Silvia Lasnik*, Certified Yogabellies Teacher in Warwickshire, reached out to key figures in the local parenting community to chat all things pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. This week, she spoke to Jo Isherwood, writer of the parenting and lifestyle blog Cup of Toast (www.cupoftoast.co.uk). Jo is the mother of three children and an active voice in the central Warwickshire area as well as online.
What is your role in the parenting community and why, in your opinion, is it so important ?
I write the Parenting and Lifestyle blog, Cup of Toast. Through it I have frank conversations on social media, along with publishing posts of interest to my audience on my site. I think that being honest and showing as many sides as possible to the parenting journey is so important. It’s easy to think that everyone else has it all together when really we’re all just doing the best that we can and that looks different from family to family.
What are your top tips when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and motherhood?
Relax. Listen to the experts and try not to Google everything! Recognise that some days you will need a bucket full of patience that simply won’t be there, and teach yourself how to manage those days. Trust yourself, and listen to your instincts. Never compare yourself to someone else. If you’re unsure ask. If you’re still concerned ask again. Understand that it’s ok to have bad days, and off days, and days when you feel as though you’re coasting. That’s life, you will also have good days and great days and super productive days.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give a new mum?
It’s ok to say no. It’s very hard to turn down visitors and refuse cuddles but those early days are so important. They can be very difficult, with hormones and sleepless nights, but they are also the time when you form the most magical relationship with your child. It might not feel like it at that point in time when days slip into nights, and fall into days again, but those moments will stay with you for a long time.
What is your personal birth and parenting philosophy and why?
My birth and parenting philosophy is to trust myself. To trust my body through pregnancy and childbirth and recognise if I needed help. As a parent to trust that I am doing a good job, even when it doesn’t always feel that way. There will be things that I don’t get right but if I am setting a good example of forming positive relationships, using good manners and working hard then I hope that I’m on the right track. Focusing on lifelong skills rather than specific targets. If my children are happy then I’m happy!
What are your thoughts on preparing for birth?
I think that it is very important to prepare well by focussing on relaxation. Use yoga breaths, a yoga ball, gentle stretching and calm walks to get in the zone. Really listen to your body and get used to the movements of your baby. I’m certain that all of this stood me in good stead in the labour room three times over!
What are your top tips for returning back to work after having had a baby and working around your family?
Initially I chose not to return to my work and my career after having my children, with the exception of the odd pro bono case. When my youngest turned two though I felt as though I was ready for something more and started my blog. Through that I have begun to write more regularly and for other people. It’s not easy, my children do see me working on the computer from time to time or fixed to my phone. For the most part though it is flexible so I can still do the school runs and play groups and work in the evenings after they are in bed. My top tip would be to set yourself some boundaries and make sure that you have some time off for you. Also to recognise that there will be moments when it feels really tough but the long term balance makes it worth it.
*If you’d like to find out more about Silvia’s yoga classes for women, please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org or via her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/yogabellieswarks)