What I know now - Edwina Sharrock

Edwina is a midwife and educator, a regional champion, a mama and a wife. After giving birth to her daughter, Edwina began her business Birth Beat. She wanted parents-to-be in regional and rural areas to have the same access to education and information as parents in the city. Doesn't that make perfect sense?

Edwina is loved by the families she helps and all you need to do is follow Edwina on her instagram @birthbeat to clearly see she is beyond passionate about her work and her birth beat babies.  

I loved Edwina's responses to my questions, I found myself nodding along in agreement and even having a little laugh as she joined us to answer our questions  for parents who have been there, done that. 

Q

Hospitals are unfamiliar places for many new parents. What are your top tips to make going into hospital less daunting?

 A

If you can, arrange to have a tour or at least visit the facility where you plan to give birth. Ask questions about where to enter and at what time (sometimes the entry points will change if you arrive after hours) so that you and your partner know exactly where you’re going on the day/night you arrive at the hospital. The last thing you want is to arrive in labour without a clue where you’re going.

My other top tip would be to have a few familiar items packed in your grab-n-go hospital bag. Think your favourite pillow or a playlist of songs that make you feel happy/relaxed. A few thoughtful touches can make all the difference in helping you feel more settled and comfortable.

Q

Do you think it is possible to prepare for the change that having a newborn brings?

A

Honestly, no not really. I think the best way to start preparing is to try and get comfortable with things not going to plan. If you’re a routine person, try deliberately disrupting your morning routine and see how it makes you feel. Nothing can ever really prepare you for the real thing, but if you start trying to embrace ‘going with the flow’ and being OK with delays, unexpected surprises (a poo explosion just as you’re about to walk out the door for example!) and understanding that life with a newborn will be different. You can’t predict exactly how your life will be different but being short on sleep, unexpected delays and needing to do things at a different pace are all to be expected at some point.

 Q

Even as a midwife, was it still a shock to you becoming a mama when Polly was born?

A

Even though I was a midwife I was still shocked by the intensity of childbirth once I was the one experiencing it. I’d delivered hundreds of other babies, but I’d never fully considered what it would be like to birth my own baby. Technically, I knew what was going on, but I was shocked at how that translated when I was the one in labour!

In terms of life with a newborn, I was totally a smug mum with Polly. She fed well, slept well and was generally a dream baby. However, all of that changed with Theo who wasn’t a great sleeper and we had lots of feeding issues to overcome. My newborn experience with my second born made me a better midwife - I learnt firsthand that the same two parents could produce two totally different babies, no matter how prepared or experienced you think you are!

 Q

Through Birth Beat and as a midwife do you ever still get surprised by babies?

A

Yes, all the time! Every parent you meet, every birth and every bub are completely unique. That’s one of the best things about my job as no two days are ever the same.

 Q

Where did you turn to for support as a new mama?

A

I have a wonderfully supportive husband and family, so I’m very lucky in that sense. With Polly, I adjusted to motherhood quite well and didn’t feel too overwhelmed. When I had Theo, I really struggled and was diagnosed with post-partum anxiety, which I’ve written about on my blog. At that time, I turned to professional support to help me through, which included counselling sessions with a psychologist. For each mum the support they need is different; whether it’s from a mother’s group, close friend, family member or professional if need be. The most important thing is that if you feel like you’re struggling or even just feeling a bit lonely that you have someone you know you can talk to.

 Q

What was the very best advice you received before you became a parent?

A

If you’re concerned with doing a good job as a parent, then you’re doing a good job. A baby doesn’t need a perfect parent, they just need one that loves them.

 Q

Is there any advice you think parents-to-be should ignore?

A

Any advice that doesn’t sit right with you or that makes you feel uncomfortable. Friends, family and even complete strangers are always forthcoming with their opinions and advice when you’re pregnant or a new parent, but that doesn’t mean their advice is always right. Most people do come from a place of wanting the best for you but that doesn’t mean you have to take their well-intentioned advice onboard.

Do your own research, find what works best for you and trust your gut instinct. If you’re surrounded by the noise of other people’s advice it makes it very hard to tune into your own instincts and your baby’s. Ask for advice if you need it, but don’t feel obliged to take every piece of information you hear as gospel! Every mum, every body and every baby are different.

 Q

What was the very best thing you packed in your hospital bag?

A

The best thing I packed was lots of oversized granny knickers! Forget the sexy, skimpy bikini cuts for a while, you’re going to want comfort and practicality right after bub is born. As a midwife, I was aware of the blood loss after birth so I was prepared, but I’ve seen lots of women underestimate just how much there can be. You’re going to want a few packs of maternity pads. And there are no two ways about it, you’ll need nice full briefs to keep those oversized pads in place! 

 

 

Thank you Edwina. Edwina also wrote this excellent

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