Hi guys - welcome to my first blog!
My name is Amy, I am 30 years old and I live in Cambridgeshire with my partner, son and soon to be daughter!
Having had quite a challenging experience during and after the birth of my first child in April 2015 I have decided to write a blog about my second experience, detailing the highs and potential lows along the way. I'm having another section, (planned) as my sons birth resulted in an emergency section.
"So why are you writing a blog?", I hear you say.
So, I teach a psychological training programme called 'Thrive' which I have to say, categorically helped me to maintain a healthy perspective of the overall experience following the birth of my son last year. I well and truly 'walk the walk' of the programme that I teach and live my life in the same way that I teach my clients to live there's every week. Because of this, and because there are just so many women out there who are feeling frightened at the prospect of giving birth either for the first time or following a traumatic previous experience, I thought to myself....."well why not share?"
When I first fell pregnant, many of those close to me thought I had gone stark mad to be having another baby so soon and even more surprised to hear that we were over the moon about it. The truth is, that when you are Thriving, you don't analyse situations, you certainly don't hold onto the past and you feel quite powerful because you know you have good coping skills, therefore, why would I not have another baby or even one so soon after? People do it all the time right?
Its baffled me that throughout the past 9 months, I would say 90% of the time, when making a purchase or at a checkout in a supermarket, people look at my one year old (throwing the contents of the trolley on the floor or rather eloquently attempting to chew his way to freedom through the trolley) and then clock onto my rather large bump and decide to tell me that 'I'm brave' or that 'I'm going to have my hands full'. Now as much as I appreciate that both these statements may well be true, if I put myself in the shoes of someone who is rather anxious about their imminent arrival, I'm not sure how welcome I would find those comments, I may even find myself brooding about it and wondering if I've just made a terrible mistake?! Which is what has also led me to try and blog about my experiences from the perspective of someone who has been through the programme, teaches the programme as well as lives by the programme and therefore potentially help improve the experience of many more mums who are trying to overcome daily hurdles/challenges with their pregnancy/labour/children and lets face it, the reality of the situation is there are ALOT!
Now I would very much like to clarify that I am not one of those people who preaches that child rearing is a walk in the park and our home is filled with love hearts and pink ribbons, that my child has always slept through, is well behaved and I feed him 5 star nutritious home cooked dishes everyday. The reality of the situation is that walks in the park usually result in dicing with death on more than one occasion due to having a child who should have been named forest gump and refuses to walk anywhere OR in a straight line. Our time at home consists of cleaning up after our son and discussing his latest digestive issues, cold, ear infection, temper and cleaning the walls or sofas from the remainder of his meals, 50% of which is regurgitated. He only just started to sleep through from 10 months and only because we finally decided that being up every 3 hours to tend to his inability to put himself back to sleep after 'stirring' was not going to work for us, especially when we have four jobs between us. Oh, and I simply cant cook (this is a goal I'm working on).
However......as much as I'm sure all current mums can relate to the above there is also a world of pure unacquainted happiness and a bottomless pit of unconditional love that comes with having children. They bring you an element of joy which is so great it just doesn't feel real at times. They are learning all the time and following in your footsteps whilst you take on your daily routines as well as responding with such joy to the simplest of things.
So how am I feeling at the moment?.....READY! Having sciatica and a one year old as well as being heavily pregnant and still working is proving achievable but has not been without its challenges. I've got a daily mantra 'this is for now, not forever' which has helped somewhat as well as doing my daily 'Thrive' exercises in order to keep my patience levels as high as possible. In 'Thrive' terms, when you desire control to a high degree but consequently do not have it, you tend to find you lose perspective relatively quickly and find yourself slipping into meltdown mummode with the ability to burst at the seams just because your partner asked you if you could pass him the salt. When you work on your coping skills, you tend to desire control a whole let less because essentially, why would you desire control if you have great coping skills? This is proving extremely helpful when my one year old is acting up or if im simply tired, or in pain.
So with only a couple of weeks left until she is here, I've just about finished her room and packed a hospital bag which was such an odd but lovely feeling. Her clothes are so tiny, most of which were her brothers, its crazy to try and imagine him ever fitting into those clothes, especially only last year! Today I sat on the bed in her room and looked at her tiny cot and imagined her lying there in it which led me to think about the moment she is handed to me and having the opportunity to embrace it as opposed to the relatively rushed, dramatic situation we found ourselves in with my first born. By managing my thoughts and imagining all the things that I want to happen, any anxiety I have about the birth is at bay and essentially all I would like is a healthy little girl. I genuinely cannot wait to meet her and bring her home to the madness. I appreciate that having two under two comes with its own challenges but that blogs for another day
If you'd like to know more about the Thrive programme please take a look at www.thriveprogramme.org or www.thrivewithamy.org
If you’re working through The Thrive Programme® you’ll know that it’s all about taking back power and control in your life. This is crucial in learning to thrive. Power, control, desire for control, secondary control – feeling confused? This should help. In order to thrive you’ll learn to develop strong psychological foundations. An ‘internal locus of control’ is a really important foundation: this means you will feel that you can have a huge impact on the life you life, rather than ‘life happening to you’. In the Thrive Programme, we call this having ‘internal SPACE’. But it doesn’t stop there… You might be building your internal SPACE, and be told to reduce your ‘desire for control’. What? You’re being taught to build your internal sense of power and control but then you learn that too much desire for control is a bad thing? Well, this is confusing. People have a strong desire for control when they actually feel out of control; this leads to anxiety, fuels perfectionism and is really quite stressful. To understand how to reduce your desire for control and feel calm and relaxed, you will need to master one more aspect of ‘control’: primary control and secondary control. Primary control is our ability to plan and prepare: if you have ever achieved anything, it’s down to your primary control – you will have worked hard, organised yourself, mastered new challenges and used your direct influence to get results. All this is good! You need a certain amount of primary control in your life. But you don’t need to control everything and cater for every eventuality. Secondary control means ‘coping skills’. Even if you’re a master of organisation and prior planning, life is always going to be full of ups and downs and we need to feel confident in our coping skills, to know that we can face whatever life throws at us with flexibility, adaptability and resilience. going into a situation feeling confident that you will be able to cope does not create stress and anxiety. Strong secondary control makes it easy to think straight and to feel calm. The good news is that by improving ‘secondary control’, one’s ‘desire for control’ simmers down a bit. There’s no need to attempt to plan and pre-empt everthing when you feel confident that you can cope with all eventualities. We often meet people who spend a lot of time and effort honing their ‘primary control’ to satisfy their ‘desire for control’ – Stressheads! Fortunately there is an easier way, which is to build your ‘secondary control’. It takes a bit of time and practice but will make all the difference to your daily life. You don’t need to give up all primary control for it to be effective but you will feel much calmer as a result.
Have you ever watched, jaw-dropping, a light aircraft performing aerobatics?
Death-defying dives; stomach-lurching twists and turns?
There’s something awe-inspiring and captivating – if not perilously nerve-wracking – that keeps your eyes fixed on the sky.
Driving past a local airfield recently I started watching the planes, which brought to mind an obvious analogy with The Thrive Programme.
People do The Thrive Programme for a number of reasons, and in doing so they learn how to master their thinking, control their mind and make decisions with a newfound confidence and sense of capability. People who have completed the Programme and started to ‘thrive’ get in touch all the time to tell us of the dramatic ways their lives have changed; the decisions or life events they have taken in their stride whereas previously they might have hidden their head in the sand, quaked in their boots or nervously given excuses (sound like you?) . People find it easy to start undertaking new feats which would have been beyond them beforehand , without the skills and self-knowledge gained through the Thrive Programme.
Same with the pilot performing aerobatics… From the ground, the pilot’s skill is awe-inspiring and for most of us it is beyond our imaginations or wildest hopes to be able to perform the same feats. However, for the pilot in the cockpit, he/she was once just like you or I and had to start somewhere; little steps, careful mastery, conscientious practice. And once you’re airborne it’s much easier to put it all into practice and give the new skills a go: from the ground, it’s just theory, potential, possibility.
The Thrive Programme gets quick results but it is not a quick-fix; reading the theory is one important part of the Programme. It will starts to mean something when you put it into practice. Little steps all the way.
The Thrive Programme won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do; no loop the loops or barrel rolls, but it makes it a possibility. If you feel ‘held back’ in life, the Thrive Programme is exactly what you need to get back in control and start to thrive. If you want to hear from people who’ve done it, look at the testimonials on www.amysmiththerapies.com and www.thriveprogramme.org
Laura transforms her life with the help of Thrive – another National Newspaper appearance for Thrive!
Laura (or Birdie as we know her) has come a tremendously long way from where she was just a few short years ago. Having had a challenging childhood, Laura made a life changing (or ending decision) having had enough. Astoundingly after she threw herself in front of a lorry in full motorway traffic, Laura survived. She was nursed and cared for physically back to health having suffered significant injuries. Unfortunately her experience of being cared for psychologically did not ...match up. Laura was left feeling awful about herself, her actions and her life. It was within her, however, to keep searching for help. She found Thrive. She got stuck in. She turned her life around. The rest is history – having now found love and a passion for fitness in life, her next challenge to conquer is to qualify as a firefighter. And we know she will do it.......
C’mon. What are you waiting for? Overcome your fear of being sick.
If you are considering coming to our Emetophobia Training Day at the Royal Society of Medicine in April, read on…
If you have emetophobia, this course is for you!
If you’ve tried numerous other therapies and nothing’s worked, this course is for you.
If you are sceptical, nervous or even desperate, this course is for you.
This course will change your life.
If you want to overcome emetophobia for once and for all, book your place at the London event NOW! We look forward to seeing you there.
Who is presenting?The course will be presented by Rob Kelly, Creator of The Thrive Programme. He is an authority on emetophobia and will ensure that you leave the seminar feeling confident that you can ‘Cure your Emetophobia and Thrive’ and that you know exactly how to do it.
We are delighted that Mary Steward will be at the London seminar! Many of you have watched her inspiring testimonial video
If Mary managed to overcome her emetophobia after 75 years, we are confident that you can too!
After the event you will receive an audio recording of the day which you can listen to as many times as you want to support you as you complete the programme and ensure that you COMPLETELY overcome emetophobia.
What will happen during the day?We know some of you will arrive feeling a little anxious so we hope to set you at your ease as quickly as possible – you will receive a warm welcome (and a goody bag!) at Registration and we will start at 9.30am prompt.
During the day, Rob will explain The Thrive Programme in detail and give supplementary explanations, examples and insights. It’s a very thorough and engaging course designed to give you all the information and insights you need to complete the programme successfully.
The seminar includes will be interactive quizzes, a detailed presentation, question & answer time and coffee breaks when licensed Thrive Programme Consultants & people who have successfully completed The Thrive Programme will be available for an informal chat.
There is no exposure therapy! We do not advocate this method for helping you to overcome emetophobia.
Who can attend?This course is designed for sufferers of emetophobia, their partners or their parents. It’s of benefit to anyone who wants to learn how to Thrive!
Parents of under 16s, please contact Rob Kelly for further information about course suitability email@example.com
Partners & parents of sufferers of emetophobia will find the course extremely helpful, both in learning how to support their partner/spouse/child in overcoming emetophobia, and also in the personal benefit derived from information shared during the day.
What do I need to bring?Bring your copy of ‘Cure your Emetophobia and Thrive’ (available at emetophobia.co.uk) having read at least the first 5 chapters (if not the whole book) before the course.
Bring lunch & a drink.
The Thrive Programme books & merchandise will be available to purchase (cash or cheque only).
Where is the workshop taking place?After the success of Rob Kelly’s National Emetophobia Awareness Day 2014 presentation at the prestigious Royal Society of Medicine, we are pleased to be hosting the seminar in the same lecture theatre this year. The full presentation can be viewed here
What do other people say?At the February ‘Cure your Emetophobia and Thrive’ seminar in Denmark, 100% of delegates said that they would recommend the event to a fellow sufferer.
An agenda & booking form is on our website http://www.emetophobia.co.uk/thrive-programme-emetophobia-seminar-london/
So, if you want to beat your emetophobia, book your place at the London event NOW! We look forward to seeing you there.
SO, just what is the connection between muddy wellies and The Thrive Programme?
Modern life is all too trigger-happy on the germ-bashing front – we all have an arsenal of antibacterial sprays, wipes and gels in our cupboards (and even our handbags) and some people are intent on living a super-clean and sanitised life. Especially people with OCD and emetophobia for whom keeping clean can be a particular priority.
In our work as Thrive Programme Consultants, we notice that sufferers of emetophobia and OCD often have a very strong disgust propensity: that is a strong tendency to respond with the emotion of disgust to situations. Dirty or disgusting things are commonly be met with a hysterical reaction of ‘eeeewwww’ and ‘gross’. People respond to a bit of muck by overestimating the risk of illness, and sufferers might even try to prevent themselves or their children from getting mucky or messy or use other ‘safety-seeking’ behaviours such as excessive hand washing or monitoring of physical symptoms.
Most of us were taught this disgust propensity by their own (often obsessive) mothers; and were brought up to be ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’ as young girls. Identifying this as one of the root causes of your thinking problems can take you a step closer to recovery. Responding to dirty or disgusting situations with a calmer, more realistic approach can be really helpful, in place of aspiring to germ-free dazzling-white perfection and health-related anxiety.
In taking people through the Thrive Programme, we may help you to challenge yourself in the face of something ‘disgusting’, and especially if you have a daughter, allow yourself to experience a little bit of muck, mess or disorder as it will benefit your mental well-being. We advocate a responsible approach to health, hygiene and food preparation with the emphasis on as clean as necessary, not as clean as possible, and at no point will we suggest unnecessary exposure to risk or illness.
Getting outside and getting a little bit muddy offers a host of benefits; mud is ‘just clean dirt’ after all!
It’s that lovey-dovey time of year!Romance is in the air for some of us.
For others it’s ‘just another day’ that highlights a difficult relationship status or relationship history.
Developing a strong internal locus (perhaps by completing The Thrive Programme) makes the difficult process of forgiveness much easier.
The Thrive Programme advocates understanding, forgiveness, communication & humility: the wheels that make the carriage roll! The Thrive Programme promotes the importance of an ‘internal locus of control’ which makes it easier for you to forgive someone, when necessary. Forgiveness is possibly the ultimate sign of having a strong internal locus.
Forgiveness is about a change in emotion and a willingness to let go of negativity. It is about remaining actively in control; not a passive slump into ‘victim’ status. It can be a sense of ‘shutting the book’ on a situation; avoiding retaliation and feeling a sense of benevolence and high self-esteem. Forgiveness means reacting to betrayal in a constructive way, which takes huge courage and love; both for oneself and the perpetrator of the betrayal.
Forgiveness is a sign of strength and an almost selfish act, such are the personal benefits. It can lead the way to reconciliation. Once you have forgiven someone, negativity you were feeling is replaced by compassion and benevolence. Your mood improves and you feel less stressed: the rewards are there for the taking.
I’ll be back with more romance later in the week.
‘To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.’
Louis B. Smedes
Poor old February.
It gets such a bad rap.
Month of dark evenings, dank mornings and dreadful colds.
Perhaps it’s not surprising people feel ‘seasonally affected’ this month.
If you’re one of the half a million sufferers of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the UK (or any other part of the Northern Hemisphere at the moment), read on! By changing your thinking, you can change your life – once you have the self-awareness, skills and resources to know how to do this.
Once you believe that your mood is caused by the weather or lack of daylight, you immediately feel powerless to feel any better. The Thrive Programme teaches you how to feel more powerful in this regard: we might not be able to change the weather or jet off to a sunny beach on a whim, but we can change our perspective and learn to manage our thinking better, despite the weather. SAD be gone.
There are various treatments available for SAD including light box treatment, medication and therapeutic interventions such as life-changing Thrive Programme. Therapy is proven to be a very successful intervention, as explained by the Priory Group http://www.priorygroup.com/mental-health/seasonal-effective-disorder
5 Tips to help you feel less SAD
1. ‘Eat a rainbow’ – this is not the time to start a diet so much as to focus on ensuring your diet is supporting your body & strengthening your immune system. Eating a colourful selection of fruit and veggies will boost your mental wellbeing and your vitamin intake, especially mood-boosting B vitamins and D.
2. See a sofa-bound evening of mooching and misery coming on? Why not turn this into a cosy winter’s evening of movies and munching instead. Time to embrace ‘cosy’ rather than lapsing into lethargy.
3. Endorphins are the enemy of SAD! Get out there and get some exercise – you will thank yourself for it. Whether it’s a gym class, game of football, quick walk to the shops, your endorphins will definitely raise your mood. And exercise in daylight is going to supercharge the benefits. The less you want to do it, the more you will benefit.
4. Challenges can be reframed as ‘opportunities’ to change your thinking. So if you draw the curtains to another murky day (and that’s likely), realise that this only has as much impact on your thinking as you allow it to.
5. Hang out with happy people! This can have a huge impact on your own mood.
The best thing about February? It’s only 28 days until March and then Spring Fever will kick in.
If you’d like to talk to someone about overcoming your SAD, please contact Amy Smith via the 'CONTACT ME' page.
First thing to do is to CHOOSE what sort of day do you want to create today? This video might help