If you’re a mum, or even if you’re just a regular seas of emotions, you might have someone that can touch your hand and calm you instantly. This is just one of the powers that The Lanes midwives in East Dulwich seem to have, of which Clemmie Hooper is one.
Clemmie works as a case-loading midwife (yes, just like in Call The Midwife) which means she gets to see a mum through from conception and that first hooray! through to delivery and that first waaah and beyond.
I was lucky to get to know Clemmie through my midwife Mary Bollard. She gave me a much needed hug after our son arrived and I was stuck in hospital and I love reading her blog. Clemmie also delivers brilliant antenatal sessions with Mothers Meeting. We went to one at the St Martin’s Lane hotel and let me tell you, the cake was marvellous.
Who are you and who makes up your family?
I’m Clemmie married to Simon and together we have 2 girls – Anya 7 and Marnie 4
What is your creative project?
My blog Gas&Air– stories all about pregnancy, birth and motherhood, straight from the midwives mouth.
How and when did you come to start it?
I started seriously thinking about towards the end of my maternity leave four year ago. I was inspired by reading so many funny and great blogs I thought I want to do that. I’ve always enjoyed creative writing but never have the chance now I’m a midwife. I began to realise that there were no British midwife bloggers and I get asked daily by friends, friends of friends about my job – so I decided to start blogging. It then became apparent that women don’t want to read the same old jargon that’s in the books or online, they want a bit of honesty and humour. I mean how else could I write a whole blog post on pooing during labour without it being funny! I think women find it comforting that I’m also a mum so I really have been there (twice) done that, bought the T-shirt.
What does it mean to you and how it makes you feel?
It means a huge amount to me actually. I never thought I would say that by over the past year it has grown in strength and popularity. I get weekly emails from people telling me how much they love reading my blog, or that they want to train to be a midwife or that the births stories have helped them feel more positive about their own births. Those emails keep me writing and feel inspired. And to know my blog makes a difference in people’s lives gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.
What the hardest part about it is – is it managing the kids, non-payers, running both online and physical stores or something else?
The hardest part is finding the time to answer all the emails, especially when they require lots of thought and research. I want to maintain a good connection with my readers but my spare time is so precious I often find myself answering emails at 11pm at night when really I should be asleep. People forget that I make no money from my blog, it’s all done for love and pleasure. So it can be a little frustrating when I’ve agreed to write a piece for a website or online mag and they’re hassling me to get it done for them in quite a quick turnaround. I’m really bad at saying no to people but I’m starting to know my limits. For example if we take a family holiday in the Summer I put an ‘out of office’ reply on my emails so I can switch off. I’m also very careful not to do any blogging whilst I’m with the kids. So it’s my poor husband who has to often put up with me typing away at the laptop most evenings. I also have a note book on my bedside table so whenever I think of an idea I jot it down and hope to write a blog post out of it.
Finally, what or who is your inspo?
So many things inspire me. My job is a constant reminder of how amazing women are and I’m always in awe of them especially during birth. My amazing colleagues who inspire me daily and support one another when the going gets tough. Being with them at births is so wonderful, we are like a bunch of sisters and we really love each other. My kids because they teach me about patience and remembering how to have fun no matter what kind of mad day I’ve had at work. And my husband – the unsung hero in my chaotic life. He puts up with A LOT of my shouting, stressing and anxieties. He teaches me to always remain positive in any situation, he takes the girls to school when I’ve been up all night at a birth and brings me a cup of tea in bed, he brushes and plaits their hair and has so much energy and patience even when he’s been at work all day. He really is my rock and encourages me so much when at times when I’ve wanted to stop blogging and sack it all off. Simon if I ever write my book it will be all thanks to you.