Looking for outdoor maternity shoot? Battersea Park in London is lush

I love Battersea park and I love visiting it in the summer. It’s green and lush and has shaded areas where you can also cool down away from the heat.

We set to do a maternity shoot with this lovely lady, at Battersea Park looking for the beautiful surroundings as a natural background.

Although quite close to the term, this energetic ‘mum-to-be’ was happy to try a few places and walk around wandering in the park.

Here are some of the photos. She was on the way to a wedding and was wearing a beautiful dress that looks stunning but was also comfortable.

Pregnancy is such an amazing time, there is all the excitement about the baby but also all the changes to the body and also to the person, who is starting on a journey to becoming the most special person in the world, to a new being, ‘a mother’.

The precious months of pregnancy go fast, planning a maternity session at a convenient time and at reasonable prices can create those lasting memories that can be cherished forever.


For bookings email

laura.shimili@gmail.com

 

Wonderful trip to Paris, while pregnant and with a toddler

Visiting Paris is a memorable experience, right?

Having done it with just my husband (when there was just us two) and having previously lived in Paris for seven years in my student years, doing it with a toddler in tow and pregnant was a (totally crazy) different experience.

Only joking, it was still wonderful, and not more stressful because, hold tight, we didn’t cram in too much during our 3 days there.

Packing too many things during the stay can make it stressful, so we wanted to have a relatively free and spontaneous programme, while also having a list of things to do/see. Having one key attraction per day was the perfect amount we found.

So on to what worked well for us?

Stay close to the departure/arrival station

Well, first staying somewhere close to ‘the point of entry’ i.e. for us the Eurostar arrival station, Gare du Nord. We booked an AirBnb apartment about 10 minutes walk from Gare du Nord and that was brilliant. It meant that we could ‘check-in’ first and drop our bags and have a quick refreshment/put my feet up. Also for our toddler it was exciting to discover a new place and enjoy some quiet time before we set off for an outing again.

Beautiful Canal St Martin area

The second good thing about the location of our apartment was that we were quite close to the beautiful canal St Martin, with its many coffee shops, bars and brasseries. So after a quick rest we headed out again and stopped for a late lunch in one of the canal facing, brasseries. Along the canal there is a playground, an additional attraction for our toddler who still had some remaining energies after all.

Being in a different country is interesting when you observe your own child trying to interact with other local children. And before you ask, no I wasn’t providing any kind of translation, to questions, such as “can i have a go at the swing”, that doesn’t need any translating, does it?

Balloon adventure at Parc Andre Citroen

The definite highlight of our trip was the “balloon” adventure. During my years of studying in Paris and working intermittently as an ‘au pair’ I had gained a good ‘children related’ knowledge of playgrounds and adventure parks.

One I was very familiar with was Parc Andre Citroen, in the 15th arrondissement. It is a little bit out of the way and not a main tourist attraction but for kids it is magical. 

The park has a number of gardens and a great fountain court with water jets that can be such great fun, in hot weather. You can sit on the grass and enjoy a picnic while you look at the balloon, which is not a “hot air” but a “tethered” balloon that goes up to 150 metres. The views of the Seine and the Tour Eiffel are splendid and it is not as crowded as the Tour Eiffel or Sacre Coeur Cathedral.

‘Toujours dans mon coeur’ Quartier Latin

Another favourite area I always love to visit when in Paris, is the Quartier Latin or 5th arrondissement, perhaps because I love to go back to the ‘student streets’ of la Sorbonne where I spent many splendid youthful years.

Jardin du Luxembourg cannot be sidelined and hidden in there, is another great adventure playground for kids, “Les Poussins Verts”.  This one was way too busy than the quiet and relaxing Parc Andre Citroen but it is centrally located and you also have to pay a small fee.

One thing we had not noticed on our previous trips, was the lack of escalators or lifts in the “Metro”. If you can manage not to have a buggy or can take with you a collapsible one, underground journeys will be less tiring.

By the end of the third day in Paris, while also quite pregnant, 7th months precisely, I was starting to feel the heat of the streets and the underground and it was soon time to leave.

Eurostar here we come!

Heading towards Gare du Nord and the exciting Eurostar journey, was extremely pleasant and another adventure for our toddler, the train and the tunnel under the sea!

Some photos from the trip, unseen before, enjoy!

I would love to hear if you have been to any of these places in Paris or have any others to share.

Love

My 1st birth story and why hypnobirthing is good

Childbirth is such a very sensitive subject but also such an important event in mothers’ lives. It can affect our wellbeing and it is one of our most important memories.

My 1st birth story and why hypnobirthing is good, a view from St Thoma's hospital

When I was pregnant with my first baby (now 4) I came across the hypnobirthing method and Marie Mongan’s book. The book was written to show another, more natural way of giving birth at a time of over-medicalisation of childbirth in America, in the 50s and 60s. Doctors at the time used to knock mothers down with drugs and it was very different. I did a hypnobirthing course with Judith Flood, in London, she was good, if you want to check her out (the course was over a weekend, at St Thomas’s hospital, in London, which is also where I gave birth).

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For me, choosing hypnobirthing was only a natural extension as I had practiced yoga for many years.

Like many others, I carried many negative images of childbirth. I was totally scared by it and had spent my teenage years, considering it as a totally undignifying process only women go through. What hypnobirthing did, was to strip me off these preconceptions and teach me a positive attitude.

It also gave me something to work on while I was waiting for baby to arrive (he was 2 weeks late so I had some time to spare).

Hypnobirthing teaches you how to reach a state of relaxation through regular practice of visualisations and positive self-hypnosis. The idea is to get your body and mind used, so that on the actual day of birth, you can reach that same comfortable place. By doing so your body will produce the good hormones that act as natural painkillers.

But going through childbirth for the first time is a little bit like walking in the dark. There are many unknowns, about your body, the size of the baby and his head and his exact position. I used to visualise during my daily routine, that the baby would be born like floating in the sea, gently and happily. That was a beautiful image, that kept me happy, unworried and ready to meet baby but in reality I had no idea of what was going to happen.

My actual birth was quite unexpected. I managed to spend 6 hours without any painkillers, by visualising and breathing. The state I was in, wasn’t very pleasant, as baby was pushing on my back (he was back to back) and making me feel, as if my joins would part.

The whole birthing process lasted 24 hours, 6 of which I spent hypnobirthing. After that I was moved from one part of the maternity ward to another, where monitors and epidurals are common practice. My blood pressure spiked and I was told there would be no pool for me, as I had to be monitored and the blood pressure had to go down.

I was told after an examination that I hadn’t made much progress (still at 5 cm and baby’s head was not applying the same pressure everywhere on the cervix). I was told that it was going to be long. When I was offered an epidural, I accepted it.

Hypnobirthing had taught me to be prepared, for any turn my birth could take and remain calm. Which I did! With the epidural it was all fine for the next 14 hours. I was able to enjoy the beautiful view from St Thomas’ hospital maternity ward, over the London Eye and Westminster bridge.

But it was a state of a calm before the storm. The stage of pushing lasted 2 hours and a half, it was exhausting (I could feel everything despite the epidural and had the feeling my internal organs would come out, that hard was I trying to push) but to no avail as baby’s head would not emerge. At the end I had an episiotomy and a ventouse.

When he emerged it was the strongest feeling I have ever had! A small baby was there, what a surprise (when you expect the first time, you somehow don’t realize that). He was hot, heavy (quite big for me, he weighed 3 kg 700g and I am quite thin and small) and crying. I wanted to hold him, look at him and care for him. It was definitely love at first sight!

So I didn’t have the hypnobirth I had hoped for but I had the birth that my body was able to manage.

After all for me hypnobirthing worked in getting me ready mentally and emotionally for the ‘big stretch’ that is birth. I accept this and would recommend hypnobirthing to other mothers as a natural method that helps to prepare for childbirth.

My second birth (now a year ago) was the complete opposite of my first, unplanned home birth, with an ambulance crew only for the last 20 minutes, after having slept for 2 hours and going through the first stages of labor in my sleep (that is the best way to make sure you are relaxed…)

We had a doula, but she didn’t make on time for the birth but my conversations with them (they are 2 ladies that work together) and the support they gave me beforehand, were what unblocked my fears and made me ready to embrace the birth experience, as a positive one.

Also thanks to Maggie Howell, she has created an amazing, natal hypnotherapy CD, (I strongly recommend it) which put me to sleep and allowed me to totally relax until my body was ready to let the baby out. I will write my 2nd birth story soon.