Monthly Archives

November 2017

My review of the BBC #Mumtakeover in Blackpool

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Yesterday I went to Blackpool to BBC 5 Live’s Mum Takeover event.  400 mums got together to have the UK’s biggest conversation about Mums and their mental health.  It was brilliant and so great to be part of the discussion.

It was hosted by Anna Foster from BBC 5 Live and then celebrity Mums Stacey Solomon, Rochelle Hulmes (I have a total girl crush on her!!) and Giovanna Fletcher did a fab job running round the Blackpool Circus room talking to various different mums about their journeys.  There was also a panel of experts including Neev Spencer (broadcaster and DJ), Annie O’Leary (Chief Editor of NetMums), Clare Law (Blackpool Better Start) and Alain Gregoire (Perinatal Psychiatrist and Founder of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance) who were brilliant at relating the individual stories to a wider picture.

I also got my minute of fame live on the Radio which was fab.  It was meant to be a 20 minute discussion but as happens with Live things, they tend to change last minute so it just ended up being a 5 minute chat.  I was with 2 other Mums who were going to the event – Caroline, a stay at home mum/part time administrator who has 3 kids and Danielle, an employment lawyer specialising in maternity and pregnancy discrimination and we were there to talk about the challenges Mums (and Dads) face around work.  I was there to give a bit of a balanced view that it’s not all bad out there and that some companies can make it work for Mums and let them compress hours or work part time.

My main argument, which I know that most of you will agree with is that if you treat a Mum with trust and give her a bit of flexibility in her role, then you will get an amazing worker.  We can multitask like nothing on earth and with a supportive nudge in the right direction, we’ll fly.  Some of us may work part time but we can do more in those 2, 3 or 4 days than you’ll ever understand!!  The knowledge and experience some companies miss out on with not being flexible towards the working week must be utterly staggering…but that’s something I can go on about for an eternity!!

So the main three themes of the day were Lonliness, Work/Life Balance and Post Natal Depression and the three themes whilst almost look exclusive, were so interlinked it was brilliantly done.  The lonliness linking to post natal depression is quite an obvious one but when coupled with the pressure of trying to balance everything in life.  Whether it’s working as a company owner, an employee or as a stay at home mum (yes, definitely still work) it was amazing to hear that we all struggle to balance everything.

One of the main discussions which resonated with me most was the #mumguilt and the idea of trying to “have it all” or “do it all”.  It was so nice to feel that I wasn’t alone in my thinking but the best bit that I will take away from yesterday was the brilliant discussion about what actually defines “having it all” – what is the “all”?.  The all isn’t defined in any way shape or form and what some people have, others might now even want and vice versa.  So maybe we all need to remember something and Annie at NetMums said it brilliantly – we all need to stop beating ourselves up about giving 100% because maybe 70% is the perfect goal – and maybe that is more than good enough!!  We’ll see hey!

So head over to any social media channel and search the #mumtakeover and get involved in the conversation – this is just the start of it and I would love to see and hear your stories of personal battles, life “wins” that you want to shout about and general hints and tips which you’ve learnt along the way!

My Mummy MOT…

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On Friday last week I went and had a Mummy MOT and now I’m going to tell you all about it and basically tell you go and have one done!  It was AMAZING…and I’m 2 years post baby, just wish I’d had one done years ago.

A few months back, I was contacted by a lovely lady called Felicity about joining my Beginner Running Club but dates/times didn’t work but we got chatting and she told me all about what she does.  She is a women’s health physiotherapist who works both for the NHS and privately out of the Pilates Rooms in Urmston and offers post natal physiotherapy assessments of the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles – a Mummy MOT!

So we got chatting on facebook and decided to meet up to see how our two businesses could work together.  Over a coffee (in the lovely Café Rose in Sale Moor!!) we talked about how our two businesses could work in unison – recommending each other to our clients but we decided that before I could recommend a Mummy MOT to people, I’d actually have to have one!!  EEEK!!

A few weeks later (bloody crazy diaries!!) we finally managed to get a date in for me to come across to Urmston to have the check up.  I managed to get a friend to have Harry (thanks Alex!!) as it’s the kind of thing you need to concentrate on and having a toddler there would have been a disaster.  Obviously having a little baby there in the pram would be fine, but not a crazy active 2 year old!!

So what did it involve…first off it was just a talk through any issues, pain, problems, etc that I’ve had over the last few years since having both Chloe and Harry.  I talked through my pelvis issues and about the fact I still had a “mum tum” as I didn’t think my stomach muscles were back together – nothing luckily too major from my side.

Then the main examination started – Felicity was so lovely and was amazing at putting you at ease. There were 3 elements to the consultation.  The first one was just to stand there in your knickers (top still on, it’s not that bad!!) and Felicity assessed my “alignment” I say alignment loosely as she doesn’t like to use the term but she looked at how things were when standing – was my pelvis level, did my rib cage look normal, were my legs standing straight, were my feet in the normal position, etc.  In my case, my left rib cage is slightly higher than my right and my bellybutton is slightly off centre.  All of my “issues!!!” seem to be with my left side so there was no real surprise there

After that, it was the pelvic floor examination (yes, finger up there…but after childbirth, who cares right??!) It wasn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve ever spent my Friday morning doing but it didn’t hurt and it wasn’t horrid and because I wanted to know if it was working properly, it was a means to an end.  Again Felicity was fabulous.  So she checks how your pelvic floor is working – both your automatic pelvic response as well as your squeeze capability.   Mine was pretty good (phew!!) but I have been actively doing my pelvic floor exercises for a good 6-9 months now and from all the running I do, I have built it back up quite well – but there is still an element of stress incontinence so there is still work to do!

Felicity has given me a number of exercises to do and sent me off with a few great resources for me to go and do some more research into things to help improve it.  It was great to learn how to actually do your pelvic floor raises properly – whilst breathing…because randomly (and unconsciously) I seem to hold my breath to do them which is very odd!!  Shockingly 1 in 3 of us have issues with stress incontinence and as much as it’s become the norm – it really shouldn’t be.  You can fix it, and you don’t have to live with it (*rant over)

After the pelvic floor exam, you put your knickers back on and then it was onto the abdominal exam.  Lying on the bed first off, Felicity did the discitis recti test to see how separated your stomach muscles are.  Everyone’s muscles separate during pregnancy – it happens naturally as the baby grows but there are a lot of factors which can prevent them returning back to normal and sometimes they need a bit of assistance in the form of exercise to get them as close together as possible.  Not everyone’s will return exactly as they were before pregnancy, but with the right help, you can get them pretty darn close.  So my muscles aren’t back together (boo ☹) which I knew, but it was nice to get confirmation of that.  There’s a 2 finger gap above the belly button, 3 fingers at the belly button and only a 1 finger gap below it.

With this in mind, Felicity gave me 4 different exercises to do initially and then how to enhance those to improve the gap and so now I am on a mission!  She has recommended just doing 10 mins of the exercises per day and so I will keep you posted on how that goes.  I’m on day 3 of doing them so I’ll give it a while and then go back and get her to re-check and I’ll report back!

After the session, Felicity wrote up all the notes and emailed the summary across to me along with giving me pictures of the exercises with helpful notes on how to do them again (as no-one ever remembers every exercise properly when they get home!!) and she has given me a fabulous leaflet all about abdominal separation which I am going to dissect and start sharing with you bit by bit.  If anyone would like the leaflet sending to them – please drop me a note and I’m happy to share it with you.

So all in all what do I recommend?  Go and have one done.  It has put my mind at ease on so many things.  There are pro’s and con’s of going as I suppose it could make you feel a bit down if you thought things were ok and they’re not but I’d personally rather know.  The session cost £75 which might seems like a big expense…but think about things long term – especially if you have pelvic floor issues or you’re worried about your stomach.  In theory every woman should have these checks after having a baby as part of the 6 week check but that doesn’t happen, we all know how bad the 6 week check is – it’s all about the baby and not anything to do with us as mums.  You need to look after yourself physically and mentally and I have learnt so much about myself and so much about how I can help you guys even more.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask – as you can read from above, I’m not shy with sharing!!! Ha ha

Felicity’s contact details are and she’s based in the Pilate Rooms, The Old Police Station on Station Road in Urmston: