Our MPower 2019 Overall Award Winner for ‘Community’ – Claire Duddridge of Little Pips Pre & Postnatal Wellbeing shares with us her Mother of Reinvention journey xx
Tell us about your journey into motherhood…
I had my first baby – Dylan – in 2010. I was naive about birth and had a traumatic experience, but Dylan was a placid and lovely baby so I pushed it to the back of my mind and just enjoyed being his mum.
A couple of years later, having just been made redundant, I fell pregnant with Frankie. I did so much birth preparation this time and went on to have a beautiful healing birth – I was on cloud nine and felt like a birthing goddess! However, I could never have predicted being completely floored by Postnatal Depression. Frankie was a poorly baby, and numerous hospital admissions, reflux and allergies meant I struggled to make him happy and felt like a failure. I was lucky to have a supportive HV and doctor who helped me through, and a huge part of my later recovery was training as an Antenatal and Baby Massage teacher to create a supportive local community so that no mums need to ever feel alone.
In 2014 I had a shock when I found out that I was pregnant with twins on Frankie’s 1st birthday! I had been worried that the PND would resurface, but making sure that I had a support network around me this time meant that I had the space to be honest and open about my feelings, and felt comfortable in my parenting with no judgement. I somehow managed to wing my way through having 4 children very young children whilst starting my own new business in 2017, and my twins Louie and Pippa start school this year which seems crazy!
My own journey led to the birth of Little Pips, and community, love, support and solidarity are at the heart of everything I hope to achieve ♡
I have 4 children aged 8, 6, and 4-year-old twins, and love what I do!
How did you feel about yourself and your job before you became a mum?
I studied Ethics and Community Justice in University then fell into a job in Retail Management before falling pregnant with my first child (now 8) a few years later. I returned to work full time, and found that I went back with new eyes – I was no longer happy in that environment, and being a seasonal business meant that I had to miss out on a lot of quality time with my son. I was made redundant when Dylan was almost 2 years old, and what felt like a devastating blow at the time, losing my salary and job, actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I would never have taken the leap to do what I do now if it hadn’t have happened!
What was the biggest lesson you learnt from becoming a mum?
That despite reading a million books on routine, babies haven’t read any of them! When I finally realised the power of simply responding to cues, rather than focusing my energy on what we ‘should’ be doing, I felt so much more content and confident in my role as a mother – it made for a much happier household and less feelings of ‘failure’ if something didn’t work!
Why did you want to teach baby massage and yoga?
I had postnatal depression with my second baby and went along to a baby massage class in an attempt to connect and bond with him. He was a poorly baby and also had reflux, so he was generally quite a miserable little man! It took everything I had to walk into that class, and just as I had predicted he screamed and I couldn’t settle him. The instructor then came over and asked me to take him outside as he was upsetting the other babies. As I left in floods of tears, I vowed that I would become a birth and baby teacher and that no one would ever be made to feel unwelcome in my classes. And that’s where it all began!
What do you love about teaching?
I love that parents trust me at such a vulnerable time in their lives. I am in the unique position of being able to watch bumps turn into babies, and women turn into mothers. I often get teary watching those blissful looks of connection and love in my baby massage classes!
What has been the biggest surprise?
How I have never felt like what I do is a ‘job’ (apart from when I’m snowed under in emails or accounts!). I genuinely adore helping people, and when I see the difference my community is making to local mums experiences of motherhood my heart is filled with joy.
Do you have any regrets?
None at all.
What are your plans for the future?
I am excited to be adding Rebozo skills and Postnatal Doula services to my pregnant clients from September, and taking Yoga for Kids into local schools. I also plan to extend my offerings with Blossom and Berry later this year by upgrading to the 1001 Days programme. I love to learn and can’t imagine ever stopping!
What’s your favourite song to play in classes?
‘Ong So Hung’ by the Guru Singh Experience is the perfect massage track for babies – lovely calming humming men, and the track is around 20 minutes long so a great length for a massage!
Thank you Claire for sharing your sense of community and your journey of motherhood reinvention, we are so proud of you! Love from the Blossom and Berry Team xx