It is 2 years today since my Mum had a heart attack at aged 51. None of us saw it coming, but it changed everything and our world as we knew it.
She called me this morning and I missed it and when I rang back, the phone rang a little longer than normal. By the time she answered, I had thought about the anniversary (if you can call it that) of her heart attack and how I might mark the day.
We spoke briefly about the pickup arrangements and hearing her bright, but breathless voice reminded me of that terrible time and all that has happened since.
It also served as a nudge to slow down.
When I hung up the phone, I took a long breath (the type I teach in my classes) and I drank in the sight of my boys just carelessly pottering around.
We gathered ourselves slowly and gently (just like my Mum did with me when I was little) and as such, we were out the door with minutes to spare.
By the time my Mum arrived, the boys were half way down the path – running to her open arms. Noah is not a big cuddler, but Flyn all but fell in to her – where she swept him up in to her arms and smothered him with kisses.
I wanted to tell her as we climbed in the car how much I love her, but I didn’t get the chance because she was enthusiastically telling me all about a good news message she had received with her typical morning energy.
We then moved on to talk of last night’s dreams (a popular choice of conversation for Mum), the brilliant meditation she had tried this morning and finished up with a catch up about my lovely lady who is labouring for the first time as I type (yes more sleepless nights).
As I got out of the car, I took my time and I gave each of my boys a kiss. I told Mum I loved her and as I walked away, I had the most almighty whoosh of gratitude.
It was so big; it brought tears to my eyes. But I quickly composed myself before my client arrived at 9 and just took a few moments to reflect on the morning, but also what my Mum brings each day and throughout my life – which has inspired today’s thoughts.
My Mum has gifted me with so much; of course, the obvious being she gave me life, but she also was the type of Mum that let me believe in myself and my dreams.
I am not naturally as dreamy as her and many of the decisions I have made have been spurred on by her ‘can do’ attitude; sometimes it’s hard to let myself go and even a little frustrating to think as big as she can, but her enthusiasm never ceases – even in her toughest times.
She is enthusiastic, spirited, dreamy and so bloody grateful for everything around her.
She also has played a pinnacle part in my enthusiasm for childbirth.
This probably began when aged 15 I was her birthing partner. It was a tough labour to say the least and quite a contrast to what was to become my norm; it was extremely medicalised, an induction, constant monitoring, laid on her back...the whole 9 yards, but she was incredible.
The image of my brother slipping in to the world was staggering and the love in her face imprinted on my heart and my mind, therefore leaving me with the insight that I would never need to fear birth whichever way it happened.
4 ½ years later – I witnessed another kind of birth. It was raw, primitive and amazing – for all of the reasons above and my second little brother made his way earth-side after arriving at the hospital with only 7 minutes to spare.
Again, I saw the amazing strength and innate wisdom and was gifted with all of this magic for a second time.
Nothing else could have prepared me better than seeing this astounding experience, so when I found myself pregnant 10 years later – there was no fear, there was no question of how it would unfold – I had the ultimate confidence in my ability and my body.
Almost 4 years on, my Mum became a vital member of my dream team for my second birth at home. Her and my husband sat in the wings – quietly confident whilst I laboured, supporting me through the ebb and flow of my waves.
In the final hours, she took residence on my sofa, where I leaned over the arm to support my weight and she held my hands willing me through the final stages.
We locked eyes at some point in those final moments and there are no words to describe the energy between us. There was a type of knowing and connection that is too hard to quantify.
The love in the room that day could have taken me anywhere and has carried me through every hurdle since.
I know that not everyone has a positive image of birth and more often than not, this begins long before they experience it.
As a woman, I know that I am gifted with this enthusiasm and belief in not just my own body and birth, but also all women and this is a fundamental facet to my teaching.
Normalising birth is something I feel so passionate about and I believe that hypnobirthing is a pivotal part of that revolution.
My Mum has been central to how I feel about myself as a woman and her message ‘you can’t think too big’ continues to inspire me every day.
My wish that every woman could have someone to help them think 'big' - even about birth and I guess that's what I endeavor to do through teaching the calm birth school course!