We continue our interview series with Becca Maberly, who runs The Doctor and Daughter Antenatal Classes in Balham with her Obstetrician Father, Roger Marwood. Becca is Roger’s eldest daughter and has two little boys. She created and edits the Doctor and Daughter’s Guide to Pregnancy and is the mastermind behind Antenatal Classes in London. Together they also run A Mother Place – the home to FREE Online Antenatal Classes!
She writes extensively as a pregnancy and postnatal expert for Stella, The Daily Telegraph, Boots MD, Baby London, Gurgle, Selfish Mother, MyBaba, Mumfidential, The Mother of all Lists, Nine in the Mirror, MyBaba and Mamamio. She also works for Little Village, a charity that helps to redistribute baby equipment to families who need it most.
I went to Becca’s Antenatal classes when I was pregnant and loved their candid, informative and non-judgmental approach towards birth. A Mother Place is a great forum to find support, ideas and information from other mums.
We got a chance to interview Becca, and here is what she has to say:
Q. You were running Doctor and Daughter antenatal classes for a while,what was your motivation behind the classes?
Yes we have been running Antenatal Classes for nearly 4 years. After the birth of my first son I felt really strongly that there was not enough honest and up-to-date information for pregnant women and I wanted to change that! My father is a Obstetrician and I was lucky enough to have him on the end of the phone 24-7 to reassure me and to give me reliable and realistic advice – I wanted to share this sense of security that I felt from receiving top quality advice.
Q. You have recently switched to free online classes-what made you take that leap?
With our classes in Balham we can only reach a small number of women and their partners who happen to live locally and have the money for a small private class. What about all the women who live all over the UK who may not have the budget for that? It doesn’t seem fair that the should be excluded from the very best antenatal and postnatal advice doe it? We wanted to offer our services to anyone, anywhere on their pregnancy journey- no barriers! (Well you do need Wifi!)
Q. How do you find the online classes versus the in-person antenatal classes?
We really enjoy both of them but they are quite different for obvious reasons. The online classes do not have the benefit of the interaction that you have with a face-to-face class, but that is why we encourage people to come and chat on insta and Facebook and people can always email us with questions!
Q. Could you share some insight with us on what you have found through your social media posts?
We have found that women love to talk about their pregnancy, birth and postnatal experience and they are so happy to find an outlet to do that. Pregnant women can be quite reserves when it comes to talking about their fannies and bodily fluids, but as soon as a woman becomes a mother, the guard drops and she sees that there are millions of women all over the world who have been through it all as well! It can feel great to talk about something that has been bugging you or worrying you..or even if you want to shout from the rooftops about how great your birth was or how awful it was, finding a place to do that can be liberating!
Q. What do you love most about your job?
Getting emails from clients with their amazing birth stories and photos of their gorgeous new babies!!!!
Q. What would be your main advice to any new mum?
Have realistic expectations. Do not imagine that birth or motherhood will be like that picture postcard! It can be tough and all kinds of things can happen that you could not have predicted, so try and keep an open mind and go with the flow!
Q. You have young kids,how you manage work life balance – any tips?
That’s a tricky one! I am really lucky to have a supportive husband who is really involved in bringing up our sons and champions me and my work. I am also fiercely protective of MY time! I make sure that I find the time to do things that keep me sane, like swimming or going out with friends!
Q. You live in Tooting and have run your classes in Balham – what attracts you to the Clapham area?
I grew up in South London and this is the place I know and love! There are lots of like- minded people around who want more from an antenatal class these days. They are busy women with careers and social lives and want a class that they can fit around their working day that will tell them the truth about giving birth and being a mother!
Q. What are your favourite haunts in the neighbourhood? With and without kids?
I LOVE Tooting Lido- in fact I am obsessed! I love it alone for a proper swim and I love it with the kids for a splash and a picnic! It’s our happy place! I also love Tooting Market and Broadway for the amazing restaurants and bars!
Q. If you had to give one piece of advice to younger self, what would that be?
How young? I don’t really have any advice for myself as a young adult as I feel like I was having a great time and didn’t really need much guidance! But for myself as a new mother I would say “Slow down!” I whizzed around and tried to do way too much and never really stopped and smelled the roses! People say that it all goes so fast – and I don’t actually agree really- I felt like that period when my boys were very small went really slowly and I think I tried to speed it up by racing around and being way too busy!