Should you try a pregnancy retreat? Before baby number three arrived, Adele Donaghie enjoyed some downtime - find out what she thought to her me time with her bump.
- Adele stayed on a two-night retreat with Retreat Yourself, £550, with additional treatments from £70, retreat-yourself.co.uk
My phone read ‘no service’ as I drove down the single track road in the Cotswolds. Normally, that would worry me, but on my way to a pregnancy retreat, it was good news.
I’d booked the weekend after realising that, as a mum of a five and a three-year-old, and 31 weeks pregnant, with a part-time job, I’d spent little time thinking about our new member of the family. My bump and I needed some ‘us time’.
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Retreat Yourself is run by Heather and her daughter-in-law Eliza.
A nurse, doula and NCT teacher, Heather is also a reflexologist and natal hypnotherapist, and has six children. Mum-of-two (soon to be three) and former occupational therapist Eliza is also a natal hypnotherapist.
The other mums on the retreat were lovely. After being introduced to mum-of-one Diana from London and first-time mum Stacey from Birmingham, we had the first of three hypnotherapy sessions.
Listening to Heather’s soothing voice, I shrugged off my usual Friday tension. A dinner of homemade chicken-and-vegetable soup followed, then we all headed to bed, with the prospect of a child-free lie-in.
The next morning was spent lounging around in dressing gowns over a leisurely breakfast.
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It was all very informal. Among the herbal toiletries in the bathroom was an item with a hand-written label reading ‘boob oil’, so it was clear there was no standing on ceremony here.
Next came a walk up the valley to a viewpoint. Suffering with pelvic girdle pain, I wasn’t sure I’d manage it, but the pace was leisurely.
At the top we stopped for snacks and Eliza read an extract from the book Cider with Rosie about the power of motherhood. It stirred memories of childhood feelings towards my mother, and got me thinking about my relationship with my children. I felt a few tears begin to well.
Back at the cottage it was time for lunch – bean salad and Jersey royals garnished with wild garlic flowers. Then I had a massage and my mind drifted off as I listened to the birds in trees. It was blissful.
That evening, following another lovely meal and a hypnotherapy session, we were encouraged to think about what we’d learned about parenting from our mothers. Some of us were keen to contribute, others were happier sitting and listening.
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On the final day, after a gentle morning yoga session, we discussed how we could aid labour using exercises to encourage our babies into the best position, how hypnotherapy and relaxation techniques can help, and any concerns we had about birth and post-birth.
The weekend invigorated me and made me excited to meet my third child.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed spending time with other pregnant women.
It was good to feel ‘normal’ – I’m the only visibly pregnant woman at work. It was perfect for my stage of pregnancy, to tune out some of the day-to-day white noise of life and focus on what’s really important. Going off the grid was exactly what I needed.