Isabella and Us. Mummy Blog Series

Next week I'll be launching my Mummy Blog Series bringing you blog posts each week/every two weeks (I haven't yet quite decided) from mums. Lots of you have been in contact to take part and I can't wait to share your stories. 

 Isabella and Us. is all about promoting positive wellbeing in mummies and about sharing our honest and at times vulnerable experiences of being a parent. One major theme throughout what I do is all about celebrating our mummy wins and focusing on our daily achievements as mummies.

32659335_1732003443547035_2948429395833913344_o.jpg

I am so excited to share these stories as I think it’s so important our voices are heard and we get to share our stories and build this community where no mum feels alone. The first one will be live next Thursday so make sure you pop back to take a look!

If you'd love to get involved email me at isabellaandus@outlook.com to find out more.

Emma x 

#Iamwinningasamummy campaign

Mummy Wins campaign16.jpg

Last Monday I launched the #Iamwinningasamummy campaign. The campaign was an idea to continue the conversation about maternal mental health and to also promote positive wellbeing in mummies. 

I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone single mummy who took part in the#iamwinningasamummycampaign. It means so much that so many of you saw the importance and potential of the campaign and have supported it by sharing your Mummy Wins. Over 60 mummy wins where tagged in the campaign and it reached over 30,000 people.

Isabella and Us is such a small business started at the most vulnerable time in my life. Each day that I share my honest experiences as a new mum and everything I’ve tried to create so far comes from my own experiences.

This campaign is close to my heart because I know the impact focusing on the negatives can have. From my own experiences focusing on the positives can massively help. Focusing on the negative can have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing and mental health. The campaign was all about you mummies to try and focus on what you have achieved in a day or a week rather than what you hadn’t.

I said at the beginning of the campaign that if the#iamwinningasamummybecause campaign only helps one mummy realise that she’s doing an amazing job and helps her feel a bit more positive then I’ll have done what I set out to achieve. I know I have done just that from the messages I have received and that means the world.

Mummy Wins campaign2.jpg

This message from one mum just made me so happy to know that I had made a difference to her day "Thank you for making me realise that I am winning every single day"

So once again thank you all so much for supporting the campaign and taking part! Remember to celebrate those small daily wins mummies!

If you didn't get chance to share your mummy wins and would like to, just use the #iamwinningasamummybecause on your social media and tag Isabella and Us in the photo too! 

Collaboration with The Lancashire Hypnobirthing Co

Photo 09-05-2018, 08 22 55.jpg

Last month I worked with the lovely Leanne from The Lancashire Hypnobirthing Co. to produce a set of 10 positive affirmation cards for birth.

Each card has a beautiful positive affirmation for birth to help focus the mind and think positively about birth. For me having a positive mindset about birth is so important. The more fearful you are, the less likely your body is to release the natural birthing hormones which can aid you massively in birth. 

LANCS HYPNOBIRTHING SQUARES3.jpg

I am really proud of these cards, not only are colours beautiful and perfectly match Leanne's branding for The Lancashire Hypnobirthing Co. , the positive affirmations are just perfect for birth!

These cards will be available to pre-order very soon so make sure you keep an eye out on our social media to find out when!

LANCS HYPNOBIRTHING SQUARES10.jpg

Birth

Isabella was born 10 days early in December 2017, just before Christmas. Each week before her arrival from 14 weeks I'd attended Pregnancy Relaxation with Beau Baby in Lytham and we also did Beau Baby's Hypnobirthing workshop too.

I am convinced that Hyponobirthing is what got me through the birth of Isabella and that made me feel empowered, excited and confident to give birth. I had heard so many horror stories about Birth, mostly about the pain and what pain relief I should have. We had decided early on that I would start with Gas and Air and then if needed have other pain relief.  

If you have read my previous blog post about my Pregnancy you will know that I was due to be induced on the Saturday but Isabella had other ideas and my labour started naturally about midnight. I woke with pains that felt much stronger than Braxton Hicks and I think looking back I must have known I was in labour as I rang the Delivery Suite straight away. They told me to monitor the contractions and to call back in an hour if I was still having contractions, at this point they where about 5 minutes apart.

We arrived at the hospital around 2:30pm and much of that time is a bit of a blur until Isabella was born. I used the breathing techniques and the tracks from Beau Baby and I felt that I dealt with each contraction well. However, the pushing was a different story and the part I found most difficult. 

Emma Cottam.jpg

At around 6am I felt the urge to start pushing, with confirmation from the midwife that it was okay to do so I began to push. However, this took a lot longer that it should have done. Around 7:30am there was so many medical professionals around my bed and I just remember the midwife saying to me that I was the only one so far that hadn't needed the doctor to intervene but that she would if I didn't hurry up with the pushing. After shouting at everyone that their 'just one more push' was indeed not one more push and that they where lying to me I eventually kicked down that brick wall and at 7:52am Isabella arrived into the world.  

For me, birth was a very empowering and beautiful experience but it isn't like that for everyone and I feel very fortunate that mine was a positive experience, especially after the Pregnancy I had had. 

If you'd like to read the full birth story head over to Beau Baby for the birth story I wrote the day after giving birth to Isabella - Read Now

Pregnancy

Pregnancy. I’ll start it by saying I found it really tough. I think I scared a few people off with how blunt I was when asked how I was finding being pregnant as my answer would always be ‘I hate it’. I should also start by saying that I felt very blessed to have been able to fall pregnant fairly quickly. I just found being pregnant really tough!

We found out we were pregnant on Easter Sunday last year. The 16th April to be exact. We’d done countless pregnancy tests the previous months while we were trying. I was so scared after I’d done the test, I put it on Chris’ (the husband) bedside table and quickly got back into bed. I was so nervous I was shaking. I kept asking if it was ready, the replies where no. Until hanging his arm off the side of the bed with the pregnancy test in his hand he finally gave in and showed me the test. It was positive (thankfully, how mean would that have been if it had of been negative). We were going to have a baby!

We told our immediate family the next day and carried on as normal. Only that lasted about 2 weeks. Then the morning sickness started. What started off as just feeling a little sick quickly turned to me being sick twice if not three times a day. I couldn’t keep anything down, I wasn’t hungry, I was exhausted and more often than not my face was bloodshot from the force of being sick. I struggled to do anything. I carried on as best I could but I couldn’t function properly. I was both physically and mentally exhausted.

FullSizeRender (2).jpg

At 8 weeks in we made the decision to tell people. Keeping the sickness a secret was no longer possible, I couldn’t go out without my sick bucket and I was just so exhausted that by 7pm each night I was asleep or in bed not able to do anything else. As my pregnancy continued so did the sickness. I was told it should end at about 12 weeks, well it didn’t. I continued being sick everyday at least twice a day.

At the start of my pregnancy we had been to the doctors to ask if there was anything they could give to help. The answer was no, basically deal with it. I didn’t go back, I just dealt with it. Which meant I spent most of my pregnancy at home or at work either feeling or being sick. I could no longer manage a meal. I just grazed where I could during the day. My diet basically consisted off burbon biscuits, sparkling water and not much else.

IMG_1339.JPG

We tried as much as possible to go out for walks and spend as much time together. This meant lots of Netflix and not really much else. Our first date since finding out we were pregnant was a Nando’s lunch in July, over 3 months after finding out we were pregnant.

At 20 weeks we took a little break to see Harry Potter and the cursed child in London for 3 days. It was lovely to be away and thankfully I had a few weeks of no sickness during this time! This is definitely the time I felt at my best! One of the definite highlights of that trip was one of the security guys asking if I was pregnant! I barely had a bump but I was so happy someone had noticed. All I had wanted during my pregnancy was that glow, that lovely bump people talk about.

At 21 weeks and one of the most embarrassing things to happen to me during my pregnancy was being sick in a shopping centre car park. It was early one Sunday morning, parked up in a very open car park, for the Mamas and Papas Parent to be event and I was sick about 3 times in the car. Thankfully into the sick bucket. I laugh when I look back at it now but at the time it was so embarrassing.

As I got closer to the end of my pregnancy, the sickness continued. And at 25 weeks I ended up with an admission to hospital. I just couldn’t stop being sick. I couldn’t keep anything down and I had reduced movements as well. We went up to the hospital, I was monitored, given IV fluids and an anti sickness drug. This drug become my lifesaver! The doctors didn’t want me to keep taking it after 28 weeks. It would mean extra monitoring once Isabella was born. But it stopped me being sick and had no side affects for baby.

Fast forward to 36 weeks, lots more sickness, 2 growth scans, I finally had a bump, still no glow and I was knackered. At 36 weeks I finished my full time job as a teacher for maternity leave. That morning of my last day I went to the maternity day unit with reduced movements once more. They monitored me and everything was fine thankfully. But when I returned home my results for the Step B test had arrived, I was positive. I was so upset and angry, this meant no water birth, no birthing centre and no staying at home. Everything I had wanted for our birth had gone. I had a meltdown, lots of tears but doing the test was the best thing I could have done, yes it meant a birth with medical intervention but it meant a birth were our daughter was safe. 

The next 2 weeks flew by and at 38 weeks pregnant my husband had 2 days off, Thursday and Friday and we had made plans to spend some much needed quality time together. That Thursday morning I remember saying to my bump - now would be a really good time for you to come. We’d have Daddy for much longer if you came soon.

We spent the Thursday shopping, went out for lunch, came home and watched a film. I realised I hadn’t felt Isabella move much but I decided not to worry, we’d been busy all day. But on the Friday morning I still hadn’t felt much movement so I rang the Maternity Day Unit who told us to come up right away. We were monitored for a good few hours, there wasn’t much movement and my blood pressure was really high. So they made the decision to induce me the next day. 

2017-11-16 07.03.01.jpg

I won’t say anymore about what happened as I’ll blog about my birth story too but everything was fine and she was delivered safely.

Being pregnant was one of the hardest things I have ever done and it put a lot of strain on my body and on the relationships with the people around me. I felt so guilty at not being able to do all the things I had done previously because I was just so exhausted with being so sick.

Because of the sickness I felt like a lot of my pregnancy was robbed from me and when I look back I feel upset about all the things we didn’t get to do before she arrived. But I feel so very blessed and lucky that I was able to have a baby, that although I was sick every day, my body somehow grew and nourished a baby and I definitely don’t take that for granted.

Emma x

The Story Behind Isabella and Us.

So here goes, my first blog post (written whilst Isabella naps on my chest and I’m watching Netflix). I thought it might be best to begin with why I chose to start Isabella and Us. In

December 2017 I gave birth to my daughter Isabella, just over a week before Christmas. Before going off on maternity leave I worked full time and ran another business which I set up after I got married in July 2015.

Those first few weeks as a mum really took me by surprise. I just wasn’t expecting the rollercoaster of emotions I would feel and how much pressure I would put on myself to still do everything I had done before I had Isabella.

By the time she was 4 weeks old I had settled a little bit more into motherhood but I was still finding it difficult to do things, like have a shower without her crying or eating a meal without her needing me. I began to realise that even if all I had done all day was sit on the sofa and watch Netflix and feed my baby that was okay, if I managed to leave the house on time with everything I needed then that was an amazing achievement!

After a conversation with two friends my brain was full of ideas! So much so that after a 4am feed I just couldn’t sleep and Isabella and Us. was born. By 12pm the next day I had a logo, social media pages and I had designed my first product ‘Mummy Cards’. Since then and only 8 weeks later Isabella and Us. has grown with so many products and I have so many ideas for so many more that I can’t wait to produce and show you!

What I’m most proud of is that my Cards seem to be making a massive difference to so many Mummies and this really makes me smile!

I set out to help mummies feel like they were winning and I hope today that you are #winningasamummy

Emma x

Emma Cottam.jpg
Photo 30-01-2018, 11 48 27.jpg