Sharing the love

The BigBirthas website has been active for a little over two years now. While I haven’t ever got as much time as I’d like to work on the site, it isn’t hard to stay motivated, as every so often I get a lovely email from someone in the BigBirthas community about how the site has helped them.

I don’t usually share them, but thought maybe it’s time I did (with permission!) so here is my most recent lovely email from ‘Jo’:

I just wanted to say an enormous THANK YOU for your website! I have just discovered I am pregnant after trying to conceive for some time so am over the moon! But am already being body-shamed and fed so many scare stories from the medics that I fear they will make me high risk purely through scaremongering! I’m certain sure my body is not high risk and needed some evidence and research to back it up!

Your wealth of information and reassuring guidance on your amazing website has calmed me down and empowered me to advocate for myself during appointments and in particular, push strongly for a water birth which I have always wanted. This must have taken an awful lot of time and effort (there is so much info there!), but it is a lifesaver for women like me. I will be visiting your page often throughout the next few months!

Thank you


So for Jo (huge congratulations!) and everyone else reading this, you are most welcome. It has been and remains truly a pleasure.

I’m only sorry I still haven’t got round to finishing researching and writing the many articles that are still languishing in my ‘draft’ box – many of which are little more than titles. I still think I will get round to it! But it seems the right time to reflect. I’ve been involved in a few campaigns over the time that BigBirthas has been active – trying to positively influence birth treatment and outcomes, for everyone, not just the larger ladies in our community, and now the Maternity Review was just published yesterday. I’ve not read all of it yet (there’s over 100 pages!) but it does seem to be suggesting more woman-centred care, which can only be a good thing, in my opinion!

So if you’ve just found out you’re pregnant and are apprehensive of what the future brings, welcome. There’s a community here. Be strong. Have faith in your body’s innate abilities. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Request to see the evidence base on which treatment is being recommended, and object/refuse/work to find an alternative where you experience prejudicial treatment that has no good evidence for its imposition.

And if you’re ever feeling low, or as though you’re not ‘supposed’ to be pregnant, do a Google image search for ‘fertility goddess’ or ‘mother goddess’. See those carvings and sculptures of women with big breasts, big hips and big tummies?

The ancient people who made those figures knew what they were talking about.

You are a goddess.

Don’t you forget it.

Halcyon Birthing Centre Facebook Plea

You may have seen this pop up on your Facebook feed.

The text reads:

This is the Tranquility room at Halcyon Birthing Centre in Smethwick, where Rosie Bo came into the world yesterday. This standalone midwife led unit is an amazing NHS facility that is at risk of closure if it doesn’t increase it’s average birth rate of just 1 per month currently (since no-one knows about it)! Open to all low risk women, regardless of area. Fixed pool in each room, flat screen TV and DVD player, double bed for both parents to share after delivery and totally unrestricted visiting. Please help us spread the word by telling anyone you know who’s pregnant!

Halcyon Birthing Centre, Smethwick

This makes me so sad.

Why is such an amazing facility so underused? What is putting women off attending there? Do they really not know about it?

I know why I didn’t go there.

I gave birth to my second child in my lounge, with an inflatable pool, my husband, and two wonderful, supportive midwives just 2.8 miles from The Halcyon Birthing Centre.

Of course, I wasn’t eligible to use the centre on the grounds of my high BMI

No other complications. None. Monitored throughout for blood pressure, diabetes, macrocosmia (big baby), all the usual suspects. None arose. Just high BMI.

It was a fabulous birth.

Knowing what I know now, I would plan for all my future births to be at home. We’ve actually decided our family is complete, but at the time of planning what became a home birth, I would have been delighted to be welcomed to this facility, but it was not to be. And so, I fought my fight for my treatment to be on my terms, got the fantastic birth I wanted, and the Big Birthas site was also born out of the process.

You probably wouldn’t be reading this now if I had given birth in the Halcyon. But I wonder if I had, would you then be reading the above plea on Facebook?

If they want to increase attendance, they could perhaps consider how they evaluate ‘high risk’ cases as a starting point. Just a thought.

Looking For A Bargain?

I’ve always got one eye open for a cheeky bargain. And when I’m updating the links for this site I often spot great deals, so I thought I might as well share them with you!

Hop along to Big Birtha’s Bargains – I’ll post links to any reduced price plus-size maternity wear (or regular items that could be suitable as maternity wear) I find, please feel free to post any good deals you spot.

Even if you wouldn’t fit into that gorgeous bargain of a size 22 babydoll dress, some other Big Birtha out there might be looking for just that!

New Article – Important Info About Birth Pools and Legionnaire’s Risk

If you’re considering buying or using a spa-type pool for your water birth, you might want to read this article:

Water Birthing Pools and Legionnaire’s Risk

about the risk of Legionnaire’s disease (a very serious type of pneumonia) when pools are filled in advance of labour and the temperature maintained with a heater and pump.