Kathy Fray: New trends in motherhood coming!
Kathy Fray, author of best-selling and award-winning ‘parenting bible’ OH BABY…Birth, Babies & Motherhood Uncensored. Kathy is a fountain of knowledge on practically all topics regarding pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum, babies, motherhood, parenting and IMC (Integrative Maternity HealthCare). She has a personal midwifery clientele labour success rate of 85% vaginal births with a complex clientele who typically have 35% C-section deliveries. This expert knows her stuff!
What first inspired you to write “OH BABY…Birth, Babies & Motherhood Uncensored”?
Fifteen years ago, simply as one-mum-to-another irked by the pious and perfect mothercraft guidebooks that were out there, I began writing. At first it just felt cathartic – to get things off my chest! When I started, I had no idea It would ever turn into a best-seller for more than a decade. Stating my truth changed my life, because women everywhere ‘got’ it, and told their friends.
What do you love about your job?
I love the thanks I receive, routinely, from women who invest in their own wisdom by coming under my wings of supportive education. I think it makes such a huge difference to their journey – and subsequently their baby’s journey.
What advice do you have for soon-to-be parents?
Stop telling yourself “How hard can it be – it’s just a baby!” Throughout history it’s taken “a village” to help raise a child, meaning that everyone understood that with experience comes wisdom, and the support and wisdom of the village made being a new mum so much easier. But somehow, we’ve lost sight of that today and new mums have never felt so alone. Everyone is working (the partner, the girlfriends, the grandparents). So, a new mother can spend hour upon hour alone at home, worrying about why her baby isn’t latching properly, longing for her baby to sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time, and in tears when her baby is screaming for hours day and night, exhausted because she hasn’t slept more than two hours straight in three weeks.
Unfortunately, this scenario has become practically routine for many new mothers. Subsequently, my best advice is obviously bias, invest in the best supportive education you can possibly afford, instead of hoping it’ll all be okay. Sell something on TradeMe if you have to. It’s about realising “we don’t know what it is we don’t know.”
What motherhood trends do you foresee coming to New Zealand?
Internationally there are three ‘trends’ I keep noticing:
- Women putting their cute, sexy preggy-belly photos on Instagram (It’s almost a ‘must do’ these days, ha). Women are proud of their curvy expectant body, they no longer feel the need to hide under flowy tent-dresses
- A general regard that giving birth naturally is like some hard-core and bad-ass superwoman activity, when fifty years ago it was simply seen as a normal life event… inspirational and inspiring always, but a very normal recurring occurrence in a female’s life
- An ‘underground’ earth-mother movement to ‘reclaim’ natural birth as a rite of passage. Growing numbers of women are beginning to seek education on how to manage a labour without an epidural. When you are adamant you want to avoid an epidural, it becomes essential to learn the wise-woman, thousands-of-years-old ‘tricks of the trade’ of natural pain management techniques. We’re not quite there yet, in my opinion we still have too many women saying “Yes, yes – I want to do it all naturally” but then not learning enough antenatally about how to accomplish a natural birth – thus the subsequent demands at 7-8cm dilatated for epidurals, resulting in high levels of instrumental and surgical deliveries
What education, at a minimum, so you recommend for first-time expectant Mums?
I always recommend a multi-prong approach, because it is powerful to hear the same thing explained several times in several different ways – I call it ‘Layering’ the knowledge:
- Attend your regular antenatal classes asap during your pregnancy
- Then attend a class or read a book about ancient meditative labour (known today as Hypnobirthing)
- Attend a Breastfeeding lactation class or meet up with your local Le Leche League mums for a lesson on “how to latch a newborn”
- Ensure all your Birth Support People read my Oh Baby’s childbirth chapter – you want everyone “on the same page” so to speak – it makes a massive impact on the day
- Download my free “Organic Birth” guide ready for Labour
- If you’re not opting for one of my more expensive private consulting programmes, at least grab one of my Essential Basics packages to give you 24-7 on-line access to answer practically any question you may have at 3am (only costs about $10/week – ridiculously cheap)