Sarah Cutler I CWC Director I 17 June 21.
Welcoming a new baby is wonderful, but it can also be overwhelming and we are never quite prepared for how it will turn our world upside down. A little extra support can go a long way to helping us navigate pregnancy and those early years and Our Baby Club offers this in a way that is so much more than your traditional antenatal class. We got to speak to Natalie Rushton of Our Baby Club Cotswolds about their Modern Antenatal Revolution - a safe and comfortable sanctuary where the worth and wellbeing of the parent is valued, the latest evidence and experience based support and workshops, and informal, social teas and get-togethers. And because, as they say, it takes a village to raise a child - at Our Baby Club, the classes and activities provided by are not limited to new or expectant parents, but their whole support network, with grandparents, carers and family friends welcome too.
CWC: Hi Natalie, thanks for chatting to us. We’d love to know, what does a Birth and Parent Coach do?
Natalie: Our Baby Club Birth and Parent Coaches are antenatal teachers with a difference because we believe expectant parents deserve better. We are the driving force behind the Modern Antenatal Revolution providing a truly modern antenatal education which is informed, yet informal with zero bias or judgement. We are truly inclusive of all couples and individuals, focusing on preparing them not just for birth but for their transition into parenthood - their positive well being is a top priority. Using a combination of the latest evidence based research and the real life lived experience of recent parents, our expectant parents leave empowered with confidence and knowledge, trusting of their own brilliant instincts that are right for their body and their baby and relationships. Becoming a parent for the first or second time can feel overwhelming; we are here to help demystify all the information and opinions and help parents make informed choices, which feel right for them- and importantly our classes don’t stop before their baby arrives - we support them right through when they need us the most.
CWC: How do you train to become a coach, do you need qualifications?
Natalie: Not all Antenatal teachers are qualified by UK regulatory FEDANT, but all the Birth and Parent Coaches at Our Baby Club are. We go through rigorous and in depth training with experienced FEDANT accredited coaches to ensure that we are confident not just in teaching the typical things you would expect in a Antenatal class, but other aspects which are just as crucial such as supporting BOTH parents in their individual and collective parenting roles; perinatal mental health and how to spot the signs of PND or other mental health issues. Our training and development is continuous. We are always meeting new parents with a very diverse range of pregnancy and birth experiences. Through this research and constant knowledge share amongst the Our Baby Club community we are able to ensure that we are always learning and supporting parents in the best way possible.
CWC: Tell us a bit about your different classes and who they are for.
Natalie: Our Birth and Beyond classes do not just focus on the birth of babies. We also prepare you for the birth of parents too!!
There is no other transition in our lives as transformative as becoming a parent. You are suddenly responsible for a life, the pressure that puts on us can never be overestimated. But, our classes are here to help. Whether you are pregnant with your first child, or your family is growing, we have a class for you:
> First time Birth and Beyond Classes:
A relaxed and friendly, informative five session course. You'll get all the latest evidence based research, plenty of parenting insights and life hacks presented and discussed with you in an honest and unbiased forum. To mix it up we keep it interactive (note no cringe inducing role play) and throw in a good dose of humour! Not to mention a constant supply of delicious refreshments and an array of socials with your newly made gang of friends.
>Second, third or fourth time Birth and Beyond Classes:
This short course helps you to prepare for getting back into the baby zone. The classes are a physical, mental & practical check-in to prepare and provide balance, calm and a positive sense of well being for both of you as you look forward to your new addition. We’ll cover practicalities on introducing baby to your first born, practical tips on juggling multiples both in and out of the house- and focus on developing positive mindsets, led by some beautiful positive affirmations.
We host what is called 'The Partner Diaries' with every course, which is a chance for the partners to get together with a recent parent partner, either virtually or at a local pub, to discuss issues exclusive to their impending roles. It's an opportunity for them to bond as a group and make new friendships as well as to ask any burning questions to our guest speaker! Here we talk about ways they can support their partner, take an active role in their babies lives. We end each course with a delicious 'Before Noon Tea' for the Mamas, complete with a goodie bag of gifts. Here we celebrate all that is to come and focus on ways to feel positive and stay well during the coming months. It's a lovely experience to share with your new friends and set the social scene for the coming months - if you're new to the area it's a great time to understand what is on offer locally by way of baby groups and resources. >Grandparents Rewind Class: 40% of grandparents now take on some form of childcare responsibility - we think it’s essential to instil some confidence in our brilliant grandparents to ensure that they are ready to welcome a new baby into their home again. They’ll get a refresh on all the latest evidence based research and practical tips for caring for a baby ( from 0-6 months), a first aid course and a super social before noon tea so they can also make new friends to enjoy their new responsibilities with! Expectant grandparents or grandparents with grandchildren up to 6 months old are welcome to this session.
CWC: So what makes Our Baby Club unique?
Natalie: We are so proud of our ethos: your body, your baby, your choice. It is at the heart of everything we do. Whichever path birth or early days journeys take, we want our parents to be reminded of their incredible worth - something which can quickly get forgotten in the throes of early parenthood. We believe parents deserve better - and it starts here. We offer a safe space where everyone feels heard, respected and valued.
CWC: Your support also continues after a baby is born doesn’t it – what classes do you offer post birth?
Natalie: Yes, that’s right. I also offer an Early Days Sanctuary, which are comforting Postnatal Classes For Early Days Support. This relaxed Essential Early Days course is for all primary caregivers (partners/friends/mums are really welcome too!). These classes provide a cosy and comfortable little sanctuary for hot tea and cakes, shared stories, and essential tips and advice for those early days. Come and laugh a little, cry a little and be sleep deprived a little.
CWC: Tell us a little about yourself, what do you like to do when you’re not working?
Natalie: I am a proud mum to Enna, who is now 2 and wife to Nick. We have recently moved to a small village on the edge of the beautiful Cotswolds.
Even before becoming a mum myself, I have always been fascinated by pregnancy, birth and babies so it is no surprise that I now work as a Birth and Parent Coach. However it is fair to say I have had a very varied career before starting this role. I used to work as a theatre actress and then moved into primary teaching. Both fueled passions of mine but came hand in hand with a lot of stress. This prompted me to set up a wellness business called Learn Nurture Grow, which supports people to find holistic ways to support their well being. I was finding many of my clients were mothers and were suffering with anxiety and low self esteem. I wanted so desperately to help them to find greater balance and sense of self-worth. That is when I trained to be an Antenatal Practitioner with Our Baby Club.
When I am not teaching, I am mainly taking care of my little girl. We both love nature and being creative, so can often be found in the garden, on walks and making a lot of mess with paint. As often as I can, I practise yoga, mindfulness and use essential oils to support my well being. I value any chance to spend time with friends and family, after such a hard time apart they are a huge source of happiness for me. I Iove nothing better than hosting parties, so adore setting up for the before noon teas; making cakes, setting out flowers hand-painting birth affirmations. Making sure the mamas feel really special is so important to me!
CWC: Do you have any exciting plans or dreams for the future that you’d like to share with us?
Natalie: My hope is that the important work I do with Our Baby Club helps support many local families. My ambition is for this help to have a positive ripple effect on the wider community as a whole. With the right support and guidance, parents will be happier, babies will be happier and we can reduce the numbers of people suffering from Post Natal Depression and low self esteem.
This may sound dramatic, but I feel strongly that the way a woman feels during their pregnancy, birth and in those early days can have a huge impact on the way she sees herself for the rest of her life. The phrase "happy mum, happy baby" is so true and this philosophy also applies to partners and fathers. We often underestimate how massive a transition becoming a parent is for both men and women. I feel driven to offer the best possible support to couples at such an important time in their lives. Every expectant parent deserves the Our Baby Club treatment: to feel truly prepared, confident and empowered.
Our Baby Club Cotswolds