Providing Care, Support & Insight Through Early Motherhood

The Intuitive Parent

Jeanelle Harvey-Bridges is passionate about pregnancy, homebirth and all things ‘baby’. As a registered nurse, she decided to take the leap into private practice to allow her to provide the support, understanding and non-judgemental soundboard (along with excellent evidence-based resources) that she wishes she had during her pregnancy and the first few months of parenthood. She understands how vital it is for new mums to be nurtured whilst deepening their connection with their baby, whatever that may look like: breastfeeding, sleep, the newborn stages, potty training, elimination communication, starting solids and beyond. Here she talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about what inspired her to launch The Intuitive Parent, her biggest breakthrough, and her hopes and dreams for the future.

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?

As a registered nurse and first-time mum, I wanted to do everything ‘by the book’. I wanted to have the most up-to-date, evidence-based resources so that I could have peace of mind that I was doing the right thing by my child. Not only for his health and well-being as an infant, but also for his development into a toddler, child, teenager, adult! 

So when I found out I was pregnant, I went deep diving into the research realm on every topic I could think of: sleep, breastfeeding, potty training, emotional development, starting solids, routine, you name it.

My pregnancy journey was tough, in that I hated every moment from the day I was diagnosed at 16 weeks with gestational diabetes. What had been an uncomplicated, exciting season, turned into a nightmare of fortnightly appointments for ultrasounds and endocrinologist appointments. Being told that I have to have an induction at 38 weeks, that it’s likely to end in an emergency c-section and if I don’t follow these set of rules, my baby will die… 

After a period of intense grief for the gentle, natural and undisturbed birth I’d envisioned, I resumed my research and after many hours and weeks of filtering through articles, books, videos and more, I made the decision to take full responsibility for my own birth and labour. I decided to have a freebirth. I put together a manual for myself and my husband so we knew exactly what the true signs of emergency were, as well as what were simply variations of normal so that we could make an informed, individual, tailored decision for what to do next. I ended up having the most beautiful, 9-hour, undisturbed birth with babe born exactly on his due date (40+0), perfectly healthy. NOTE: I do not believe that every woman should freebirth and I certainly do not advocate for it. The decisions we make around birth, labour and our children need to be from a place of empowerment and being full educated, not from a place of fear or ‘up yours, system’ kind of attitude.

Having gone through this rollercoaster of experiences, my eyes had been opened to being more attuned to my intuition as a woman and now mother that I had been cut off from before.

Once my motherhood journey began, I was shocked at every twist and turn just how lonely it was, how unsupported I was as a new mother by the maternity system and just how little I actually knew. And also finding it incredibly hard to have ‘professionals’ listen to me, take me seriously and be of actual help when I’d voice concerns that were brewing from my intuition – including that there may be something off about my baby’s latch.

I was told “he’s gaining weight, he’s sleeping alright and you don’t have any nipple damage or pain, everything is fine”, but my intuition said otherwise. I persisted and only when my baby was 9 weeks old did I have someone investigate further. Turned out he had a HUGE lip and tongue tie… my letdown had been compensating along with feeding sessions that would last between 30-90 minutes the entire 9 weeks of his young life. Once these had been investigated and corrected, it was like feeding a new child! We went from waking every hour overnight, with huge spit-ups between feeds and an unsettled baby, to getting a couple good stretches of sleep and a much happier, more content baby.

That’s when I realised just how important it is to have someone in your corner to listen to you and take you seriously, rather than just being seen as a number that needs to be educated in the same way as the previous one had been, despite stark differences to their situations. Realising that it’s not a one size fits all meant that whenever I’d speak up about the importance of listening to a mother’s intuition, I’d be labeled as ‘alternative’ or ‘crunchy’, but I know that for as long as I continue to do this and hold space for other mothers to do the same, we can be deeply in tune with our children and their needs. To me, that is the foundation of being an Intuitive Parent.

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