The etiquette of visiting a newborn. 

A good friend of mine and his husband came to visit us a few weeks ago for the first time since we’d had Arthur. He surprised me by admitting that he’d googled the etiquette of visiting a newborn. At the time I laughed thinking “what an Owain thing to do!” But on reflection it was a bloody good idea! Owain had been itching to meet Arthur and see how we were all doing but wasn’t sure when is a suitable time to start nagging for a visit, and it occurs to me that lots of people probably wonder the same thing while others turn up unannounced on day two when the last thing you need or want is visitors! Here are my thoughts on what you should and shouldn’t do when visiting. 

1. Never turn up unannounced. No new parents want surprise visitors. I was very fortunate to have had a lovely, easy, straightforward birth. I was home the same day and feeling great but I still didn’t want people just turning up unannounced! Always call or text and ask if you can stop by. 

2. When you call or text make sure you give plenty of warning. “Can I come around in half an hour?” Is the most stressful text message I got as a frazzled new mum! I guess people forget how hard it is to be awake, dressed and not crying in a corner somewhere in those first few weeks! I tried to make sure all of our visitors planned their visits at least a week in advance. It meant I knew I had time in the lead up to said visit to make the house look less unloved, be showered and dressed and have my face on. Ideally I’d have Arthur fed and changed and ready for cuddles too if possible. These things may sound unimportant to you, but to be brutally honest, it isn’t about you. A new mum has been through a physically and emotionally traumatic time, and if being showered, dressed and having their make up on makes them feel better able to tackle the day then give them that. 

3. When you make a plan to visit, stick to it or let them know as much in advance as possible if you can no longer make it. As I mentioned in point number 2, it’s an epic mission to be ready for visitors. It isn’t just a case of throwing on some clothes and away we go. If I’ve spent a precious “free” hour cleaning the house for the sole purpose of your visit when I could’ve been sleeping or having a relaxing bath, and then you don’t turn up I will plot your death. 

4. Don’t leave it up to the new parents to invite you around. Mainly because that just won’t happen! Lots of people said to me “let us know when you’re up for visitors” and then backed off. While I appreciated the space, I never felt like I had a “good time” to invite people around and frankly, between the sleep deprivation and the steep learning curve of being a new mum I really didn’t have time to stop and think “right then, who do I need to text now and invite over”. Leave it a week or two and then drop a casual message to see how everyone is doing and if they’re free for a quick visit soon. It prompts us Mombies to remember we have friends who’d like to see us (always a nice feeling) without being pushy. 

5. When you do pop around, keep it brief. We’re Knackered and barely able to string a sentence together most of the time. We can manage an actual conversation for maybe half an hour but that’s your lot! There is nothing worse than having your routine (such as it is) disrupted when a visit you expected to last 30 minutes turns in to several hours of you painfully trying to drop hints while secretly plotting their deaths for not just buggering off already! 

6. Forgive us if we don’t offer you teas/coffees like we normally would. I try and remember to do this when people arrive, but honestly, sometimes it’s been a very sleepless night and I totally forget. It’s not that I’ve lost my manners, or can’t be bothered. Promise. Normal service will resume when we’re all getting a little more sleep. 


Arthur, 7 weeks and 4 days old. 

Arthur Thomas Gingell 

My gorgeous boy Arthur (after his great Grampy) arrived safe and well by natural water birth at 9:25am on Friday 15th July weighing 6lb 11.5oz. 

I will write about my birth experience soon, but for now all I’ll say is it was utterly amazing and everything I had hoped for. 

Arthur is a happy, healthy little boy and we’re all settling in to our new life as a family. I’ll be back soon with more updates and that wonderful birth story but for now, thank you to everyone who’s followed my journey and offered support, words of comfort, and a safe place to vent all my worries. Needless to say, I’m relieved that he’s here and he’s well but I couldn’t have got through this pregnancy without all of your support, so thank you. 💙 

3cm…

After a whopping 8 hours of hanging around the hospital today I am finally home and in the tub trying to relax before I get some much needed rest. 

My midwife appointment yesterday showed my bump measurement was 3 weeks behind so I was sent to the hospital today to see a consultant who decided another scan was for the best. That scan showed very little growth in the last two weeks which they are concerned about and as a result have decided it’s best he comes out sooner rather than later. I’m booked in to be induced early Friday morning…in the meantime I asked if they would do a stretch and sweep since I’ve felt for a few days that things were happening and felt that a sweep might just trigger things to work a little quicker. They agreed and in doing so discovered that I am in fact already 3cm dilated and almost completely effaced! Hurrah! Since the sweep I’ve been having regular contractions which feel like period pain. Nothing unbearable at the moment so I’m making the most of that by eating good hearty food, having a bath, and getting some sleep. With any luck, I’ll be back in the hospital before Friday having him naturally in the birthing pool as per my birth plan….fingers crossed! 


39 weeks and 1 day…and with a bit of luck, my last bump picture!!! 

A quick update 


Just a quick update for the ladies I was chatting with last night to let you all know that it was a false alarm. (Little bit disappointed if I’m honest, I really thought I’d be coming home with my little man!) I had plenty of monitoring and an internal to check and although he is very low in my pelvis, I’m not dilating yet. The pains I’ve been having I just need to keep an eye on. So all is well and he’s going to cook a bit longer before making his appearance which can only be a good thing. 😊 I’m still convinced that I won’t go to 40 weeks but for now it’s business as usual. Just as well really since I’m back in work tomorrow!! 🙈 

Thanks for all the lovely messages and good luck wishes. I will, as ever, keep you posted. X

Baby Shower! 


Last weekend was my baby shower which my gorgeous best friend Dee arranged for me and it honestly couldn’t have been more lovely. There was plenty of delicious food, lots of my favourite people, and an overwhelming amount of practical, thoughtful and beautiful gifts for our little man, as well as some for mum and dad too! Lucky us! It was exactly what I’d have chosen had I been arranging it myself – tasteful and elegant. Not that I ever doubt Dee’s ability to know exactly what I want. She’s good like that! 

It was such a lovely day (although I was completely exhausted by the end of it!) that left Paul and I feeling so thankful for all the wonderful people we have in our lives. It wasn’t just the overwhelming generosity of our family and friends, but also having those people there who’d seen us through our loss and are so thrilled and excited for us to be welcoming our little boy in just a matter of weeks now. It means a lot to know we have so much unwavering support during the bad times as well as the good, and reminds me how fortunate we are that we’re bringing this baby in to such a loving and supportive extended family. He is one lucky boy. 

Since the baby shower I’ve had my consultant referral. We’ve been measuring a week ahead since 28 weeks so we were referred by the midwife for a growth scan. I was ready to burst with the excitement of seeing him again…but he had other ideas and only showed us his bum!!! (He’s definitely going to be mischievous!) everything was totally normal though (thankfully!) and he already weighed 4lb 4oz at 32 weeks. I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be a real chunk by the time he arrives! 

So that’s my little update for you all, we’re all happy and healthy and just on countdown now to actually meeting the little man. 7 weeks to go! 😆 

30 weeks 


30 weeks already. Wow. I feel like time is doing some weird thing where it feels painfully slow and way too fast all at the same time! 

Looking back on my pregnancy so far, I realise I’ve been really lucky to stay so well. A lot of my friends seem to have had one problem after another – that’s got to hamper your enjoyment of being pregnant, and I was adamant I was going to enjoy every single second of this. I’ve had bad weeks of course, I’ve felt terrible, and I’ve had some real scares but on the whole I’ve felt fit and well and this weekend I’ve felt amazing. (Probably something to do with the 10 hour sleep Friday night and the week-

long headache I’d had finally going!) 

I have, however, had quite a lot of negative comments from total strangers about how big I am or how I must be carrying twins etc and although I don’t give a damn what these people think, and I know both myself and my son are happy and healthy it can be hard not to take these comments to heart. I’ve never been especially comfortable with my body. I’ve never been one of these people who doesn’t have to think about weight gain. I’ve had to work hard at eating well and working out in order to get a body I didn’t hate. So as much as I know that right now my size is all about nurturing my growing child, it isn’t easy to keep my mind from thinking I’m fat. It’s so easy to feel fat, frumpy and unattractive isn’t it?

Yesterday a friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post. A local photographer is looking for a pregnant lady to photograph for her online portfolio and my friend thought I’d be interested. I sent a quick message to the photographer and it turns out she’s looking to do a very specific photo shoot…in the bath, with lots of flowers and pretty colours. The photograph would totally focus on bump. 

I absolutely love this idea! 

So I’ve volunteered to do it. Being photographed in the bath is not something I’d have ever dreamt of before, but I love the idea of having this beautiful bump picture that I can always look back on and one day show my little man. I’m actually really excited for this and can’t wait to share the pictures with you all when they’re done. 

That was yesterday morning, then yesterday afternoon as I was leaving the hospital after visiting my nan I got chatting to a lovely couple who were also visiting a relative. They commented on how elegant and beautiful I looked and how pregnancy obviously agreed with me.  In fact my favourite compliment from them was “you look magnificently pregnant!” It is so refreshing to having such lovely comments from total strangers that I was really touched by it. They really made my day! In actual fact, I’d been a bit upset leaving my nan as she was very down and quite distressed. Paul was lovely with her, but that only served to upset me more (because I cry at the drop of a hat at the best of times!) so to then come out and have this lovely couple say such lovely things, it really gave me a boost. 

The truth is, I do feel “magnificently pregnant”! I feel proud to be able to nurture this tiny person because I know firsthand how awful it is to feel that you can’t. People will always open their mouths without engaging their brains, and people will thrust their opinions on you whether you’ve asked for them or not. I guess the trick is to keep in mind everything you’ve been through to get to this place. They don’t know what you’ve been through, they don’t know how much this means and ultimately their opinions don’t matter one little bit. 

My new mantra: “I am not fat. I am magnificently pregnant!” 

“Ooh you must be due any day now”… 

Well I’m not!

In fact I’m not due for another 3 months yet, but that doesn’t stop people telling me how huge I am or comparing me to various modes of transport (and no, I’m really not joking. A colleague genuinely told me I looked like the front of a ship this week) 

It’s not that I mind. I mean I am growing a person after all so I totally expected my body to change and I’m embracing that and actually loving that my body is doing this amazing thing, but it does irk me that people seem to think it’s completely acceptable to point out just how huge you are! It’s just plain rude if you ask me. I wouldn’t dream of telling someone they looked huge – pregnant or otherwise! Particularly as I’m still eating healthily, I haven’t gained weight anywhere but my bump (OK, and my boobs which were cartoon big before I was pregnant so now are competing with the bump as to which stands more prominent!) but, I certainly haven’t just thought “sod it! I’m eating for two pass the chocolate!” The weight I’ve gained is good weight, healthy weight, baby growing weight. I’m ok with that so frankly, anyone else can just kiss my (apparently now fat) ass. 

The thing that annoys me the most with this though is that I’m thick skinned, and I’m comfortable with my body and the changes it’s currently going through, but not everyone is. I know several other pregnant ladies who would be reduced to tears if someone told them they looked like the front of a ship! So what about those women? Why should they be made to feel bad about their appearance? Isn’t it bad enough that we get “fat shamed” or criticised for having cellulite or stretch marks when we’re at our best, without picking on us when we’re at our most vulnerable and most uncomfortable? 

Bottom line though for me? I think people need to engage their brains before their mouths and realise that their words can be hurtful or offensive (or both!) and  maybe the next time someone has something negative to say about my body, I’ll politely point out that after feeling my body had failed me I’m more than happy to take a little weight gain if that means I have a healthy, happy little boy at the end of it. 

And on that indignant, self righteous note here’s a picture of me today at 26+4. So definitely not “due any day now”!