Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Baby Show, London, and being considered pregnant at 47?

On Sunday 24th October I was delighted to join some of the Greatvine team and experts on a stand at The Baby Show, Earls Court, London. is a support service offering information and support from a wide range of experts.

I had attended the show last year and made a point of chatting to the editor of Prima Baby and Pregnancy magazine about the total absence of anything to do with postnatal depression at the event. I have no wish to scare parents-to-be but equally they need to be aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for and not suffer in silence. Since then I have been pleased to see PND featured more widely in the magazine too. The more we can highlight that negative thoughts as a new parent can be 'normal' but if they are severe and begin to last over 2 weeks then help is needed. In addition to community help there are always people such as me at

Consequently I was delighted to speak from the same stage as Mylene Klass, Annabel Karmel MBE and a host of other 'baby' experts and get the topic on the agenda! I was a bit thrown as the size of the screen for my photos was tiny and in retrospect I wish I hadn't used it, but I hopefully did get across the main signs and symptoms and some hints for helping everyone cope with the changes that a new baby brings. There were several nods and smiles from the audience as I spoke!

I also had a few one to one sessions with Mums on the day and hope I helped. The key difficulty is that as a new Mum the urge to put everyone else before your own needs is a big pressure. However as I pointed out to them, looking after yourself so that you can then look after others is NOT selfish but a necessity.

I was delighted to share the stand with Sharon Trotter, a breastfeeding consultant and baby skincare advisor and  Have a look - great sites!

I also spoke to Louise from who offers a unique service for all mothers and families to provide both practical and emotional support in the early years following birth of your child.

I also met Claire Read and Elspeth Adair, independent midwives - watch this space for their new website coming soon.

It was a busy few hours and I didn't get chance to visit many stalls and collect samples, etc. for my niece (9 months), god daughter (11 months) and great niece (6 months). It has been 14 years since we had a baby in the family - now I am in pink heaven! However, on the way out I noticed the source of a lovely white, plastic box with a turquoise handle on it under a sign 'Free Pampers Hamper for new Mums'. I joined the handful of people who were told that the last carton was on its way. A Pampers rep duly appeared and my hand was outstretched to take the last box from her when a grey-haired Granny pushed me out of the way, snatched it from between us and smartly walked off with it! The rep and I looked stunned! But then another rep who saw what happened proclaimed 'Well that wasn't fair, especially as SHE is pregnant!' The 'she' was me!!!!!  I could have been offended but in my defence I was holding a bag in front of my tummy (okay so I ate and drank too much on my cruise last month!) but I decided to take it as a compliment that at 47 I still look young enough to BE pregnant! I walked away smiling ....... but with my tummy muscles pulled in! Hmmm, too many cakes after my hysterectomy last year ....

It was an impressive event and I hope I get chance to speak at one again - after I have toned up!!

Here are the list of exhibitors. I have contacted them and added more details on those who have replied:-
We are organic skincare and bath products company. Our products are very gentle and suitable for eczema and sensitive skin. We don’t have any nasty chemicals in our products and most of our ingredients are derived from plants therefore very gentle on the skin.
A London physiotherapy practice specialising in chest physiotherapy massage for babies with respiratory problems (bronchiolitis, chest infection). Also treats feet deformation and orthopaedic problems for children and adults. We offer home visits only. All Physios speak English and French.
Baby scan canvasses offer you a unique way to turn your baby's ultrasound image into a priceless piece of art.
Just send us your ultrasound image, then select your colour or combination of colours and size and we'll do the rest. Makes a perfect shower or new arrival gift.
BabyCentre, is dedicated to helping new, expectant and "actively trying" parents to find the information, support and reassurance they need. BabyCentre's mission is to help parents make the most of one of life's greatest experiences and be a place moms come back to with questions, concerns and advice for other moms.
Babymule is a unique new concept in Baby Changing Bags. The clever designs changes with you; allowing complete freedom by transforming from supportive backpack to messenger, or simply use with hidden buggy clips!

Boo Boo create natural, paraben-free, luxurious pampering goodies and gifts for Mummy and Baby. From our Super Stretchy Miracle Oil for avoiding and treating stretch marks to our award-winning Bottom Butter, all our products are made in the UK from the finest, safest ingredients.
Supporting You...through pregnancy and beyond. From comfy to sexy; value for money; expert bra fitters; online shop & support; home fitting service.
Cheeks and Cherries offers a wide range of modern cloth nappies, featuring all the best known names and some gorgeous boutique brands too.
Chic eKids sells unique luxury designer clothing for babies and children from newborn to 6 years. Appealing to all tastes and all price brackets, Chic eKids offers an eclectic mix of clothing from brands such as Petit Bateau and Emile et Rose, which will appeal to the traditionalist parent, to contemporary brands such as Bazaar d’Etoiles, Hucklebones, Kicokids and Jakeandmaya, which will appeal to the discerning fashion conscious, as well as brands such as Lilly + Sid and Bonnie Baby which are designed to bridge the gap between contemporary and traditional in babies clothing
Conyers-Silverthorn designs produces original, handmade cushions, quilts and curtains for children. The company was established in 2009 by Tanya Conyers-Silverthorn, who has over 15 years experience in design. Having traveled extensively, much of Tanya’s inspiration comes from the tropical paradises she has visited around the world.
Described by parents as ‘simple yet brilliant’, the Cuddledry apron towel shot to fame after its appearance on Dragons’ Den in 2007, and has continued to thrive throughout the UK and internationally ever since. The apron style design leaves both hands free, for safer lifting, and its super soft fabric is perfect for bath time cuddles!
WaterWipes, from DermaH2O- The world’s purest baby wipes. Made from just 99.9% water, 0.1% grapefruit seed extract, and nothing else. They have all the purity and mildness of cotton wool and cooled boiled water as recommended by midwives, combined with the convenience of conventional baby wipes. Safe to use from birth, made without any of the usual synthetic preservatives or chemical additives found in all other baby wipes. Parents can use them without the fear of triggering infant skin conditions such as nappy rash and atopic eczema. These groundbreaking baby wipes are pH neutral and non-irritating, making them ideal for newborns, babies, and everyone with sensitive skin. 
Currently offering all new members to Emma's Diary, £50 worth of Argos vouchers
We are an online maternity wear and breastfeeding clothes store, with designs and styles from around the world.
huddle & bliss is a British online mother and baby brand, selling premium quality mother and baby essentials along with a few indulgent treats. Our products are proudly produced in Great Britain and hand-finished arriving at your door beautifully presented.
KiddieBase is an online shopping mall of fantastic small independent stores where you can find a great range of maternity, baby and children’s goods. Our retailers sell directly on our website so you get the benefits of dealing directly with them but with the added convenience of being able to browse lots of stores at once and add items from many of them to just one shopping basket!
Koochu is a designer baby changing bag company. Producing a range of high fashion yet practical bags for both women and men. Available in classic colours, designed to meet all that a parent needs in a holdall. Here are some of the products functions
* Realistic Faux leather -Wipe clean Exterior
* Removable and machine washable cotton lining with zip fastening

* A mobile phone pocket

* In built or detachable thermo - isulated bottle holder

* Double sided changing mat with detachable cotton towel ( machine
* And several pockets

The next consumer show we will be present at will be the Baby show at Excel on the 18th - 20th of February.
The little picture company is a magical world of art for children of all ages. Offering exquisite limited edition and original artwork to decorate your childs nursery or bedroom, the collection also makes a truly unique and timeless gift for new babies, birthdays, christenings and naming ceremonies. Choose from our extensive online gallery or contact us directly to arrange a personalized commission. Our giclee prints are produced using the highest quality archival inks, which do not fade or discolor over time. We believe in respecting animals and the environment they inhabit -our inks are free from any animal derivatives and we print on a range of environmentally friendly papers, including bamboo.

Established in 1903 and with almost 300 staff across 20 community, workplace and Children’s Centre nurseries, LEYF continues to build a better future for London's children thanks to their passion for excellence in Early Years education, training and research.
Known also for their uniquely inclusive approach, this charity & social enterprise makes a real difference to the lives of more than 1500 children every year, helping them develop a passion for learning, regardless of their background.
Through their recently established Centre for Research, Learning and Development, LEYF also offers a range of high quality and distinctive CPD courses for Early Years practitioners, along with access to employment, youth mentoring and apprenticeships programmes for disadvantaged young adults.
We provide specialty pregnancy support garments (to aid in circulation and prevent back/pelvic pain) and postnatal slimming compression garments (to help restore the body to its natural shape after delivery). All of our products are hypoallergenic and latex-free, and our compression garments offer medical grade support.
MamaTENS is the No 1 Maternity TENS machine in the UK. Hundreds of thousands of women throughout the the years have used MamaTENS to provide them with effective pain relief for their labour, from their very first contraction at home. 65% of mums who have used a MamaTENS machine found it helped them to achieve a natural labour, using no other form of intervention.
We as a company focus on helping mums and mums to be look at their general wellbeing through exercise and wellbeing products. We work with the NCT and I have co-authored a book “The Essential Exercise and Birthball Handbook for pregnancy and beyond”.
Mummy’s Physio is a London physiotherapy practice specialising in pelvic floor re-education and in the follow up of mothers during and after pregnancy. Mummy’s physio also treats back pain, swollen legs and feet, abdominal weakness and any other orthopaedic problems. For the convenience of mothers we offer home visits only. All Physios speak English and French. Tel: 07748647355  Mail :
My Nametags provides iron-on labels that stay on clothing, and sticky labels for everything from baby bottles to children’s lunchboxes. My Nametags’ labels are the only ones that are guaranteed not to fall off in the wash. Call 0800 3 213 203 to order, or design your labels on our website .
Our bags are inserts that transform any bag into a changing bag - this is particularly popular amongst mums that want to continue to carry their own bag and still have all their baby bits at easy reach.
A small but beautifully formed online babies and children's bedding store, we specialise in handmade and organic fitted sheets for cots & cot beds, as well as specialist size sheets to fit Boori cots, the Stokke Sleepi as well as our best selling sheets for the Bugaboo Cameleon carry cot. Also stockists of ErgoPouch sleeping bags and swaddles and the magnificent Love Mae fabric wall stickers. UNTIL 7 NOVEMBER, 20% off all products using EARL code at checkout.
AFFORDABLE Family Photographer specializing in capturing candid moments on location. Kelly prides herself in providing ready-to-print high-resolution images on disc for you to keep or print at your leisure, instead of charging excessive prices for prints and canvasses.

You can see it was well supported!

Elaine Hanzak

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Postnatal depression event by Birmingham LINk

This week I spoke at an event organised by Birmingham Link called Raising the Roof on Postnatal Depression. It was a very impressive day!

Elsie Gayle from the Women's Health and Maternity Action Group, had invited me to be the opening speaker for the day. I briefly outlined my story; the signs and symptoms to spot and my HANZAK principles of how to help our own and others mental health.
I did refer to the excellent book on postnatal groups by Lynn Bertram which I recommend is read by anyone involved in pregnancy.
I am becoming much more aware of the legacy of postnatal issues, e.g. the lasting feeling of 'failure' some women feel after a C-section; unresolved issues around breastfeeding; loss of identity and in some cases, after IVF or previous still birth. We must give women an opportunity to talk about these things or they can affect their lives for many, many years.

Elsie gave an opening address about her group
The Women’s Health and Maternity Services action group has been active since the first days of Birmingham LINk and has achieved highly in terms of engaging with communities and becoming the voice of women in the city. If you are passionate about health and social care for women, then feel free to join this group and make a positive impact in their lives.

Rajinder Rattu, Chair of Birmingham LINk, also gave an outline of their work. I was amazed to hear that they are all volunteers! Birmingham Local Involvement Network (LINk) is an independent body that listens to your views and concerns about health and social care and works with you to bring about positive change. Our goal is to give citizens of Birmingham an active role in the transformation of health and social care in the community.

Following myself were Philomena Gales, (Pan Birmingham Commissioning Manager, Maternity) who outlined the Maternity Commissioner's Perspective; Tom Howell (Primary Care Mental Health Commissioner, antenatal mental health clinic) who spoke from the mental health commissioners viewpoint; followed by Kathy Senessie (specialist midwife for disadvantaged women) and Giles Berrisford (consultant psychiatrist) who told us about other women who had been ill and their treatments.

We then heard from Jasvinder Sandhu, from Ashram Housing, who presented the 'hot off the press' report 'Time to Talk about Postnatal Depression - a report on Mental Health Inequalities in Birmingham.See more details here 
Some of their references : - 

Ambrose Koryang, a psychiatric nurse, gave an excellent account of postnatal depression experienced by fathers, including video clips from Desperate Housewives (season 7) where a character is given this diagnosis.;episode

We then had lunch being entertained by a group and an amazing Bollywood dancer, from My time counsellors.

Belinda Phipps, CEO of the National Childbirth Trust (nct) presented 'Putting PND into perspective' and spoke about her charity's aims to improve new parents mental health, e.g. with a supportive infrastructure and positive perceptions.

We finally heard from a local GP, Dr. Sharmin Sonday, about her wonderful approaches for new parents. She was late because she was listening to a patient - hooray!

The hall was filled with some excellent forms of help and information:-

Local nct group - for Birmingham area NCT members in your area volunteer to help support parents and parents-to-be by providing practical support and hosting a range of social get-togethers and activities.

Wolverhampton Sexual Abuse Forum - a sensitive Practice Guide 

I picked up a self help guide for postnatal depression written by Heart of Birmingham Teaching NHS PCT but cannot find it on the internet. This one is similar  


Parent's Guide to Money   

I also picked up a small and lovely magazine called Beautyshop, aimed at promoting positive mental well-being within the inner city areas of Birmingham. Contact Caron Thompson at for future issues.

I also met some inspiring people from My Time  a social enterprise that provides holistic and intercultural psychological services based in the heart of the country. We are a community Interest Company based in the West Midlands that delivers award winning, evidenced based, culturally sensitive and professional counselling and support services.

One of their team, Rhona Campbell, is taking part in an Endurance Trek to the Arctic Circle in November to raise funds for KidsCompany/my time. Contact her on 0121 766 6699 or 
Good luck Rhona!

I was also informed about the importance of the registration of religious marriages, by the Bordesley Green Neighbourhood Forum, which is aimed at raising awareness of registering Islamic marriages to be recognised under British law but also to other religions. For more information contact

During the day I was interviewed by Unity fm radio and there were also reporters from the BBC and ITV!

Many congratulations Birmingham LINk on an excellent event. There is now a video of the day at

Also thanks to my lovely friend Nic Swaby for letting me stay with her the night before. Nic has some stunning handbags and jewellery for sale -
We had a very tasty meal too at The Stag at Offchurch .

Elaine Hanzak

Marce Society conference next week - lots of new research on maternal mental health

If you are interested in the latest research and development around maternal mental health, you may like to know about the Marce Society conference being held October 27-30, Sheraton Station Square Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

I have spoken at the two previous events, in Keele and Sydney and am very sorry not be be going this time! However, I fully intend to be at the next one in two years time in Europe!

Have a look at the full list of speakers and topics here:-

I am delighted to see that my friends Diana Lynn Barnes and Lisa Segre are presenting.

I look forward to hearing more about it!

Best wishes to all involved in what will be an amazing experience!

Elaine Hanzak