1. Describe yourself in 3 words
Busy, Compassionate, Empathetic
2. What inspired you to set up your company?
I’m a mother of three, my twin girls born at 26 weeks, Charlotte, now 2 years old and Esme who died at 7 weeks old and my son, Archie who is 8 months old.
Charlotte came home when she was 3 months old, weighing 5lb 1oz and on home oxygen. At 1 week old she had a large brain haemorrhage and as a result has right sided hemiplegia.
It wasn’t until experiencing maternity leave with Archie, that I realised how isolated I was with Charlotte. There were no silences, gasps or comments, no difficulties answering questions, I could just simply show him off. With Charlotte, I often found baby groups daunting and constantly felt anxious about how to answer ‘normal’ questions, followed by the need to justify my answers.
I want to create a space for parents who have been on the neonatal unit to share their experiences and to not feel alone. I want them to be able to confidently open up and feel super proud of not only their baby’s achievements but also how far they’ve come, alongside parents who “get it” and truly understand how life can be like on the neonatal unit. I hope it will be a chance to build self care and identity back into their lives.
The group is of course open to all, as parenthood brings a bucket load of reasons for parents to have a time of the day where they can just stop for a moment. A chance to enjoy bonding and relaxing with their baby as well as having a good old natter over cake and a cuppa. I have certainly learnt my best parenting tips and discovered the best advice from fellow mums over a coffee.
3. What’s a typical Amy day like?
Very busy! During the days Charlotte isn’t at school, it often involves getting out of the house in the morning, whether to visit friends, going to playgroup or taking the dogs for a walk. If it’s just me and Archie you will likely find us in a cafe, catching up on ‘mum life’ with other friends on maternity leave and troughing cake. Afternoons are a bit more relaxed and usually involve playing with toys, surviving the witching hours and teatime (3.30pm - 5pm) and getting the kids in bed for 7pm. Evenings are spent watching trashy, easy watching TV programmes or Netflix, eating more biscuits and eventually trying to stop messing around on Insta and dragging my exhausted self to bed.
My maternity leave is coming to an end this month but I have some exciting things about to commence in the upcoming months; beginning my role as a volunteer on the neonatal unit and starting my new ventures, ‘Baby, Me Time’, a class designed for nurturing both parent and baby and ‘Be More Chazzy’, using creative play and interactions to develop communication and motor skills.
4. What are your best baby activities?
Being silly with them; dancing around the kitchen, bouncing them on your knee, singing and copying their sounds
Playing stacking cups, building towers and dublo
5. Any top tips for travelling with babies/kids?
Snacks, snacks and more snacks
Factoring in plenty of time for nappy changes, feeds and stretch of their legs
A fully charged phone to watch Peppa Pig!
6. What’s the best thing about being a mum?
The look of love they give you and you know they’re all yours
7. And the hardest?!
Sleep deprivation and coping with the high demands of a toddler
8. What advice would you pass onto a mum-to-be?
To never doubt your mother’s instinct and trust your gut feeling. To know that you are never alone and what you are thinking/feeling is completely normal. It’s ok to accept that being a mother is the hardest job in the world and to remember that every day is a new day, no two days are the same.
Do your own thing and try not to feel the pressures from social media or comparing yourself to others (granted easier said than done - I really should make sure I practice what I preach). Be you and do what makes you and your baby happy.
9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Dare I say with another child - watch it be twins again!!!! I still feel ridiculously broody - much to my husband’s delight!
Hopefully running my own business and earning an income by doing something I am passionate about, alongside juggling the wonderful chaos of motherhood.
My mental health will hopefully be in good shape. I am currently having weekly CBT sessions, so I hope to have overcome my generalised anxiety disorder and my need to excessively worry be under control.
When Esme died, we founded Campbellinas (what we called the girls when they were born), a non profit organisation set up to support neonatal units within the Yorkshire region. I hope that Campbellinas will continue to raise awareness of prematurity and help to make a difference to the care of critically ill babies, and their families.
10. How can we find out more about you?
I am the author of thisismybraveface.blog. You can also find me under this name on Instagram and Facebook, where I share the highs and lows of motherhood, life and loss.