I have been a bit MIA from the blog over the last 2 weeks, which I can only attribute to a new, full-speed, completely consuming project at work. Unfortunately I am not a self-made millionaire, so work has to take first priority (after being mom, of course). That means that my evening hours where I normally blog have been spent working. Too much. I am hoping that the late working nights are going to slow down because I really miss blogging!
I had a moment of weakness last week when I thought I would throw it all up in the air and quit (both the job and the blog :)), but I decided that I don’t want to do that… I’ve worked too hard on the blog AND, I actually get good feedback about it… so, not quitting. Maybe slowing down, but not quitting.
Not only am I not quitting, but I am SUPER excited about a new series that I am starting where I feature moms around the globe. I am VERY excited to highlight the unique stories and experiences that make us who we are… maybe not so different after all, no matter the miles that separate us.
This week I am excited to highlight my (seriously beautiful!) friend Amy, who was born and raised in the US, but has been living and working in the UK for many years, and is now raising her 7 month old (ADORABLE) daughter there. Here’s what she has to say…
Name? Amy P.
Where are you from? Longview, WA, USA
Where do you currently live? London, England
Where was your baby born? London, England
If you’d like to share…how old are you?…How old were you when you had your baby(ies)? Currently 36, gave birth at 35
When you were pregnant, what kind of care did you receive? (What healthcare was available for you and what did you take advantage of?)
Because we have been residing in the UK, we have been able to take advantage of The National Health Service (NHS), which is free. All doctor visits, scans, tests etc where free of charge, including 1 year of free prescriptions and dental care.
Did anything surprise you about being pregnant?
My pregnancy was pretty uneventful. I didn’t have any cravings or sickness. I kept moderately active (stopped running, but walked a lot) and ate relatively decent. I think this was one of the reasons I didn’t find being pregnant too difficult .. in fact I enjoyed it. The most surprising thing for me was the consistent weight gain and changing body shape.
What “old wives tales” did you hear / follow when you were expecting?
I can’t really think of any …
Did you have your baby at home, in a birthing center, a hospital? What was your experience like?
We planned to have our baby naturally, in a birthing pool, in the University College London Hospital birthing suite. We prepared for the natural birth by taking hypno-birthing classes and I used a lot of visualisation techniques prior to going into labour. When all was said and done though, it didn’t go according to plan – we ended up in the theatre with a forcep delivery and I never even stepped foot in the birthing centre. The pain was too intense so I opted for an epidural at about 5 CM dilated and over the course of the labour the babies heart rate began dropping so we had to be under close supervision of the lead doctors and consultants. From first push to delivery lasted probably 8 mins and took 4 pushes.
Did you take a maternity leave? For how long? Tell us about it…
I took 8 months of maternity leave. I left work 2 months before the baby was due just to have some extra time to get ready. Then stayed at home with my daughter for 6 months before returning to work. It’s been a very enjoyable experience… trying at times … but overall enjoyable. I met 8 other mothers who all delivered within a week of each other so we have since become good friends and get together regularly for baby classes, walks, lunches etc.
Was your baby named after someone? Is there any cultural significance or tradition in the baby naming process?
Because my husband is French, we decided early on that we wanted a name that was pronounced the same in French and English. This meant we couldn’t have a name that ended in a consonant as they are usually silent in French. When we found out we were having a girl, we quickly agreed on the name Emma (thank goodness because I have wanted that name since I was a young girl) and her middle name is after my little cousin, Scout.
If your baby is old enough, what was their first food besides milk? Is there a specific “rule” here?
Emma’s first food was avocado, which she loved. She began weaning at 5.5 months and has always been a very good eater. I have the luxury of being able to make all her purees and foods so it’s been a fun experience for both of us to discover new tastes and textures. I moved her quickly to chunkier purees and she quickly learned how to ‘chew’ with her little toothless gums. We are also following a semi baby-led weaning approach whereby we let Emma play with the food and textures and feed herself.
What’s been your favorite baby phase to date?
Emma was incredibly colicky as a young baby. For the first three months of her life it felt like all she did was cry … and so did mom! That was a very hard time for everyone. From about 4 months, when she outgrew the colic, she has really started to come into her own and develop a personality. This is my favourite phase to date .. she is 7 months and rolling all over the living room floor, giggling at dad’s silly jokes and smiling a lot.
What is your favorite activity to do with your baby/child?
We love to take walks in the pram , especially on sunny days. We spend a lot of time in the parks in and around London, looking at the wildlife and watching other kids at the big kids play grounds. She just likes to be out and be social.
Are there specific services or websites that you rely / relied on for new mom advice?
What advice do you have for new or expecting moms in any country?
When you feel crazed and confused and a little lost (all inevitable in the first months), just try to remember to step back and listen to your own instincts and intuition. It’s easy to get caught up in Google and self diagnosis at every turn. If you just tune into you, and your baby, sure enough he/she will lead you to where you both need to be. Being a new mom is the scariest but most rewarding thing there is … and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all.
Also, I would highly suggest; if you need help, ask for it. No matter how big or small the ask, there are always people around you that would be more than willing to help. Take advantage of it!
Thank you, Amy. So fun reading about your story (and seeing cute pictures of Emma!). You’re an awesome mom (or should I say “mum”?)! Also, you’re clearly back to running and you are a rockstar!
Do you want to share your story from across the globe? I’d love to feature you! Please leave a comment or drop me an email.