Last night I taught my second class since qualifying as a LushTums teacher. Looking around at my students’ faces as they opened their eyes, I felt a little bit elated. Happy, relaxed faces looked back at me- women who felt good, and I was able to help them reach that place. It was an amazing feeling. So, how did I get here?
When I spotted an advert on one of the many online parenting pages I frequent offering a chance to train as a LushTums Pregnancy Yoga Teacher it was like a great big flashing neon sign going off, accompanied by a choral soundtrack. My immediate thought was “YES! I would love to do that!”. Having loved and practiced yoga for 12 years, it was always a dream of mine to be a yoga teacher one day. Yoga was always “my time”; giving me the chance to stretch out and de-stress, and quieten and calm my very noisy, chattering brain. I would walk away feeling rejuvenated, and during periods of struggle in my life it has always given me strength.
Following the birth of my second child I decided not to return to my old job as a property lawyer. Motherhood had changed me and the Land Registry, sale contracts and filling in stamp duty land tax forms just didn’t excite me anymore (who am I kidding? No one gets excited about filling in stamp duty land tax forms!). I had always loved all things birth and babies, and birthing my two children are my proudest achievements. Having had two very positive, but very different births I was keen to become involved in this area. I really enjoy volunteering as peer supporter at my local breastfeeding support group. Offering a listening ear, support and information to women during this time is something I feel honoured to be able to do. It is so rewarding seeing a woman arrive nervous, a bit tearful, sometimes in pain – both emotional and physical, and later see her leave with a smile on her face, and a few cake crumbs scattered on her baby’s head. Giving women confidence in their bodies and their abilities, and supporting them to make choices they feel are right for their family is what made training with LushTums such a perfect fit for me.
I started my training in January and any doubts I may have had about whether I had made the right choice were very quickly put to one side. Meeting Clare and the other incredible women I trained with was like finding my ‘tribe’. We laughed, we cried. We shared knowledge and experience, and just learned so much. The energy in that room was like nothing else I had experienced. It was clear we all shared the same passion for empowering women and giving them tools they could use on their journeys. I came home every night with a bounce in my step and a new perspective on things. Because I was happier everything felt a bit easier; I enjoyed being with my children more and really engaged with them, rather than listening with half an ear while trying to do something else. I found myself thinking, if this was how I felt after just one week of training, imagine what my life will be like when this is my career!
All the research I did and relationships I built up whilst preparing for my own homebirth are now being put to good use. In Bristol we are very lucky to have 3 midwife led units, and women with low risk pregnancies are being encouraged to consider all the options available to them, rather than automatically check into consultant led hospital care. The work we do as LushTums teachers complements this shift. By opening up the conversation, women can make fully informed choices and ask questions. A positive birth is not necessarily based on location or how it unfolds, but how the mother perceives it; whether she feels listened to and respected. Every step of the way I have been supported and encouraged. As the first LushTums teacher in Bristol I feel very privileged to bring this service to my local area. I can’t wait to start teaching more classes, meet more mamas-to-be and share this very special journey with them.
Clair has practiced yoga for 12 years. A mum of two young children, she also volunteers as a breastfeeding peer supporter and enjoys helping mothers with the challenges a new baby can bring and assisting them with achieving their goals, whatever they may be.