But I think 2020 also gave us the opportunity to take stock; evaluate our lives, spend time with those closest to us and identify what is important to us and what we can let go.
Professionally, the pandemic directly affected me financially, suddenly all the f2f classes had to stop and be moved online. This brought with it many challenges and costs, buying equipment and platforms to deliver classes on!
Then there was the small issue of how the heck do I do it! Thankfully I had my youngest daughter Faye home from University, and she slotted into the role of ‘tech-help & marketing manager’ with ease.
My eldest daughter Grace, sorted out the booking and payment options remotely whilst working her full-time job … and we were sorted. I just had to show-up in front of the camera and deliver the classes – the easy bit!!
Prior to March 2020 I had just left the house every day to teach my classes. Although my family were supportive, they had little concept of what I actually did and therefore I often felt lonely – no colleagues, no ‘team’ to share ideas with!
The pandemic changed all that – it gave me clarity on my business, what I was offering and ‘team members’ who played (and continue to play) a crucial role in the success of For Baby and Me.
As a result, I can look back now and truly believe that after 13yrs in business I was ready for a change. The growth of the online communities, new products, the class/ course options and the opportunity to use the skills and experience I have, to support mums on lots of motherhood issues and not ‘just’ teach classes has been one of my greatest achievement in business… I’ve become the Mum and Baby Expert!
Personally, I have changed this year and been able to open up for the first time about the loss of my little boy Sam when he was 6 months old. For many years I never spoke about him outside of my family and close friends. I always had the fear that I would upset mums, at a very emotional time in their lives if they knew that I had suffered the death of a child. So, when I was asked how many children I had I would say “I have 2 daughters”, so as not to have to say I have 3 children.
Since deciding that my experience of losing Sam, and the enormity of that loss is who I am and how I work and everything that is me, I decided that enough was enough and I would talk about Sam …. And the start of that was getting 3 Stars tattooed on my foot! (there is a whole other blog all about that which you can scroll down to read).
Having written the blog about Sam and my feelings around being open and honest and talking about loss I have had lots of mums share their stories of baby loss with me. I feel sad that we live in a society where the loss of a baby is almost too painful for people to hear, so the parents who suffer such tragedy are doubly affected by the ‘stigma’ and the fear it provokes in everyone…..the result being years of silence (in my case).
I want to use my business platform to help all those mothers who have lost a child, at whatever stage or age. To give them an opportunity to share their story of their baby and for all of us to truly listen. Because it is only when we listen and allow mothers to openly talk about their loss that we accept that it is part of living and we cannot expect ourselves to push emotions and upset under the carpet for fear of upsetting another person.
And finally, 2020 has meant I have spent more time with my close family and dog and that has been a blessing. In the last year we have bought a little house on Anglesey that we hope to renovate and enjoy for many years to come (if we ever get allowed back into Wales).
So, although 2020 is a year we all want to move on from and forget, I think it is worth reflecting and seeing how it has changed us and shown us a new way to live our lives, be grateful for what we have and reach out to help others when we can.