We caught up with mummy blogger and community based midwife Clemmie Hooper this week to celebrate the launch of her new book, ‘How to Grow a Baby (and Push It Out)’. Clemmie works with local women’s groups to provide information and guidance on pregnancy and post-natal care. Clemmie lives with her four daughters and husband Simon Cooper in South London. You can check out her blog here.
Tell us a bit about the launch of your new book, ‘How To Grow A Baby (and Push It Out).’
It’s so exciting and still feels totally surreal. The response on social media especially Instagram has been overwhelming, lots of my followers have been readers of my blog ‘Gas & Air’ from when I first started writing so to see them say things like ‘so thrilled that one of my favourite bloggers is finally a published author!’ feels really lovely. It feels like it’s been a long time coming but at last my ‘fifth baby has been born!
What top tips would you give to our mum-to-be readers about child birth and pregnancy?
I always tell women to slow down and take each week or even day as it comes. Women are overwhelmed with information from the moment they find out they’re pregnant either from their midwife, friends or family members. You really don’t need to start writing your birth plan at 12 weeks into pregnancy or know what pram or cot you want to purchase. We live in a very fast paced consumer world and a lot of what you see especially on social media isn’t always the ‘real deal’. Trying to tune in and listen to your body is fundamental, you’re growing a human being that is amazing and incredible but also can feel quite scary.
You have four children including twins, how do you juggle such a busy career with being a mother?
I’m still learning! We are trying to work out our childcare at the moment. Currently the twins are at nursery part time and the girls are at school but we’re beginning to realise what we really need is a nanny. Simon is really hands on and often works from home which is a huge help especially when I’m away for the night. I’ve recently gone back to work part time as a midwife which feels really great to be back but also quite daunting! We are very lucky to have my mum who lives in Kent who often comes up and helps with childcare. I’m not sure anyone has it quite sorted to be honest!
What inspired you want to write about being a midwife and a mum?
The two roles often merged into one, being a midwife and mother require very similar skills. It came naturally to me to write about both and I think women enjoyed reading about my life at home once I’d hung up my scrubs!
You work on one of the busiest maternity units in the country, what’s it like working in such a busy environment?
It’s challenging but really interesting and exciting. No shift is ever the same and the women and families you meet make the job worthwhile. Any busy teaching hospital has its challenges but my colleagues are a joy to work with and are all really supportive.
Did you always want to be a midwife?
Yes, since a really young age… 8, I think? I questioned my mum endlessly about what one was and used to dress up in my nurses kit and play with my dolls pretending to have just delivered them! And here I am actually practising 24 years later!
What top tips can you pass on to any of our readers that are thinking about a career in midwifery?
It’s an incredibly rewarding career but it still has it challenges like any other job. Don’t think you’re going to be cuddling babies all day either! But there are many areas in midwifery that you can specialise in and it’s never ever boring.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
Such a tough question but I swear by swaddling and have done so with all four of my children. I also loved my bedside cot which I used with the twins, it made breastfeeding much, much easier at night.
What are your plans for 2017?
The year is already looking so busy with the book but I’m hoping to persuade my husband to book a two-week family holiday this summer, we’ll all need a real break from everything by then I think!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Ambitious, motivated with a fun side too. If I’m not having fun or laughing then something is seriously wrong!