Name: Lauren Soden
Location: Livingston, West Lothian
Name of your business/group/your role/job : AquaBellies Course Developer
Twitter and facebook handles https://www.facebook.com/lauren.yogabellies
Why do you love all things pregnancy birth and baby?
I loved being pregnant, although I had a complicated early pregnancy, I found the whole experience of pregnancy,birth and labour to be so empowering I felt like left the hospital a strong woman who was capable of anything. I believe I had a great labour and I love helping other women to have a positive experience and attitude towards birth. Being invited to share such a special journey in their lives is an honour.
What brought you to this line of work?
My first job in this field was as an aquatics program leader at a camp for children with special needs in California. It was then that I began to realise the amazing therapeutic effects the water was having and I was inspired to learn more. I then went on to gain further qualifications for swimming teaching and gym instruction. When I fell pregnant with my daughter I spent a lot of time swimming to help to relieve back ache and swelling. I enjoyed labouring in water and after I had my daughter I decided to complete my professional diploma in ante and postnatal exercise including aquanatal. I then started my own business in aquanatal and baby swimming classes. At this point I joined YogaBellies and trained gained my CYT Perinatal Yoga Teacher, Baby Massage and childrens yoga qualifications. After speaking with Cheryl we decided to use my previous experience to create AquaBellies. This meant that we could train more amazing teachers to deliver these unique classes to women across the world.
What does your work involve and why do you feel it’s so important?
My job involves a variety a roles, mainly facilitating live training courses, training up new teachers and marking their assignments to gain their qualification. I also work with YogaBellies HQ to assist the running of the AquaBellies license. Alongside this I continue to teach my own classes to pregnant and postnatal women and babies in my area.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give a pregnant woman?
Take a little bit of time out each day to relax, it is so beneficial for you and your unborn baby. Releasing physical and emotional stress will help you to keep a healthy immune system and lower anxiety. Keeping calm will help you to have a positive and empowering birthing experience.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give a new mum?
Take time to just be. If nothing else gets done today then you have still done an amazing job. Don’t be too hard on yourself or try to take on too much. Being a mother is the most wonderful thing you will ever do and raising mini humans is not to be taken lightly- you are changing the future of world by raising a child as each one is unique and will have so much to offer. Don’t forget about yourself too, a bit of regular “me time” isn’t something you should feel guilty about, recharging your own batteries once in a while will help you to feel happier and be the best mummy you can be!
Do you have any great tips for childbirth or a ‘must have?’
Your birth partner will be your biggest asset, when you are in your birthing zone often they can influence the energy of the room and a calm birthing partner will help you to stay calm too. They will remind you to use your breathing techniques and positions as well as making you feel safe, secure and capable.
What is your personal birth philosophy?
Birth is a natural, powerful and incredible journey. It is an empowering and life changing experience as not only is a baby being born, a mother is too. When that journey completes a whole new and exciting life is about to start.
What are your thoughts on preparing for childbirth?
Gathering as much information as possible before the birth will help the mum to make informed choices throughout the journey. Try not to listen to horror birth stories and focus on your own experience with positive expectations.
Your top tips for getting back to work after birth and working around your family?
I always thought that if I was going to have to spend time away from my daughter to go to work it would have to be for something that I enjoy, and that paid well for the time I spent doing it. I was not prepared to work 10 hours for the same income that I would get for 1 hour doing something I loved. Take your time to decide when what and where you want to work. Often a job you loved before having your baby may no longer be suitable, which can be distressing. Gather as much information as possible, explore your options and don’t be afraid to take the plunge. This may require thinking “outside of the box” and making adaptations, but you will know when something feels right.