Stacey has recently set up her own business, Mama Knows Best, in order to help others in relation to fertility, pregnancy and birth. Giving birth to her lovely daughter is the biggest achievement of her life so far. It sparked her desire to get the word out there and give others the same empowering experience that she had. Birth evokes powerful emotions that remain forever with you, sometimes as strong as the day you gave birth. Stacey wants others to experience what she and so many Wise Hippo mamas have had.
Stacey kindly agreed to do this interview so that we could find out more about her and her fabulous new business.
Why did you decide to set up Mama Knows Best?
After using a hypnobirthing approach myself for my little one, I had nothing but amazing things to say about such an incredible and empowering experience. After coming to a bit of a cross roads in my career, I had time to think about what else I could be doing; something I knew I would love, would still be supporting and helping people but at the same time be around more positivity. Ta da, Mama Knows Best was born!
I trained in the Wise Hippo Programmes after researching the different approaches, as this fit my beliefs about birth the best. I was able to use my professional skills and knowledge in a way that would help mums and dads begin parenthood in one of the most positive ways possible – such an important and valuable time in a child’s development.
What services do you offer and why do you think they are important for mums-to-be?
As well as pregnancy relaxation classes, I offer clients the Wise Hippo Birthing programme. It is a fantastic programme to promote confidence and calmness for labour and birth. It teaches life long skills that are especially useful when labour may have to take a few side steps. From my personal experience of a hypno-birth, I felt so empowered and really proud of what I just achieved that it left me on a high for months, literally. This gave me the best start to being a parent. There is so much you can feel unsure about when first becoming a mum. However, I remained calm and made decisions based upon the skills I learnt. The relaxation sessions promote a very precious time for bonding with baby, as well as bringing physical and mental rest to the mum-to-be.
What would you say are the main impacts of a calm pregnancy and birth on a baby’s early life experience?
A mother’s stress and/or relaxation hormones can physically affect an unborn baby’s developing brain. So taking time while pregnant to manage one’s own emotions is so important, and no better time for some TLC. A baby benefits greatly from a calm pregnancy and birth, both physically and emotionally. In addition, mums are less likely to suffer with emotional or metal health difficulties after birth if they felt they had control, they were calm and they felt confident, even if things did not go to plan.
What helped you the most during pregnancy and child birth?
I loved pregnancy yoga. I attended from around 18 weeks until a few days before birth. It was so calming and nurturing, and the time to bond with baby was beautiful. I also met some fantastic mums who I am still friends with today, along with the amazing teacher, Suzanne.
For birth, the hypnobirthing techniques I had practiced before hand were worth their weight in gold. It is as though everything I had learned just “switched on” when labour began. The breathing, the imagery and the music was a really powerful anchor for me. Even now, if I hear the music I had playing at my child’s birth it makes me very emotional, yet very calm and grounded. My husband was fab too – thank goodness he attended those sessions with me, as he knew exactly what to do for me. The session really gave us confidence to ask questions – this was invaluable as my birth really could have taken a different path if we had not asked about alternatives.
If you could only give a mum-to-be one piece of advice what would it be?
The helpful people would say, “do what is right for you and your baby”, and I should have done this more. I relied too much on text-book advice, or what I thought I “should” be doing. Sometimes, as a new mum, our emotional wellbeing can be put under strain. At the end of the day, as long as your child’s needs are being met, they will be much happier with a calm and responsive mummy, than one who is fretting and anxious most of the time.
Are there any books you would recommend for mums-to-be to help them during their pregnancy and prepare them for the birth?
My sister-in-law loaned me “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” by Tracey Hogg. It was a helpful read in the early stages; I clearly remember expressing while killing time reading about the “pick up – put down” method! For birth, personally I would recommend books for hypnobirthing. Birth can be unpredictable but if you can approach it in a calm and relaxed manner, it gives you and baby the best start.
What are your hopes and dreams for Mama Knows Best?
I want mums, dads and birth partners to experience birth in the most positive way possible. So many are left traumatised or anxious after a birth, and it does not have to be like that.
I would love for Mama Knows Best to help as many people to experience the most amazing births as possible. I appreciate many births do not go to plan, but you can still feel empowered and amazed by what you have just experienced.
Given your background as a social worker, are there any therapeutic children’s books you would recommend to parents or carers?
I love using books with children in sessions, they respond so much better to their own issues when they see characters in books struggling in the same way. Here are a few of my favourites; “The Huge Bag of Worries” by Virginia Ironside (helps children to seek support for worries), “A Terrible Thing Happened” by Margaret M. Holmes (explains how traumatic or difficult events can affect children and how they can be helped), “Murphy’s Three Homes” by Jan Levinson Gilman (helps children in foster care feel understood, how moving homes may make you feel), “Badger’s Parting Gifts” by Susan Varley (lovely book about bereavement), “Mum and Dad Glue” by Kes Gray (helps children understand about parental separation), “A Nifflenoo Called Nevermind” by Margot Sunderland (encouraging emotional literacy and confidence in children, especially those less confident, a great author).
What is your favourite children’s books?
As a child myself, I remember loving the Judy Blume books...ooh, we felt so grown up reading those! Now, reading to my little one, it has to be “Stick Man” – although, on an emotional day, it can make me pretty tearful thinking about how long he was away from him family - parenthood has made me a big softy!
If you could spend a day with one of the PrenderPals who would it be and why?
It would have to be Ted the Turtle! We like turtles in our house, mainly because they say, “cool, dude!” in the film, “Finding Nemo”, which my little one finds very amusing! Ted seems to be no exception – he is a dude!