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I am writing this in the hope that some second + time mums will read it and make me feel better about some current weirdness that has invaded my life: Anyone who reads this and make the “crazy gesture” will get hunted down and sat on.

I’ve started having flashbacks to Alfie’s birth recently, but these flashbacks feel like they are being triggered by my olfactory system by a smell I can’t quite smell.

Yeah, I know, believe me I know.

I’ve had really vivid flashbacks to being in the labour ward, wandering around the room waiting for the induction to work. The odd thing is the visual image isn’t the focus, it’s the sense of anticipation and contentedness at the thought of meeting our baby that really comes through.

I’ve also had flashbacks to being on the post natal ward when I was padding around, my little snugglebug in his goldfish bowl crib, and again it’s not the visual but the emotional that really comes through to me.

These aren’t negative flashbacks in any sense, the moments I am reliving are the moments where there was anticipation, and hope, and contentment and calm – rare as those were – but what bothers me is that I can’t work out for the life of me why they have started.

I know there is a big hormonal shift in the last few weeks of pregnancy when oxytocin and prostaglandins start to ramp up in preparation for labour. There is also a pheromone called estratetraenol which hits its peak at the same time, so it is not beyond the wit of man to guess that one, or all of these things is causing this latest strangeness.

But what weirds me out is the way they strike, not by gently floating into a daydream, but suddenly, like a switch has been flicked and I’m right there reliving the moment completely. Just like when you hear a song, or smell a familiar but long forgotten smell and wham-o you are 11 years old again and suddenly you’re back on a bed hallucinating that there are giant buttons on the ceiling and that you can taste a red balloon.

No? Just me? Good to know.

Maybe this is my mind taking what nice memories it can find and using them to reinforce the training I have been doing as part of my Natal Hypnotherapy

Answers on a postcard please; along with some reassurance that I will one day rediscover the plot, perhaps just hidden under a pile of papers and a little tea stained.  


  1. This is normal. the limbic system in the brain is bang on top of the olfactory system, so often wires get crossed and a smell becomes vividly linked to a memory. Scent manufacturers exploit this one to the max.

    Have a good look at any new washing powder or detergent you may have. Now get a cloth, add a few drops of soemthing smelly and inhale whenever you are happy and relaxed. Sniff it while you tell yourself how great you are and visualise this fab homebirth. Keep the cloth on hand during labour in case the flashbacks recur, and use it to mask whatever unidentified whiff is triggering the unpleasant memories xxx

  2. Thanks Jane, all makes a lot of sense really.

    And as if by some fluke I read this on my Twitter feed today ...

    Obviously I'm not on the pill, but I thought the oestrogen/ emotion link was an interesting one considering the rising levels in the third trimester



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