Maryann is 35 years old. She lost almost all of her sight at 15-years-old and has 4 children Neeshai, 15, Ryus 11, Alanay is 5 and baby Arcani, who is five weeks old. In 2013 Maryann trained with MamaBabyBliss to become as baby massage teacher. Here she shares her inspirational story of how baby massage and positive touch has helped with her connect and bond with her babies.
How did you lose your sight?
“I would get lots of headaches first with pain in my forehead. These got worst over a period of about a year-and-a-half with intense pain felt at back of my head, which would spread all over my head and my eyes would hurt too. The headaches would knock me back for days and all I could do, was be in a blackout room, because my eyes would hurt so much. I lost weight because it would hurt to chew and I couldn’t move or lift my head. I would just close my eyes and lie down and cry myself to sleep. Doctors didn’t know what was wrong and it was really scary. During this time, my sight got worse and worse. I was only 15 years old.”
How has baby massage made a difference to you?
“My original career background is in Childcare as a Nursery Nurse, however, when my second son was a baby, he was taken very, very ill and had to be hospitalised. Because he was distressed and the treatments that he was being given him weren’t working, they decided the best was to put him in an induced coma. We decided then, that I would take time out to be with him in hospital as we were told he might not survive.
Baby massage was introduced to me in hospital at a time when we were really low. We were told that our baby boy could die, as the treatment wasn’t working as they had hoped. One of Ryus’s nurses at the time, mentioned to us how massage can benefit a baby and the parents and what positive effects it can have.
Ryus screamed all the time, which for us as parents was the worst thing in the world. Knowing your baby was distressed and couldn’t do anything to help them was awful. The medical team were very supportive and knowing that baby massage could possibly help Ryus, they asked permission from us, if it could be added to his treatment. Would we be willing to try massaging him? I listened to what the nurse said, read what she gave me and said yes. It was worth a try.
Massage was a lovely way for us to express love and care for him. It soothed and helped him sleep. Massage gave us that precious, skin-to-skin contact that is vital both for bonding and reducing our own and Ryus’s stress levels. As a family we could only see each other once a week due to strict restrictions and our older boy was not allowed to visit. The hospital staff became my family. Baby massage gave me self-confidence. Even with my poor sight, I could do something for my baby and things were improving. It drove me on.”
What inspired you train as a baby massage teacher?
“My son was on tubes and wires for so long. Everything was a blur, each day merging into another. He couldn’t mix with others, as he was immune suppressed and spent most of his early life in an induced coma. We spent months in hospital, away from loved ones. With baby massage I had a focus, something positive. Even if it was just 10 minutes, I could do it and as each day went by and things were improving. I didn’t feel like a waste of space. I wanted to learn to teach baby massage so that I could help other parents, in a similar situation, practise baby massage with their baby.”
How do you feel others can benefit from baby massage?
“Loving touch can play an enormous part in establishing a physical and emotional connection between a parent and their baby, especially if they have unique needs. Through positive touch, every day tasks that have been a struggle, can gradually become more manageable. It helps you bond with your baby and is a fantastic way for us parents to learn how our baby communicates with us, enabling us to understand what our baby wants and comfort them.”
As part of MamaBabyBlissful Week, we are raising funds for the MamaBabyBliss Charitable Foundation that will enable our Teachers to share the benefits of baby massage with those who would not ordinarily have access. Find out more about the aims of the MamaBabyBliss Charitable Foundation.