If you have been there before, knowing what giving birth entails, you’ll sort of know what I mean. The thought of labouring again for a second or third baby has to be regarded with stoicism and a jutting jaw. After 40 weeks or thereabouts of anticipation the time will ultimately come. It’s unavoidably uncomfortable, gruelling and painful – even if taking all the pain relief that you can get your hands on – and there’s only one way to get through it by focusing on the end point: the reward of a tiny, perfect human being and a triumph of achievement like not other.
However, it’s nearly ten years since I had my last baby and I’m now too far removed from really remembering anything real about what birth feels like anymore. It’s therefore a cliché to say that I’m currently cock-a-hoop and full to the brim with postpartum adrenalin. I’ve finally finished finding, sorting and matching up testers for products and the painful, long, contracted process of coordinating the product testing for the Mother and Baby Awards feels like a Pregnancy and Birth behind me.
That’s 185 brands, 527 products, 509 mum testers and 3176 product samples sent out. The numbers get bigger every year and each year in the middle of all my ‘tester’ labouring I do start huffing and puffing and swearing and asking myself why am I going through this all over again…?
You wouldn’t believe how complex finding testers for most products can be! No mum can test everything, so a careful selection of questions has to be asked: Are you breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, or just going from one to the other? Have you got sore or cracked nipples or do you have a baby who won’t sleep? Do you have safe storage for larger items? Isofix in you car? A baby with colic? Do you use reusable or disposable nappies? Are you weaning, or self-weaning, and if so, at what stage?
Right age, right weight, right sex, right size, and I’m ready to give my right arm to chuck it all out the window and scream! Why don’t we just do awards for pushchairs? That would be a breeze.
Except, at the end of it all, the sense of achievement is huge and I feel like one proud mummy lovingly admiring the whopper of a baby I’ve just delivered! Truth, be known, I’d love to take a peek into all the other Parenting titles and Nursery Awards ‘cradles’ just to check them out and gloat that my baby’s much better than theirs.
30 award categories are decided entirely by these volunteer tester mums. I’ve just handed the responsibility for the winning decisions onto their shoulders alone. So now, these mums are busy this summer, currently putting all 527 different products through their paces. They will become the reviewers and ambassadors for every product that gets their vote. The winners won’t necessarily be everyone’s favourite, and some mums’ favourites won’t be winners. In a democratic system the votes are added and the highest overall scoring products take the awards….
This is the best part; I can now take a back seat and watch the reviews rolling in….
Oh no, hang on, all that computer screen blurriness and now I can no longer focus to count. Testing for 29 categories is well underway but the 30th, and in my mind the least appealing, I’ve sort of ignored. Who, of sane mind would want to test great cumbersome, awkward cots and cot beds? Your friends are not going to thank you when you turn up on the doorstep bearing a cot; “Saying, squeeze this in your tiny nursery and test this, why don’t you?”
So I’ve just sent an e-mail to tentatively ask 510 kind mums if anyone can help me, and I’ve detailed, as much as I could, why testing cots was such an awful proposition. I don’t want anyone to have any nasty surprises. Thinking that maybe, just maybe two or three brave volunteers might offer to help… I need ten testers, tops.
But can you believe it? 165 mums have e-mailed me to say they’ll love to do it. Which just goes to prove. Being a mum can make you crazy! And I definitely include myself in that!
As I said before; it’s now over to my testing mums. You might like to guest blog for me about the experiences you having a tester – wild, crazy, stupid and funny. Or e-mail me with a product review of something you are testing and really want to talk about. Or just add a comment to this. It’s up to you, needless to say that I’m really looking forward to hearing what you have to say.