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People: Haddie Halliwell - Baby Massage
A year ago we carried out some trial interviews and the one on the next page (CLICK HERE) we did with Haddie (Christine) Halliwell who runs baby massage classes in Rochford. Here below is the up-to-date interview with Haddie to see what has happened over the past year.    
Update on ‘Massaging Mums’
It’s been good to catch up with the various people we interviewed a year ago. We wondered with the baby massage whether it was worth it, but we hope you’ll agree that it certainly was. Haddie’s enthusiasm and commitment to baby massage should leave no new mum in doubt that here’s a place worth visiting!

Rochford Life: Haddie, we’re a year on since we did the last interview. Has much changed in that time?
Haddie: No, basically, I’m still doing it on a Thursday from 1 until 3pm, or a bit later depending how many people arrive.

RL: I assume you have a completely different group of ladies now?
Had: Yes, totally different. In some respect that’s nice because you do get a different turnover of mums. Sometimes it’s every five weeks and sometimes you keep the same group for maybe eight or ten weeks or maybe even longer. The longest I’ve had a mum coming was about nine months, and she only gave up coming because she was going back to work. But we’re just coming up to the end of one and they were saying today, next week’s the last one, can we keep coming because we enjoy it. It’s partly the social bonding that takes place but there are not many places that can take young ones. There are a lot more different things starting to happen – there are music groups, baby yoga, signing for babies – you can have a whole social calendar for babies now, but this is one of the first ones that can start when they are very young. Because it is one of the first ones, the new mums tend to feel, oh, I really like this, especially if the baby has been quite fractious previously, lot of wind, constipation. They are coming and doing the massage and it is working. They don’t actually want to go away because it creates a sense of security, and, ‘I must be doing something right’, as well as the social aspect. I don’t mind them keep on coming unless we have masses and masses and they then themselves realise that it’s time to move on, but the majority of the time we have the room for them so they keep on coming. I like it because it actually shows the new mums that when babies get older, they still like it.  

RL: What is the oldest baby you have with you?
Had: I think she is about four months and she must be on her third of fourth lot, starting back in July, I think it was.

RL: Remind me, how many years have you been doing it?
Had: I’m just coming up to eight

RL: So you must have had a few hundred passing through your hands?
Had: Yes. It must be. I don’t throw away registration notes and so I have a bag jammed full of them. I get people coming back for a second time and they’re not even phoning; they just turn up. They say, ‘I just came to see if you were still doing it, because I thoroughly enjoyed doing it with my first one, he’s now at nursery or mother-in-law is looking after him and I want the one to one time with this one,’ which is lovely to be able to see. Then you feel you’ve really done something right the first time round. As long as people keep turning up, I will carry on doing it because it makes such a difference to mums and babies.  

RL: How are you funded?
Had:  We can afford the day to day running with what the mums give. It’s the rent and Rochford Community Church pay for that, to enable it to happen.    

RL: And these are all local mums?
Had: Yes, but I still use our old registration forms that I had to use with a previous funder, and what is interesting is that it had nationality on it and we have had Chinese, Turkish, Slovakian, German. I have been amazed at where they have all come from.  

RL: You really enjoy doing this don’t you?
Had: Yes, it’s one of my passions. I don’t think I have ever gone, ‘Oh, no, it’s Thursday afternoon!’ I may have home pressures and feel, ‘Oh, I ought to finish this,’ but the moment I walk in the hall, everything else is forgotten. It’s one of THE highlights of my week. I do enjoy it; it’s fun, it’s interesting and I hope the mums see the genuineness in me coming through.

RL: It’s a big thing for you isn’t it?
Had: Oh, not just for me. There was a big four-day international conference last week in London on baby massage

RL: So what do they talk about for four days on baby massage?
Had: They take all sorts of angles. For instance they’ll take prem babies, they have a big thing on mental health issues with mum, and mental health issues for babies as well, for there are drug babies and this sort of thing. They try to recognise the problems that there are today. They deal with handicapped babies, going into how it can help them as well. They have experts from all over the world, and I think there were probably about five hundred people there, maybe more. They also have training days though the year and there is always a review of the massage itself to make sure you are actually doing it all right.     

RL: Well, thank you very much for talking to us again. It’s been great to hear what has been going on. I suspect we’ll check you out again in twelve months to see that it is still going. Thanks again.
Baby Massage INTERVIEW: Haddie Halliwell
(14th October 2010)