Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

I have to say that I have never been a fan of Gina Ford.  Although I haven’t read her book “The contented little baby” from cover to cover, I’ve read enough to know that I completely disagree with her ideas of strict routines, indeed I wonder how any mother could cope with doing anything else if she followed Ms Ford’s advice as every moment of the day and night appears to be mapped out!

I was very interested in a parenting programme that was on TV a year or so ago which followed three couples who followed various styles of parenting; there was a couple who adopted a very strict time scheduled routine, a middle way and those who adopted an attachment style of parenting.  I was not surprised to learn that the couple who practised attachment parenting were the ones who got the most sleep!  Whilst I appreciate that this may not be for everybody, I think it is important for parents to know that they should listen to their instincts and parent in the way that makes them feel most comfortable and that they don’t have to listen to the “so-called” experts.

Back to Gina Ford, in her new book “The contented mother’s guide” she apparently is advising women that they should resume marital relations within four to six weeks after the birth.  Well, as a mother and a midwife I KNOW this will not be for everyone and indeed in some circumstances this could be positively dangerous and harmful.

As a midwife, women have sometimes shared their stories with me and I have known women who resume sexual relations within days of childbirth and I also know that there are women who wait a year (or more).  What is right for women couple will not be for another and you should follow your own instinct and not listen to a woman who has not had children herself!

For further information see

This is a guest blog, written by Donna Jones –
Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding things we can do in our lives but it can also be one of the most frustrating and stressful times too. It can feel like there is constant pressure on us with no time to ourselves.

I see many clients who are suffering with parental stress and are struggling to find ways to deal with it. Our children know just the right button to press to get our stress levels soaring!

Some common symptoms of stress can be:

  • Feeling Irritable
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Headaches

Some things that have helped some of my clients are:-

  • Try to step back from the situation, take a deep breath and go and make yourself a cup of tea to give yourself some space for a couple of minutes.


  • Have a distraction box, this can be great for any ages, fill it with toys, crayons, colouring books, craft stuff or whatever is relevant for their age. It does not have to cost a lot as you can pick up cheap items from many supermarkets. Ask your children to pick something from the box to act as a distraction to keep them busy for five minutes while you have some time to yourself.


  • Your thoughts and how you perceive events around you can change your mood and stress levels. You can’t always change the world around you but you can change your reaction to it.


  • Try to plan things to look forward to you are important too and need some ‘me’ time to help you to de-stress


  • Know your limits, if your expectations of yourself are always sky high you will inevitably spend a great deal of time being disappointed and frustrated. Instead, be realistic in what you can achieve.


  • Get Support seeking support from other people can be the key to getting through stressful situations. Ironically, your reaction when under stress can often be to withdraw from those who might offer the most support. Even worse, stressful times can put a strain on the relationships you most depend on.


  • Talk to family and friends about how you are feeling. Talking openly about how you feel can be like opening a door, it helps you get back in control and can highlight the choices you have.


  • Not taking on too much, accepting offers of help from others are great ways to help reduce your stress levels.

As parents we also need to remind ourselves that we are doing a good job and to recognise that good is good enough and that no one is perfect.

Learn to relax physically

To help reduce your stress levels relaxation is important but being able to relax your body is a skill. A lot of my clients find it hard to relax as they have spent all day racing round after their children, going to work, doing housework and then when it is finally time to sit down their body is still so full of adrenaline they find it near impossible to switch off.

Some good ways to help you relax are:

  • Physical exercise such as go for a walk or join a dance class.
  • Read a book this is a good form of relaxation as it makes you sit down and also acts as a distraction from the stressful days events by making you concentrate on the contents of the book instead.
  • Breathing exercises Try breathing in for five breaths then out for six slowly.
  • Treat yourself to a relaxation tape or listen to some of your favourite music.
  • Or do nothing, sometimes just to sit still with a cup of tea can do wonders J

By Donna Jones

Counselling by Donna