Hi, I’m Cathy.
Like you, I am independent, educated woman who likes to make her own mind up. I like facts and logic, which is why I like to go behind the guidelines and recommendations, to look at the research and get a better understanding. I think everybody makes different choices with the same information because we all bring the perspective of our experience and upbringing.
I come from a big family. The eldest of four and the fourth of twenty-five cousins, I grew up surrounded by babies, birth and breastfeeding. But all that experience of rocking babies and changing nappies didn't prepare me for the demands of being a first time mum. I wish I'd known what I know now, I'd have told myself not to worry that she would only sleep on me; that cuddling her was growing her brain; that her waking frequently was not a sign that I was doing things wrong and that taking her into my bed, in a safe way, would help us all; that spending the day with my mummy friends was time well spent; that my mental health was important; that slings could be used indoors too! And I wish I'd done baby massage.
I have five children (aged 8-23). One born in hospital and four at home. I used water for pain relief with all of them. Only the fourth was born in the pool. The last one was meant to be, but I got out of the pool to go to the loo and didn't have time to get back in!
The more I learn and read about giving birth, about caring for babies and raising children, the more I understand how they flow into and effect one another. Being calm, confident and in control is how I will help you to start your parenting journey.
I am an antenatal teacher, pregnancy relaxation teacher, trainee doula, baby massage teacher, baby wearing adviser, parenting practitioner and breastfeeding peer supporter. I'm also a home birthing, co-sleeping, washable nappy using, baby wearing, full term breastfeeding, gentle parenting mama. I have stepped off the standard path and found my own way ~ and I'd like to help you find yours.
Running the pregnancy and mum retreat days at Tofte Manor makes me so happy (getting my 'hippy' on!). Helping women and men have the space and tools to relax, unwind, and contemplate their journeys is so fulfilling, especially in such an peaceful and beautiful setting. I have to pinch myself every time.
My friend suggested the business name 'Chilled Mama' because she said that every time she'd see me she'd think how relaxed and chilled I was. We would all like to be a bit calmer. Teaching relaxation is at my core. But the flip side is that we need to feel confident and in control enough to relax. And so that's what I do: I give people tools to relax; I give them knowledge and skills to feel confident; and I teach them about their rights and how to assert them, politely of course, so they feel in control.
I have over 16 years’ experience supporting women and couples prepare for birth. Helping them find their own path and how to get it. I get such a kick from witnessing women grow in confidence, take control and go their own way - whether it's deciding to have a vbac or a repeat caesarean. It is your body, your baby, your choice. You have options; you have rights. Your baby only gets this one birth, and it is worth a bit of determination. I have worked with over a hundred women who had a difficult birth and were looking for a better experience. Almost everyone of them said I'm going to be more bolshy this time around. In my experience the health professionals are very happy to accommodate individual plans ~ they just get caught up doing what they are used to. Everything is your choice. Personally and through the woman I have supported, I have experience of changing midwife, changing consultant, declining consultant led care, declining treatment/monitoring/intervention/induction, and home birth with higher risk (vbac, twins).
I worked for eight years managing a Sure Start children's centre in Central Beds, where I delivered the courses I now offer through Chilled Mama and more. I co-wrote a postnatal course 'Baby Days' which is now being delivered in all the children's centres in Central Bedfordshire and trained the staff to deliver the course. I work ad hoc for the charity Best Beginnings embeding the use of their app 'Baby Buddy' with midwives and health visitors.
Over the years I have helped hundreds of women through my courses and with 1-1 support. I am a qualified antenatal teacher and have attended other courses and conferences, including Sheila Kitzinger's birth crisis network training. I sat on the local Maternity Services Liaison Committee covering the L&D for four years.
I have a psychology degree - which comes in very handy with sleep, relaxation, child development. During my first pregnancy I used techniques and knowledge from my psychology degree to mentally prepare for the birth. After the birth of my next two children my friends were asking me to share this with them. So I designed and delivered a pregnancy relaxation course.
I live in Toddington, Bedfordshire and have five children, aged 8, 14, 17, 21 & 23.
Parents want to do their best for their children. My job is to support you in that - by giving the best up-to-date information and practical know how. Please ask if you have any questions.
Training and experience
Speaker at international VBAC Summit (July 2017)
Sentient Birth Conference, University of Herfordshire Midwifery Society (January 2017)
Doula training, Red Tent Doulas (completed October 2016)
Working with Multiple Mamas (June 2016)
Baby signing training (March 2016);
Chichester home birth conference (March 2016);
NHS breastfeeding peer supporter group supervision (July 2016, May 2016, Feb, 2016, Dec 2015)
Accepted as NHS breastfeeding peer supporter (November 2015)
Wrote & delivered facilitator training for postnatal course, Baby Daze (June-October 2015)
Qualified antenatal teacher (March 2015)
NHS Breastfeeding update (Nov 2014)
Baby massage CPD, Touch Learn International (July 2014)
Baby Wearing Adviser, Touch Learn (March 2014)
NHS Breastfeeding update (Dec 2013)
Oral health and nutrition update (November 2013)
Chichester home birth conference (March 2013)
Baby massage training, Touch Learn (Sept 2011)
Management and support of breastfeeding, NHS (Nov 2009)
One Stop Parent Shop (March 2009)
Oral health & nutrition, NHS (Oct 2008)
Parent programme leader, The Nurturing Programme (aka Parent Puzzle), (2008)