Two years ago, as the cosy winter nights drew in, I began my first Birthlight yoga classes – pregnancy yoga with Julia. I found a calm, gentle atmosphere to rest, breathe and connect with my baby for the first time. I enjoyed meeting other Mamas-to-be and I loved the yoga. I continued this gentle practice alongside some reading about birth and babies. By the following April I was in a great place for giving birth. Happy, calm and confident (more calm than my usual non-pregnant self) I was over 41 weeks pregnant and just felt like everything was going to be fine! Well, sometimes things just don’t go according to plan, and unexpectedly our baby girl was born with a rare, serious respiratory condition. We spent a few very long weeks living at the hospital while my daughter Skye was ventilated and remained in intensive care.
After this experience we were incredibly happy to bring Skye home – she was a month old – but as a family we were still pretty shaky and scared. Within a few weeks I began Nurturing Baby Massage and yoga with Bryony. It was a good place to be. Somehow we could arrive at this group and be sleep-deprived, anxious, crying, asleep, playful or tearful (sometimes all in one session) and it was all ok. We felt so welcome. Often in those early days Skye just wanted to cuddle and feed in my lap the whole session… but it was a nice place to sit quietly with her. Sometimes in group I felt like I was really seeing her for the first time, with no distractions or jobs to do.
I had never spent much time with small babies and I learnt a lot at Baby Yoga, singing the songs, doing gentle movements and listening to other Mamas’ stories. I was amazed by how Skye responded to familiar songs like Mr Golden Sun and she seemed to love the yoga. We would sing at home and do yoga movements and it brought us a lot of joy. It rescued us on a few bad days. I came to massively look forward to yoga, the gentle practice, seeing other parents who became good friends, seeing their beautiful babies who became brothers and sisters to us. When Skye got too big for Baby Yoga we joined Toddler Yoga and found a whole new world of songs and stories… and the spirit of compassion, acceptance and calm that attracted us in the first place. It only got more fun as the babies started to talk and do their own downward dog moves.
The last couple of years has been such a journey – completely wonderful and hard and worth it. I’m happy to have found Birthlight and the exceptional teaching and groups they offer – really helped me find myself as a mother. We are leaving Cambridge in December so will miss the Cambridge community! Finally, I wanted to invite you all to Skye’s farewell and fundraiser for The Sick Children’s Trust – this charity housed us at Addenbrookes so that we could remain by Skye’s side while she was in neonatal intensive care. They do important work all over the UK supporting the families of seriously sick children. We are hosting a charity dance on Sunday 15th November at the Centre at St Paul’s “GIVE BABY GIVE”. There will be music and entertainment for young children from 3 – 5pm, with the much-loved local band Shake, Rattle and Roll. There will also be a taster lindy hop class and swing dancing into the evening. Please join us and help us celebrate babies and families! Details and booking here: www.givebabygive.co.uk.