It’s been a while since we last posted a Mama Meets… so we are SO excited to kick off a new season of Meets with the lovely Vanessa Christie founder of The Parent & Baby Clinic (which officially launches tomorrow) and Mama to Amelie (7 years) and Laria (5 years).
Vanessa (MSc, MN, IBCLC, RHV, RNC, CIMI), has created the Parent & Baby Clinic to offer specialist support to parents and their babies from pregnancy through to toddlerhood. At the clinic, Vanessa’s priority is to provide new families with the compassionate, skilled, trustworthy and non-judgemental care they deserve, in a calming and therapeutic setting.
What time did you wake up this morning?
What was your very first thought of the day?
I’m thirsty - I’m terrible at remembering to drink enough before I go to bed
What are your 3 essentials for getting up, out and at ‘em?
Sorting out school bags and uniforms the night before (new for this term - why it has taken me 3 years to figure out how life-changing it is remains a mystery!), contact lenses and a cup of tea (my husband teases me though that I never actually finish drinking it).
Describe a typical working morning?
...After school drop-off, I head back home and into my new clinic. My appointments start at 9.30am which gives me a little breathing space to catch up on admin and make sure the drinks and biscuits are stocked up. Each appointment is for 1.5 hours so I can see up to 3 families in a day for 1-1 consultations. Every day is so different. People mainly come to me for support with breastfeeding and sleep/settling concerns and for working through a pregnancy, birth or baby-related traumatic experience. I may also be on FaceTime chatting to a client far away. If I have a client-free morning, I may be writing articles or comments for parenting magazines and websites or on the phone making plans.
Why did you decide to set up your Parent & Baby clinic?
So many reasons! I worked in the NHS for the best part of 15 years and as much as I loved it, I did become increasingly frustrated that I wasn’t able to give the face-to-face time to so many families that were in need and want of it. When I started out independently and doing all home visits, I would often only be able to fit in one during school hours and was having to include my travel time and costs into the fees. At the clinic I can be much more available and accessible - often families contact me when they feel they are in a crisis situation and I really don’t like to keep them waiting. I was also finding that particularly for my clients contacting me following a traumatic event, they appreciated being in a neutral space. Initially I was seeing families in my sitting room and I love now having a dedicated and appropriate space that’s just for them. It’s also a great space for holding my workshops in too. I called it The Parent & Baby Clinic because I’ve found that Dads and partners frequently feel rather side-lined. They are a huge part of their new family and have many of their own needs too that can go under the radar. They are 100% welcome to come and to share as much as they want and need to. If a parent is unable to travel and I have the availability, I am still seeing them in their homes too.
What's the best part of your job?
Getting my daily fix of delicious babies! The truly best bit though is the goose bumps I get when clients tell me what tangible positive changes have happened for them. I’ve shared happy tears with them before and that feeling is awesome.
#1 tip for juggling work and family life?
I definitely haven’t completely nailed this one yet! I try to be as present as I can and not look at my phone (much) between school pick-up and bedtime, so I will mainly respond to emails first thing in the morning and often a little too late at night. If I’m distracted and have work on my mind around the kids, it generally ends up with them becoming wound up. Their emotions are a good barometer for reminding me where I need to put my focus.
The happiest moment in your day?
Picking the girls up from school - that point when they are still bouncing from the day but not yet tired and emotional!
The hardest moment in your day?
A few hours later when I feel like I need an extra 5 arms and 5 hours - it normally happens at about 5 o’clock!
Most overused word of the day?
“Square words” - my youngest daughter has decided that she knows “square” (AKA ‘swear') words and has told me them 100 times today. FYI these are “flip” and “butt” :)
Once the kids are in bed I…
In my dreams I’m having cocktails and dancing… in reality I’m clearing up, emailing and probably watching a drama series with a glass of wine and my husband. You can also find me attempting to twirl around Lamberhurst village hall at ballet one evening a week.
Top 3 local gems?
The Beauty Bar, @One (both in Wadhurst) and Rosie Baylis Hair in Tunbridge Wells.
Best piece of advice for fellow Mum's…
Whenever you feel alone, breathe slowly for a few moments and remind yourself that there are Mum’s all around the world 24/7 feeling the same. Sometimes just knowing that is enough to help us feel a little brighter and give us the nudge we may need to pick up the phone, get outdoors or do anything else that’s within reach, to help feel more connected and supported.
To find out more about The Parent & Baby Clinic visit www.vanessachristie.com