed up for, with music, wine, nibbles and lovely museum collections from vintage eras. Tickets available from Westbury Museum or call 01329 822 063 and cost just £5 each.

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Glamping Out….at Lanterns & Larks.

Local Editor:

If you’ve been watching Springwatch wistfully, wishing to visit Minsmere and the surrounding countryside, then we have just the campsite for you, reviewed by our Woman in Suffolk & Norfolk, Nic Miller.

Originally posted on Mumsnet Suffolk & Norfolk:


Getting up close and personal with the great British countryside and the critters that make it their home has never been easier and more luxurious with the advent of Glamping- Glamorous Camping. Retaining the romance and freshness of outdoor camping whilst dispensing with the 3 a.m staggers to an outdoor toilet yards away and billy can baked beans, the Lanterns & Larks camp site set on a bucolic pasture in deepest Suffolk, provided us with a secluded, scenic break, luxury extras and a feeling of safety sometimes lacking in more traditional campsites.

glamping 023

Overlooking the copses, woods and deep valley cuts of Sweffling and the 16th century Sweffling Hall Farm (upon which it is sited), the four canvas tent lodges faced out over this greenest of views, interrupted only by the occasional foraging chicken and the farmhouse itself, tucked away to the right. A scenic drive through coastal, rural Suffolk passing…

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Support the Mumsnet Campaign for Better Miscarriage Care

Miscarriage-inpageversionMumsnet have today published the results of a survey into patients’ care and experiences following miscarriage. Around a quarter of a million women miscarry in the UK each year† – about one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage – but the statistics published today show that the treatment and support women receive fails to meet their needs or measure up to official national guidelines.

In a survey of over 1000 women‡, it was found that:

1. Half (46%) had to wait over 24 hours for a scan to determine if their baby was still alive, with one in five (18%) waiting longer than three days. “When I was asked how much longer it would be, I was told I was taking up their time.” A Mumsnet User

2. Half (47%) were treated alongside women with ongoing pregnancies. “I sat with other ladies who were still pregnant and waiting for scans… seeing their happy faces tore me apart.” A Mumsnet user

3. A third (31%) of those who miscarried at home following a scan were not offered any pain relief, or adequate pain relief. “I was under the impression that miscarrying at home was the easy option. It certainly is not easy. I have been in agony.” A Mumsnet user.

4. 58% of respondents wanted counselling, but only 12% were offered it. “I had to wait six months to get counselling and lost six months of my life as I was not coping with the loss.” A Mumsnet user.

5. 56% of respondents wanted further medical care but only 26% were offered it. “The hospital said they’d ask a health visitor to contact me. That was two months ago; nobody has been in touch.” A Mumsnet user

6. Only a quarter (23%) spoke of their experience to friends, and only 13% told wider family. “When I felt ready to talk, I didn’t have anyone ready to listen.” A Mumsnet user

In 2012, NICE guidance on the management of miscarriage stated that miscarrying at home (known as ‘expectant management’) would be the default clinical response for women undergoing miscarriage before the 13th week of pregnancy, but today’s results show this policy is leaving women without the support they need.
◾Only 15% of women who miscarried at home following a scan felt they had the right support, information and pain relief to manage. “I was told, over the phone, to ‘just sit on the toilet and hopefully it will all come out’.

◾11 people were asked to store their foetus at home prior to further tests on the embryo. “[I don’t want to] catch my miscarried embryo in a urine sample pot at home, keep it in the fridge overnight if necessary, then take it on the train (two hours) for genetic testing.”

Mumsnet users have developed a five-point Miscarriage Code of Care, which calls for straightforward improvements in the treatment parents receive:

1. Supportive Staff

GPs, Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) and A&E staff should be trained in communication techniques (including things NOT to say to women who are miscarrying), basic counselling skills and the psychological effects of miscarriage. Follow up appointments and/or counselling for those who feel they need it should be routinely offered after miscarriage.

2. Access to Scanning

Access to scanning facilities in the case of suspected miscarriage should be easier. This could mean Early Pregnancy Assessment Units (EPAUs) opening seven days a week, and/or portable ultrasound and trained medical staff being available in A&E and gynaecological units at all times as standard. Those who are miscarrying naturally at home should have the option of a scan to check that there are no on-going complications.

3. Safe and appropriate places for treatment

Women undergoing miscarriage or suspected miscarriage should be separated from women having routine antenatal and postnatal care, or women terminating an unwanted pregnancy. EPAUs should be sited in hospitals gynaecology, rather than antenatal, departments or next to A&E departments, to ease women’s referral route. Waiting times in confirmed as well as threatened pregnancy loss, but, in particular, for women who need surgery, should be kept to a minimum and not be spent in an antenatal or labour ward.

4. Good information and Effective Treatment

All women experiencing miscarriage should receive clear and honest information, sympathetically delivered. Women should be given information about all the available management options – expectant, medical and surgical – and should be able, clinical considerations allowing, to choose the method of management that best suits their circumstances. Women miscarrying at home should be offered appropriate prescription pain relief. In the case of miscarriage continuing in hospital, doctors should discuss with the parents what they wish to happen to the foetus, (i.e. it should not be disposed of routinely without prior consultation).

5. Joined up care

Community midwife teams and GPs should be informed immediately when miscarriage has occurred, and subsequent bookings and scans cancelled, to avoid women who have miscarried being chased by HCPs for ‘missing’ pregnancy appointments.

Many of the Code’s points are included in best practice guidance fro the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Department of Health, but the research shows that, too often, this guidance is not being implemented.

Mumsnet is now asking the Secretary of State for Health, the shadow Health Minister and the junior Health Minister to commit to improving miscarriage care during the life time of the next parliament.

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet founder, said:

There’s no escaping the pain of a miscarriage, but for this to be compounded by lack of treatment, pain relief, good care or just plain human kindness is completely unacceptable. We are calling on the three main parties to include a pledge in their manifestos to improve miscarriage care, based on the principles in our code.

Jane Brewin, Chief Executive of Tommy’s said:

Losing a baby is a devastating experience and our helpline hears from people every day who are struggling to make sense of what has happened to them and why. More research is needed to help us understand the causes of miscarriage so we can develop treatments that help save babies’ lives. We want families to know that they are not alone and that Tommy’s helpline is here to support anyone who has been through this heartbreak.

Susan Seenan, Chief Executive of the national charity Infertility Network UK, said:

Miscarriage is an extremely distressing, and often frightening experience and sadly even health professionals can underestimate the impact which a miscarriage can have. Good support and access to counselling from sensitive trained staff who understand the emotional as well as the physical effect of miscarriage on both women and their partners can make an enormous difference to those dealing with the grief of losing a baby. We hope that this campaign will lead to better care and support for everyone affected by what can be a hugely traumatic experience.

More information on the Campaign

You can find more information on the Mumsnet site.

How to get involved

Please ask the three politicians who can make this happen – Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt, Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) and Norman Lamb (@normanlamb) – for their support.

If you don’t use twitter, please send an email to the politicians who can make this happen:

  • Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt – mb-sofs@dh.gsi.gov.uk
  • Labour Shadow Health Spokesman Andy Burnham  – andy.burnham.mp@parliament.uk
  • LibDem Health Minister Norman Lamb – mscs@dh.gsi.gov.uk

We need to ask them to include a promise in their next manifesto to make miscarriage care better. Accounts of personal experiences are particularly effective for explaining why we need their support.

Share this on your Facebook page, and tweet about the campaign with hashtag #miscarriagecare

†Source, Miscarriage Association

‡ 1065 women who had miscarried since September 2011 completed the survey between 24 April – 15 May 2014

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Difficult Birth, A Dad’s Perspective by Mark Bullows

I have had seven babies in total, only one of them was a normal birth. My eldest was diagnosed with a heart condition during pregnancy. Of the five I’ve had with Claire we lost our first due to prematurity and then went on to have four more premature births with Claire spending much of her pregnancies threatening to go into labour.

There are three that really stand out on the subject of a dad’s perspective, my eldest son with his heart condition, my eldest surviving baby with Claire, and our youngest daughter who was Claire’s VBA2C (that’s vaginal birth after two sections).

When my first wife was 20 weeks pregnant with our first baby we went along for the scan – excited expectant parents like everyone else. Then we had that classic silent moment, where you know something is wrong. We went round to see my wife’s consultant and he explained that they thought they had found something wrong with the heart. He told us that there wasn’t anything we could do until the birth but they would run tests to investigate the extent of the problem. Throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, the hospitals looking after my wife and baby couldn’t do enough to make sure we were fully informed, answered every question we had. At 38 weeks they induced my wife, scheduled a theatre and had an ambulance on standby. When our son was born she had enough time to look at him before he was rushed off. I followed behind and got to the hospital with enough time to have some paperwork thrust at me to sign before he was taken into theatre. When they brought my son out of theatre and I got to see him properly for the first time I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: he was covered in tubes and wires. Despite how awful it all was, we felt prepared and were able to cope with it. I really have nothing but praise for the hospitals.

Three babies later and despite what we’ve been through, me with my son and losing our first daughter, Claire and I were happy expecting another daughter. She had an easy pregnancy and we had no reason to think anything would go wrong. As she got to the late 20s Claire had started to track her Braxton Hicks. She didn’t get them often but they were quite strong and regular when she did. She even had an overnight stay because of them. So at 31 weeks when Claire went off to B&Q with her dad and a notebook and pen to write her Braxton Hicks in, we didn’t really think much of it. After an hour I got a call saying to get myself ready and be waiting with her green notes.

Claire had had a scan that morning and had been having contractions during the scan which they’d said weren’t anything worrying, so we didn’t think they’d be too worried. They sent us around to the waiting room and gave her a sample pot. After Claire cried out during a contraction, one of the midwives came around and said “was that your pain?” and she got us straight into a delivery room. Even strapped onto the monitor, with a drip set up to stop the contractions and steroids already administered we didn’t think anything would come of it. We were laughing together, I’ve never been forgiven for coming back from the shop with a coat full of chocolate and drink and opening it as (Claire describes) like a dodgy watch salesman and asking if she wanted anything followed by “Oh you can’t can you? You’re nil-by-mouth!”

After an hour the doctor came back to examine Claire to see if anything had changed. He just calmly said “we need to get this baby out now” and suddenly the room was full of people. Claire had her nail varnish cleaned, her jewellery removed, her drip capped off, three consent forms explained to her which she had to sign and her clothes changed for theatre, all at the same time. Neither of us really knew what was going on and, as it was a crash and she was having a general anaesthetic, all I could do was sit outside with her mum. I saw our daughter in passing as she was wheeled past on her way to the neonatal unit. They took a long time to do the operation and Claire took a long time to come round but no one explained what was happening or why things had gone like they did. Really my son’s birth should have been the hardest of the two, but the lack of information in this one made it the hardest.

Claire went on to have another section under similar circumstances but slower and things felt better having already been there.

Then Claire got pregnant again and she decided as it would be her last she was going to get a Doula and she would try VBAC. The team that Claire was under were brilliant, they were very supportive and came up with a plan that we were all happy with. We met some lovely people along the way who agreed with our decision and Claire felt confident going into the birth. Sadly on the day we had a team who were determined she wasn’t going to get the birth she wanted. There was a lot of shouting, they forced her into stirrups which she knew was bad for her because she has pelvis issues. The midwife and doula tried to stop them but they were yelling at me to hold my wife still. It’s very difficult as a man when you see the woman you love in distress but being told by medical staff that you need to do something that is going to make her worse. I wish I had understood better before the birth why she kept saying “Mark, remember, stirrups bad” because for a long time it has been a source of guilt for me, even though Claire says it’s unnecessary. Our daughter was born APGAR 9, pink and screaming after 6 minutes of unaided pushing.

I know I could have done things differently to support Claire better and I think that would have helped how I felt afterwards, so here is my advice to expectant dads:

1. Take an interest, there’s a good chance she knows why she is saying what she’s wants.

2. Memorise her birth plan, get her to tell you what is non-negotiable, what you need to know about any health issues.

3. If you can, get a doula, as they’re an extra brain to remember these things and it’s their speciality anyway so it comes naturally to them. If you do get a doula, attend antenatal sessions with her too, you can work as an amazing team to support your partner if you do.

4. Don’t be scared to question the staff, if there genuinely is no time you will know it, but make sure they explain to you both afterwards. Don’t be scared to tell them no either, practice your best authoritative voice saying “She said no. She does not consent to that!” It is always the mother’s word that goes, even in birth and if she doesn’t want something done to her that’s her decision.

I learnt a little acronym that helps: TBRAINS, it means:
•Time/ Talk: do we have time/ can we talk?
•Benefits: why do you want to do this?
•Risks: what could happen if you do that?
•Alternatives: what else can you do?
•Instinct: what does my instinct tell me (or hers, she even has the say over you, sorry)?
•Nothing: what if we do nothing and just wait to see what happens?
•Smile! It’ll help keep you calm, the staff are more likely to listen to you and calmness is good for a birthing mother as adrenaline can complicate the labour.

I highly recommend antenatal classes too. Claire dragged me to one when she was expecting our youngest. I’ve had 6 babies before, what can I learn from an antenatal class? Actually I found it really useful.

The last thing to remember, debrief afterwards, especially if the birth was particularly difficult. Whether that’s down the pub with your mates, your Doula, or you make an appointment to see a Supervisor of Midwives (amazing people, if doc says no, ask the SoM!) Don’t try to hide it from your partner either, you are in it together not separately, you don’t have to be strong for her, you need to be with her.


You can find local antenatal classes and doulas in our directory.

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