I am incredibly honoured to be featuring the AMAZING Clemmie Hooper on the blog today! She’s the country’s favourite midwife, facilitator of homebirths, empowerer of women, writes a hugely popular kick-ass blog, rocks a covetable wardrobe, somehow manages to have an enviably tidy home and is about to become a double mama TWICE OVER! Oh, and did I mention she’s writing a book?!
This woman is truly a force to be reckoned with and it’s been a privilege to have known her since we both began our Motherhood journey, almost 9 years ago…
Location: Crystal Palace, South East London
Number of Kids: 2 + 2 on the way
Names and ages of aforementioned: Anya – 8 & Marnie – 4
Was motherhood planned, a lovely surprise or somewhere in the middle?
Absolutely not, I’d just left uni, my boyfriend and I were having way too much fun at various festivals, let’s call it the Summer of Love. We were pretty shocked when we found out.
Initial feelings on finding out you were pregnant?
Terrified, angry and scared of what the future might hold.
How did you tell your partner?
I showed him the test I was crying so he kind of knew what it meant.
He was pretty silent for a while, said some swear words and went very pale.
Did you glow your way through pregnancy or was it a complete bitch?
I was only 23 so I guess being young and fit helped, I suffered from a really bad back and felt massive (as you do with every pregnancy) towards the end.
Tell me about your birth experience?
I was 5 days past my EDD and went into labour on a Saturday morning, stayed at home for as long as possible then went to a birthing centre accompanied by my boyfriend. I used the pool for a bit but got too hot and bothered and birthed Anya on all fours completely stark naked. I had my 2 amazing midwives with me (one came back from Glastonbury to be with me). It was a lot more intense than I ever expected, the sensation of your body pushing out your baby is something I’ll never forget. I felt like a bloody warrior woman for doing all of that with a whiff of gas and air.
Describe motherhood in a few words:
Exhausting, messy, rewarding.
Can you share any highlights?
When our second daughter was 4 days old our elder daughter asked us through floods of tears when we were going to return her to the train station. The realisation that she was no longer an only child suddenly dawned on her.
Can you share any low points?
Any time you have to look after your children with a horrendous hang over is pretty awful, dropping the f bomb and then your daughters repeating it to Daddy when he gets home isn’t a great feeling. And anytime I have to leave them to go to work and they’re crying for Mama, I hate missing bed and bath time if I’m at a birth.
What do you do when the baby sleeps?
The first time around I was on this sort of high and never did that sleeping in the day when the baby slept. Second time around I slept whenever she did but my elder daughter only went to nursery 3 days a week so I ended up at hideous soft plays and in the playground as you do. I wish I’d slept more the first time around.
Have you got a blog?
Yes I started Gas&Air almost 4 years ago. It’s all about my life as a midwife and mum, I share all the wisdom I’ve learnt over the last 10 years that I hope and think women really need to know. From what to pack in your hospital bag, to how to prevent tearing and how to write your birth plan and I’ve got a book being published by Random House in Spring 2017 ‘How to grow a baby and push it out’.
What’s the best bits of being a Mama?
The spontaneous ‘I love you Mummy’ and the huge cuddles in bed even at the crack of dawn. When your child tells you a really funny joke and it makes sense!
If you didn’t have your kids for a week what would you do?
Sleep, shop, go to the cinema, finish that book on my bedside table, have morning sex with my husband, go for drinks straight after work, basically everything you don’t do as often once you’re a mum of 2.
Have you got any advice for mamas-to-be/new mamas?
Go easy on yourself especially 1st time around, you’re not doing a shit job you’re doing great. And it doesn’t necessarily get easier you just get better at it.
Is there anything you wish you had known?
Those expensive baby classes when your baby is 6 weeks old are a waste of money, find like-minded mums and go for coffee and cake.
What’s do you reckon the most essential item mamas-to-be need to pack in their birth bag?
Really useful things like a bottle of spray water for your face, a flannel, some lavender oil, comfy socks, a TENS machine, music on your phone, headphones and hypnobirthing scripts.
What’s been your best baby product?
Best baby product has to be super large swaddling blankets – mops up milk, spilt tea, tears (both yours and baby’s) can be draped over the pram on a sunny day…
What’s your ultimate mum product?
Anything by Weleda – their baby products are great for a new mums’ tired skin. I love their almond products – perfect when your skin’s a bit dry!
Massive thanks to Clemmie for finding the time to complete this Q&A! Remember to check out her blog and keep your eyes peeled for her book!!! You can keep up with her pregnancy progress (and amazing maternity wardrobe) by following her on IG – @midwifeyhooper
If any Mama reading this would like to feature as part of my ‘In the (mother) hood’ series, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org