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Allison discusses the emotional weight of infertility in Healthy Matters newsletter

Allison discusses the emotional weight of infertility in Healthy Matters newsletter

Posted on 12 September 2018 by Ailish Cotton

The inability to become pregnant is often associated to one of the most distressing life crises for women and couples. Struggling with infertility can cause tremendous pain and if you are feeling sad, anxious, depressed or isolated, you are not alone.
Healthy Matters talked to Hong Kong psychotherapist Allison Heiliczer about the emotional weight of infertility and some of the coping strategies she recommends.

Why do fertility problems cause so much pain?

Fertility problems are often a huge source of emotional pain as they reflect feelings of not only personal failure but also communal. Infertility, even the very word, often connotes an inability to create, produce, and nurture and therefore places a heavy psychological load onto an individual or couple.
As much as we might not be aware of social forces at play while trying to procreate, there are still assumptions in many cultures and religions that in order for one to be fulfilled, he/she must have a baby, and by having that baby, those babies, that a couple fulfils a societal obligation. This often gets socially reinforced as people watch other people have babies and assume that they had no challenges doing so and wonder why they cannot. Their mind then often jumps to thinking they have failed or will miss out on experiences others have. This is often connected to emotional pain as the mind starts to wonder whether having a baby will ever be possible and if not, then could they be fulfilled? Some people also do not have the financial and/or emotional reserves to invest in fertility treatments or adoption and therefore feel that that if they cannot get pregnant “naturally”, they are doomed.
Click here to read the full article in the Healthy Matters newsletter
Allison Heiliczer is a psychotherapist and part of the Annerley team. She has a special interest in women and couples and has helped many of our Annerley families. If you would like to book a therapy session or consultation with Allison, please email info@annerley.com.hk or call 29831558. Allison also facilitates our postnatal depression group at Annerley. This is free of charge – please see www.annerley.com.hk for details or give us a call.

allison heilczer

Allison Heiliczer, Annerley psychotherapist, runs the postnatal Depression Group and offers private consultations to women and couples.

 

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Power of the pride – thank you team Annerley & family

Power of the pride – thank you team Annerley & family

Posted on 12 March 2018 by hulda

We have all noticed the international day of women came and went. Like some other special days, it makes me, once again endlessly grateful.

Thanks to some other women, my name was mentioned in one of the articles published in Hong Kong on this day, along with some other women, amazing ones, funnily enough many of which I have been fortunate enough to walk alongside here in this fun city.

The article also mentioned my sister in law, Kristrun Lind, who re-established Annerley Midwives with me, something that not everyone would have been capable of doing. She put in endless hours to help to create what we have today. Annerley had previously been setup as mostly an education and lactation company by Ann Illingworth in 1995, then taken over and changed into a more wide range service clinic – pretty much one of its kind in Hong Kong, where traditionally women either saw a private obstetrician and gave birth in a private hospital, or went to government hospitals and clinics for their care. Private midwives rarely performed routine antenatal care.

Inspiration every day

Inspiration every day

Since then, a lot of water under the bridge and Annerley now offers a wide range of antenatal care, we have an obstetrician who tends to our women and a special shared care programme, NEXUS, that gives families an option of a great continuous care by midwives and obstetricians at a very affordable price. We are just about to publish our clinical outcomes from this programme and we are very excited.

But back to where I started. I remember when I got married in 2001 and I was thanking all my family and friends for all the help they had offered and given me in my life. Right from birth of course, parents and siblings, grandparents and many more – but then ongoing: I would never have finished school, university and my postgraduate midwifery degree, had it not been for my sister Rebekka for example, help from friends and family that babysat, fed, offered lodgings, cars, money and more and more – for years. Other friends who are always there, on the phone if not in person, always willing, listening, practical, loving and just there.

I also would never have survived here in Hong Kong, had it not been for all the friends and families that came through Annerley, all the staff that I have been fortunate to been surrounded by. I don’t think anyone can really imagine what it is to run a little business like this, that is so dependent on that everyone puts in their best and that – when nature rules what time babies are born, everyone is emotional, happy, helpless, sad, – the whole lot, many times over during the months of the parenting journey – completely depends on the whole team to be amazingly committed.
Families of those employees, the midwives, team in our office, they also have had their share. There are phone-calls, strange working hours and discussions about stuff that none of them really would love to hear. But they put up with it and fortunately I think I can say that most of the time our little team is a happy one.

Since 2001 in my marriage speech, I have many times stood in front of crowds and written blogs like this. All quite similar. About the same people.

And I can never say it enough. Women and men, – there are so many around me that I really cannot thank enough. People who stand by me and I want to say to that I will always, too, stand by you.

Sometimes this is obvious, sometimes it is not. But it is there. The it. Believe in it, lean into it, feel it. I really hope that one day, I can return all those favors, love and generosity, not that anyone seems to be counting.

I have had a tough year myself. I divorced and my whole family has suffered. We all try to make it work though and in my 45th year of living, I am making it my passion to try and live in peace and harmony and try to make the world a little better than when I came into it.
With the help of all these wonderful role-models around me, I would never be able to think that way. Of course, on the darkest days, it is even hard. But I am so lucky to be able to always be knocked into a beautiful path, if ever I seem to wander out of it. By you all, beautifulies. My family is an amazing one. Unusual and strange I suppose, but I am so glad to be in it. My birth family and my Annerley family.

“The power of the pride” – our little team mantra, this one led by the only man in our Annerley team. We are all there to support each other, to support families, who then support each other and so it goes.

Power of the pride

Power of the pride

I would like to dedicate my song on this day to my beautiful daughter Freyja, who is my inspiration every day. If we could all just be like her, the sun would always shine. Happy (just after) international day to all women in this world.

From the forever grateful mum and midwife,
Hulda

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10 Top Tips for New Parents – Sue shares her advice in ‘Around DB’ magazine

10 Top Tips for New Parents – Sue shares her advice in ‘Around DB’ magazine

Posted on 06 November 2017 by Kristrun

Becoming a parent is a life-changing event to say the least. Add in sleep deprivation, sore breasts, cramping and a demanding newborn, and it’s no wonder new parents struggle at times. Here are 10 tips to help keep mum, dad and baby healthy through the first few weeks. If your spouse snores at night and you’re having a hard time sleeping at night get some comfortable ear plugs for sleeping to help block out the snoring.

1. Expect that you will fit around the baby’s needs, and not the other way around. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself to keep to your old routine.

2. Sleep when the baby sleeps—Facebook can wait. A proper rest will leave you feeling refreshed and better able to cope when the baby wakes.

3. Accept help when it is offered. Although many people in Hong Kong are fortunate enough to employ domestic helpers, there are still times that you need that extra pair of hands from a friend.

4. Sit in front of the TV with the family while feeding. You don’t need to live in the bedroom for months!

5. Go out for gentle walks. Getting out is good for you both physically and mentally, but halve the distance you think you can walk—your body has been through a lot!

6. Eat and drink well. Have healthy snacks and a bottle of water nearby when feeding. Give your body the nutrients that it needs to cope with the demands being placed on it.

7. Babies cry. Accept it.

8. There is no magic formula for sleeping and feeding routines. There are, however, many wealthy book authors.

9. Listen to the friendly, contradicting advice of friends and relatives, then take what you want and disregard the rest.

10. Babies are tiny for such a short time. Enjoy them. Remember everything is just a phase.


To read the full article in Around DB – click here

Sue is a registered midwife and lactation consultant and she and our other midwives are available for office consultation, home visits as well as teaching group antenatal classes at Annerley. Please call 29831558 or visit www.annerley.com.hk for more details.

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New parents tips of the month! Having a baby, fears, challanges and enjoyment

New parents tips of the month! Having a baby, fears, challanges and enjoyment

Posted on 15 March 2017 by Kristrun

Your newborn baby

What did you find most enjoyable about having a baby so far? Katrina: It was an enormous relief to finally meet our baby Gabriel, to see that he’s well and ready for the world.
Do you remember how you felt when you knew  you were expecting? Katrina: I was absolutely, unreservedly terrified.
What has been hardest during the pregnancy? Katrina: The hardest thing for me was the need to face up to my fears, big and small. For nine (and a half…) months, there were endless questions and worries circling around and around in my head, but there was no way to work through them until Gabriel arrived.

How about the birth? Katrina: I think it’s very hard not knowing when things will kick off or how long labour will last – how do you pace yourself through a massive physical endeavour that might begin at any given point on, before, or after your due date, and that could go on for hours or days? I thought of stories about the long labours of friends and relatives, and couldn’t help but think, “if this labour lasts XXX hours, I’ve still got about XX hours to go…”. In fact my labour went so fast that the real problem was convincing doctors to move me to the labour ward in time for birth. We made it with less than half an hour to go before Gabriel’s big entrance.
….and after the baby is born, what are the biggest challenges? Katrina: I’ve had to learn to be patient, which does not come naturally to me. And trying not to fall asleep at a critical moment (such as Gabriel’s third dinner at 4.35am) can take some will power.
How about most enjoyable for this period? Katrina: I’m having a great time learning to understand Gabriel. It’s like a whole new language. At the same time, he is learning the ways of the world at a much faster pace, and changing every day, so he’s never dull. And it’s been really fun figuring all this stuff out together with my husband Bjorn.
Any recommendations or advice for new parents-to-be? Katrina: This is a request as much as a recommendation: Be honest. No pregnancy and no person is perfect (this includes mums, dads, babies, doctors, relatives, bosses and the rest). Don’t feel bad if your experience is not always as warm and fuzzy as the diaper ads or Hollywood would have you believe. It was such an enormous help to me when other parents-to-be and parents were honest about their pregnancies and parenthood – the good and the bad. And when I was honest in turn, I found that my honesty solicited the most practical advice, and the most heartfelt sympathy. If I’d kept quiet, everything would have been much, much harder, and much less fun.
Any specific dad-to-dad advice? Bjorn: There’s all sorts of things the dads can do to support mum and baby in hospital. You can be there to provide support and encouragement, and you can also play a critical role as an advocate when the mother is tired or concentrating on the birth. But do your homework first so that you know what kind of challenges you might come up against in your chosen hospital. If possible, speak to other parents who have had their children there in the recent past so they can help you to figure out what sort of problems you might face. And if your wife is British, remember to bring her many, many cups of tea to speed recovery…

Anything else? Katrina: I’m so glad I kept exercising all the way through pregnancy. Being relatively fit and healthy have helped with both the birth and recovery, and during pregnancy I relished the feeling that I could still work with my body despite the insane and often uncomfortable physical changes. I know parents and parents-to-be are hardly short of advice or anecdotes, and I promised myself I wouldn’t add to the cacophony… but if I were allowed to preach just one thing to pregnant mums, that’d be it.
Thank you for contributing Katrina, Gabriel and Bjorn!

The Annerley team

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Emotional Support for New Mamas; Hulda shares her advice on Sassy Mama

Emotional Support for New Mamas; Hulda shares her advice on Sassy Mama

Posted on 13 March 2017 by Kristrun

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“She had a little bit of (what most of us have unfortunately)… a good girl syndrome. She felt as though she should be grateful, even if the support she was getting was entirely on the terms of the givers and not the receiver. Comments like, “He is just hungry, I really think we should give him some formula, you have had no rest.” or “You really should go out more, it will do you good, plus we have not seen any of Hong Kong during our stay here, let’s go for lunch.” and “A baby should self settle, crying does no harm to them.”

The thing is, all of the above can be said and may sometimes be appropriate, but it is not supportive when it is given in this format. It is actually not helpful, especially in a case like this, where the mum was actually just in a very normal situation, baby was sleeping well but waking up reasonably often, gaining loads of weight and nothing wrong with him. But what has got to be remembered is that our parents grew up in a different environment to us. They received different instructions and sometimes, despite their best intentions to support, their comments may not be what we need. So it is important, before inviting them, to ask yourself, if they will actually be helpful. For example, are they happy to just hang with you on your terms and expectations for the baby.

Another comment I had from a lady not so long ago threw me completely: “My husband is so happy with how everything is going but he really thinks that I should stop breastfeeding.””

Hulda -

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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5 things to know about giving birth in Hong Kong – public private health care – published in Localiiz

5 things to know about giving birth in Hong Kong – public private health care – published in Localiiz

Posted on 16 October 2016 by Kristrun

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“There are several key things to consider when making the decision on where to give birth in Hong Kong; factors which may come into play might be your medical history, previous experience, cost and insurance, where you live, and how you would prefer your birth to be. However, before you can reach that decision, it’s helpful to understand that there are two systems available in Hong Kong – public and private – and there are significant differences between the two.

In short, the Government system offers comprehensive maternity care for high and low-risk mothers for a minimal cost, usually less than $500. This care includes antenatal checkups, the necessary tests and ultrasounds (as determined by the Health Authority), care during labour and delivery, and postnatal care for your and your baby. This system also provides access to district maternal health clinics, where you can have your antenatal and baby checkups, as well as the hospitals themselves. You will usually be assigned a hospital depending on where you live. The private system, on the other hand, offers the same care for any low and medium risk cases, but with a greater scope on how you deliver your baby and who will be present at the birth…..”

Click here to read more -
Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bonding with Your Baby during the 4th Trimester: Published in Sassy Mama

Bonding with Your Baby during the 4th Trimester: Published in Sassy Mama

Posted on 23 December 2015 by Kristrun

fourthTrimester“In the fourth trimester – the first weeks after the baby is born and is at home with you – there are many things you can do to make the transition easier and less stressful for both you and the baby and the family as a whole. Always keep in mind that the baby is adjusting and learning and finding its own feet and for the time being, the parents are its link to being able to do so. The baby relies on you 100 percent and tries to message you in the best way it possibly can. If you ignore or rush too much through those signals, or perhaps follow advice from others who are maybe not in the same situation, it may well result in a stressful situation, more cries from the baby and a delayed bonding between the two of you.”

Hulda -

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Understanding your helper – Published in Sassy Mama

Understanding your helper – Published in Sassy Mama

Posted on 20 December 2015 by Kristrun

understandingyourhelperYour search has ended (for now). Your helper arrives at your apartment, and your relationship as employer and employee has begun. The difference, though, with this employee is she lives with you and likely cares for your kids. You may know her manifest strength and weaknesses, but do you understand her as a person?

The ocean between knowing and understanding another person is tremendous; you may have many relationships orbiting you, but how many of those people do you truly understand? The idea of understanding your helper as a soul may be lofty, yet understanding enough about her background and posture may improve your working relationship. Here are some ideas on how:  Click here to read the full article on SASSY MAMA. 

Check our schedule for our helpers training courses and consultation at Annerley. Hiring a helper? Let us help guide you. In just one hour, we will discuss how to effectively and efficiently navigate the often rough waters of hiring and training a helper. Click here to book. 

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Succesful Blooming Bellies

Posted on 02 December 2015 by Kristrun

Helen - Feel Good Factor

Helen – Feel Good Factor

We are very proud of the successful Blooming Bellies event we recently hosted at Feel Good Factor spa on November 20th. The ladies attending learned about birth options from Hong Kong’s leading expert on the subject (our very own Hulda) – at the same time as meeting other mums-to-be and enjoying the well known hospitality of the  Feel Good Factor!

The speakers were:

Hulda Thorey Gardarsdottir – midwife at AnnerleyGiving birth in Hong Kong . Hulda talked about Hong Kong birth options from a professional point of view as well as sharing her own birth stories, which include both medical and more natural choices. Lots of useful questions were asked and lots of laughs especially when exploring the role of the partner!

Jennifer Heathfield-Lee from Athena Lifedebunked the myths behind about cord blood stem cell banking. Jennifer has a unique insight into stem cell banking options in Hong Kong and how it can be done.

Dora H. Hardaway from Right To Birth Your WayTop exercises for a better birth . Dora is known for her passion about personal and direct approach to help women achieve their goals when it comes to preparing for giving birth in Hong Kong.

Delicious food courtesy of Liz from Gingers with an express mani, pedi or foot massage from the staff at The Feel Good Factor. Everyone attending received 5% off the services at Athena Life  and a lucky winners were drawn who won a hamper worth over HK$2000 from Native Essentials and a support package ( Best of Both or Private Hospital Package) from Annerley. The Photographer Ines Laimins captured the mood and took photos as well as provided a further prize of a photo shoot. Every participant will get 50% off one of the prenatal fitness classes with Dora and for one lucky participant a free three class pass they can use towards any of Dora’s classes. Here is a this comparison of a couple different workouts. Last but not least The Feel Good Factor gave away a package of 3 pregnancy massages and one post pregnancy massage worth HK$2,800.00.

It was a truly enjoyable afternoon – relaxed, fun and informative. Just what we were aiming for.

Thank you all …

Great photos from the event on our Facebook page.

 

 

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“A Class Act” Hulda talks about antenatal classes in the Liv Magazine

“A Class Act” Hulda talks about antenatal classes in the Liv Magazine

Posted on 02 October 2015 by Kristrun

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“Looking for an antenatal class “made and led by people who know their stuff”? Your first stop after the little blue line appears should be Annerley, a Hong Kong institution that has gently steered baffled parents-to-be through the process of pregnancy and birth for well over 20 years. Founded by midwife and mum-of-four Hulda Thorey, whatever questions you have, you can be sure that the team at Annerley will have heard them before.

When asked how best expectant parents can prepare themselves for what’s to come, Hulda suggests that the one-size-fits-all approach taken by many hospitals is rarely the best option. “Have positive, professional and ethical healthcare. Mix different professionals and make informed choices. Take antenatal classes that are personalized and don’t assume everyone wants the same!”

Click here to read the full article>

All our antenatal classes are personalized with a private birth planning session after the group sessions have been conducted.

For a private consultation with the midwives – please email us to info@annerley.com.hk

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