Many of those mummies have written cards or social media posts about what their time in Daisy has meant to them, and this has provoked tears from me quite a few times this week! The thing that they say over & over again is how important their Daisy community has been for them – their fellow mummies becoming friends, confidantes, coffee & cake dates, (drinking buddies in some cases), and the people who can say at 4am “I know, me too”.
This element of Daisy is what drove me to ditch my corporate career and retrain as a teacher for The Daisy Foundation. Until I started my Daisy Birthing classes at 20 weeks pregnant, I had found my pregnancy a bit isolating (what do you do with your social life when you can’t drink wine?!) Daisy gave me a group of people who were at roughly the same stage as me – pregnant, bewildered, excited, anxious… Although many of my friends had done it way before me, it’s not the same as having someone in the same position at the same time. Over the course of a couple of terms, my Daisy classmates and I tentatively chatted at the end of class, we began to add each other on Facebook and participate in forum chats, and then those chats at the end of class got longer, we swapped numbers and began to make plans to meet up. When I went in to hospital to have Rory, I bumped into one of my Daisy friends and her brand new baby girl – she gave me the confidence boost I needed to know that everything would be ok! After he arrived, some of my early visitors were my Daisy friends who hadn’t yet met their babies but were so excited to meet Rory!
Our first “play date” was the mummy above and her baby girl – they came round and stayed for hours. We drank a lot of tea, probably ate a lot of cake & talked about what a rollercoaster it was – it was such a tremendous relief to know that we were experiencing the same things. As the days passed, the messages between us increased and gradually the other Daisy babies arrived! How exciting it was to hear everyone’s birth stories and meet the babies who had been cocooned in those bumps for all the classes. We took it in turns to host coffee mornings, garden parties, book lunch dates and go for walks.
Our days were punctuated with long awaited Daisy Baby Tinies massage classes to begin with, and then the Daisy Wrigglers baby yoga classes, where we met even more new mummies and the classes had such a warmth about them. I am quite a shy person in new company and while I tried every single baby class I possibly could, none of them focussed on Mum the way that Daisy does. We were encouraged to speak about how our week had been – what was good, what was challenging. There were tears, there was laughter, there was a lot of chat that simply would have been inappropriate with anyone else! In my Daisy bubble, I felt accepted, normal and as if I was doing ok! Other baby classes were sometimes lovely, but I could honestly have left many of those classes without ever being encouraged to talk to another mummy, and as someone who finds approaching strangers really out of my comfort zone, Daisy was my “safe space” where Mummy interaction thrived!
As friendships became stronger, I found that I had a group of Mummies I could go to for anything…. Breastfeeding issues or encouragement, I had a girl for that. Motivation to get out walking with the buggy, I had a girl for that. A cheerleader to get me to “Pram Attack” gym class, I had a girl for that. People I really connected with on a level above being a mummy, I had girls for that. An organiser who had her eye on planning lunches & coffee dates so we always knew when we would have company, I had a girl for that. Someone I could call spontaneously to say we were heading out to the shops or for coffee, I had a girl for that. Easy company to come round and sit in the house talking nonsense & eating junk, I had a girl for that. A fellow wine drinker who didn’t mind going just round the corner so we weren’t too far from babies while we shared pictures of them, talked about our leaky body parts and competed about how tired we were, yes, I had a whole group of girls for that!
Daisy helped me to grow into my role as a mummy; I learned so many things but most of all, that trusting my instincts in a world where people are quick to make you feel as if everything you are doing is wrong! Without that group, without those girls, my maternity leave would have been a very different (and potentially very lonely) place. Without sounding dramatic, those Daisy mummies were my lifeline in the long days when my husband was at work, my friends were getting on with life and my own parents were in another country. The classes were such a lovely distraction and focus of the week where alongside my new buddies, we learned how to soothe our fretful babies through touch, we learned rhyme after rhyme that would be repeated every day ever since, we learned that it’s ok to laugh and cry, we learned that it’s ok to admit it’s sometimes a bit rubbish, we learned what milestones would come next and that it was ok for our babies to reach them in their own time, we learned lively baby yoga routines, we also had some mummy workouts to help to tone & strengthen, but most of all, we had each other!
I am so grateful to my teacher Julie for her never ending support – in and out of class, for me as a mummy and a potential Daisy teacher, and to my Daisy friends and the wider community. I have no doubt that had I not skipped the country, we would still be having fun with our Daisy toddlers now & they’ll never know the impact they had on my maternity leave & career change.
Jess Higgins runs Daisy Birthing classes in Ballymena, Newtownabbey and Coleraine. These classes incorporate pregnancy yoga style movement (suitable for even the “least bendiest” ladies), active birth and antenatal education, and relaxation all in a friendly & laid back manner. Jess also runs Daisy Baby classes – Tinies baby massage to soothe and calm young babies, and Wrigglers baby yoga – mixing story time, sensory play and baby yoga into a fun and lively class.
All Jess’ classes through The Daisy Foundation are underpinned by a thriving and friendly online community and the values of Confidence, Community & Choice.
Her classes can be booked here: http://thedaisyfoundation.com/antenatal-classes-in-northern-ireland-jess-higgins/ or if you call her on 07793727543, she’ll happily talk to you all day long J