Many women are already fearful of cervical smear tests despite the fact that cervical cancer is mostly preventable with screening tests. But with added confusion and understandable concerns due to the pandemic, delays to a lot of tests, a new unfiltered podcast has been launched by a popular parenting blogger (and my lovely friend) sharing how she believes that a simple smear test “saved her life.” 

Here is the news story I have written about her new unfiltered and fabulous podcast which I featured in:

33-year-old Carla Lett from Lancashire who suffers from health anxiety felt like her “worst nightmare” had come true when she got the letter following her smear test saying her cells were “abnormal.” 

She said: “I already think worst case scenario and more with all health matters but I wasn’t prepared to actually face an abnormal test result. 

“That said after nervously waiting for a further tests it showed abnormal again but mildly so.

“I later found out I was pregnant but they still wanted to see me for another test which showed I had ‘minor’ abnormalities due to HPV virus (human papillomavirus is a common group of viruses which most people get in their lifetime).”

About 1 in 20 women receive a cervical screening test result that shows some changes in the cells of the cervix an ‘abnormal result’ (NHS Cancer Screening Programme – Cervical screening ‘The Facts’ 2015). Nearly all abnormal results show no more than small changes in the cells of the cervix.

Carla, who runs MyBump2Baby the popular parenting, baby and pre-school directory and blog, then had to wait until she had had her first child George before going for another test.

“I was petrified and worst still it came back abnormal but moderate this time.” 

But as Carla had kept up to date with screening tests, it was a simple procedure of burning some of the cells away. 

Carla now speaks openly about her experience to encourage other mums to attend their smear tests. 

She said: “It is not comfortable or something I enjoy but it is over with so quickly and even if you get an abnormal result by going to your screening test cervical cancer is almost always preventable.” 

Carla has recently launched her first podcast called Fifty Shades of Motherhood and she has dedicated the first episode to talk all thing cervical screening from the funny moments to the scary times and everything in between. 

She said: “It’s important we have an open dialogue. And I am very open! I wanted to use my platform to help other mums nervous about going.” 

Carla invited fellow blogger and vlogger Sophie Mei Lan from mental health and wellbeing site Mama Mei, to chat openly about their smear tests ahead of Cervical Screening Awareness week on 15th June – 22nd June 2020. 

Sophie, who also had an abnormal test result, said: “It’s important that we share our experiences, warts and all! No pun intended! 

“It’s great that there are so many campaigns to prompt women to have their test and we wanted to add authentic unfiltered voices to that so women can be comforted that no matter what their concerns are, there are other women in the same boat and that even with the dreaded ‘abnormal’ test result… knowledge is power and there is so much that can normally be done.” 

In episode one of Fifty Shades of Motherhood podcast, available to download now, Carla and Sophie share their own experiences after having abnormal smears, their views about having to wait until your 25 to be tested and some highly amusing thoughts and quotes to keep you giggling from start to finish whilst raising awareness and encouraging woman to attend their appointments.

To find out more about Cervical Screening head to  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening and to find out more about the podcast set to show the weird and wonderful world of motherhood, go to: www.mybump2baby.com/podcasts/fiftyshadesofmotherhood

You can find out more about Fifty Shades of Motherhood, here: 

https://www.instagram.com/fiftyshadesofmotherhoodpodcast/

www.facebook.com/fiftyshadesofmotherhoodpodcast

MyBump2Baby: 

https://www.mybump2baby.com

www.instagram.com/mybump2baby

www.twitter.com/mybump2baby

www.facebook.com/mybump2babyuk

You can find Sophie Mei Lan via the links below: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN4nwFkGBwFCefz9RKSVKsQ
https://www.instagram.com/mamameiblog

Transcript of Episode 1: 

Carla (00:11):

Hello everyone. And welcome to 50 shades of motherhood. I know quite a few of you have been eagerly awaiting this first episode. So have I! I’ve been so, so excited and I’m really excited to have you here listening with me. Cause I’m probably listening to it again to thinking, Carla, why the hell did you just say that you’re stupid. But that’s what it’s all about it’s unfiltered, uncensored unhinged, mum chat. So today we are talking about our smear test. Now I am joined by the lovely Sophie Mei Lan, which is my friend and also fellow blogger. She also vlogs. And we are going to be discussing our experience of our smear tests because it’s cervical cancer awareness week from the 15th of June to the 22nd. And I’m really keen to get as many parents booking in for their smear tests. So there are highlights, funny bits, just honest mum chats around smear tests so I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you do, please, don’t forget to subscribe so that when it comes to series two, I can actually say to Danny, look, you know, I’ve got five subscribers. I can’t let them down. I’m just going to have to keep recording. So if you will subscribe, that would mean the world to me also. I really hope you liked this episode. Enjoy.

Carla (01:43):

Hello and welcome to 50 shades of motherhood. Today. I am joined fellow vlogger/blogger Sophie Mei Lan and we’re going to be discussing, cervical screening and the importance of attending your smear test. So hello Sophie.

Sophie (02:09):

Hi, Carla.

Carla (02:10):

How are you?

Sophie (02:12):

Yeah, well, I say I’m doing really well as well as anyone in lock down is doing, I think.

Carla (02:18):

Yeah, absolutely. No, I feel you there, although it’s getting, we actually went out for a walk yesterday, which was nice because you’re allowed to a bit more now aren’t you, we went up Pendle Hill, um, really quite enjoyable actually. Well, it was enjoyable for me when I got to the top and I was away from Danny and George. I was like, Oh, freedom, you know five minutes to myself. It was bliss. Yeah, it was good. What have you been up to?

Sophie (02:45):

So I’ve got the kids on my own for the next 14 days, which is going to be an interesting challenge at home. Cause it’s hard to get them out. Um, and then, yeah, just trying to juggle, um, I’m finishing off my new book that I’ve coming out which is on eating disorders, basically mental health recovery. And then yeah, I keep setting myself weekly goals and then never really hitting them because the kids have other ideas, but at least have set them. So yeah, it’s productive as possible. It’s just hard when your life is at the mercy of making candy floss, trying to stop too much screen time, but that doesn’t really happen.

Carla (03:28):

Oh we just, we just have screen time now I just embrace screen time. Like that’s your iPad fully charged while that, while he’s watching one I’ll be charging the other one, I’m like just passing them over. I just think it’s impossible to kind of work, manage a house and look after a child at the same time.

Sophie (03:47):

Oh gosh, I know and I keep saying, my new thing is, cause they blame me for getting them into YouTube because I do love YouTube. That’s like my platform and they say, well, you got us into YouTube, you make YouTube content. And, and then, uh, and then so now where I’ve been like, well, as you’re watching that vlog on spy ninjas. Just look at how they’re creating the blog and how they are putting it together. Makes me feel a little less guilty.

Carla (04:17):

Yeah make some notes for me. Oh, just look at those. Yes. The intro music. What time does that come in? Think about it. We’ll do a quiz after. Oh God. So me and you Sophie have both had our own journeys through these cervical smear tests, smear the word it’s just even makes me feel sick. But we’ve both had our own journey. So tell me a bit about what you experienced after going for your smear test.

Sophie (04:47):

Yeah. So I’ve always been pretty good at attending the smear test because I think with all the campaigns, especially like the Jade Goody one and stuff, you kind of prompted that how important it was. And, but at the same time, I won’t lie until I had babies coming out of my vagina. I was really awkward about anyone going there and, and yeah. And then I went and then I was even more surprised because then I got a letter through. Cause you kind of think when you’re there. Oh yeah it will be fine, will be fine. Or you think the opposite? And then normally everyone’s like, Oh, well it will be okay. And then I got a letter saying it was abnormal. So then I freaked out because people didn’t tell you about the next steps when it’s abnormal. But at the same time, I was so relieved that I went and the more that I found out about it. The more that it was like, I would say grateful, that I had gone. And it’s like a tiny bit of uncomfortable pain. But. It is so worth it.

Carla (05:55):

Yeah, totally, totally agree. So what happened after the abnormal then? Did you have to have any procedures or did they kind of go back to normal?

Sophie (06:04):

Um, I went back and then they, um, they checked again and then I had to wait again. Um, I was all right. I just had to have more regular smear tests. Um, and then now that was a few years ago and now I’m kind of back on to the standard, kind of routine. So I’ve actually had a smear test at the start of locked down. And so I was one of the lucky ones who got in and, but yeah, it really does make you go because I think it’s the whole thing is the fear. Isn’t it? Because I know you’ve had experience as well of going to have your smear done and it was abnormal.

Carla (06:46):

Yeah. Yeah. So mine, I mean, I’ve always gone to them because I’m the other way to you wherever is it instead of you thinking, Oh, it’s all right. I’ve got major health anxiety. So I actually think all the time, like there’s something wrong with me. Like literally today I guarantee during the course of the day I’ll get a headache or something like that. I’ll think I’ve got a brain tumour and for those split seconds or minutes or however long it is, I have like a panic attack and I genuinely think, I’ve got that, so like I definitely have never missed a smear test, um, just for peace of mind. Um, because I always think of something anyway wrong with me. It’s ridiculous. Really? Um, yeah, I think it all started when I was a child. And do you know what it’s quite funny story actually. Well, it’s a bit weird, but you know, when you were start, well, when you were at school and you start getting a boob, I don’t know whether any of you lot remember, but basically I got like one lump in one boob. first and it was really sore. I woke up, I remember the day I woke up and I was like, wow, what the hell? Anyway, I think I was about eight. Right? They never developed much since then, to be honest with you.

Sophie (07:58):

I like how you say one boob.

Carla (08:02):

Yeah. I just, yeah, I did end up getting another boob as well, but it literally, they looked like bee stings. They were like, yeah, yeah. Tiny boobs. But anyway, yeah. So I started to get one. And I was sat with my head in my hands. My mum said tells me the story back and she says, what’s wrong Carla. I said, I’ve got breast cancer and genuinely at 8 years old. I honestly, I thought I had breast cancer because I’d heard about all these lumps, I’d listen to things. And like that is, that is where it all started. And since then I’ve been the same about everything. I’ve literally had everything and anything in my head and I genuinely believe it. So anyway, so back to the smears I never miss a smear. So I’ve been going ongoing. But, there was one that came up and I didn’t know, I didn’t know I was pregnant at the time and I went, for a smear test when I was pregnant, with George, very early it must have been like a month pregnant I don’t know four weeks pregnant, and I went and it came back abnormal. Well, for someone like me, it was, the worst thing. I was like,Oh my god this is it. This is it. Anyway, it was ridiculous. But anyway, I went back and they were like, right. So, um, so you’ve had abnormal we’ll do another check in six months or three months or something like that. I can’t remember the timescale anyway. And then obviously between then, and the next time I went back and found out I was pregnant with George. So I was like, what do I do now? Would it be a case of me waiting until I’ve had George? Or did they still want to see me? So I went and they still actually wanted to see me. Which I was quite shocked about to be honest. And I felt really uncomfortable with it. And I remember going, and they actually did another smear while I was pregnant. And I thought, is this normal? I don’t know, but I went ahead with it and it was fine. Um, but it was, you’re very protective of your baby at that stage as well. Well your like, I don’t want anything, up there. Well, Danny, Danny was lucky to get it up there a couple of times. I must admit. But. Anything else. You know, any foreign objects? No. I didn’t want to. So anyway, they did it and it came back again, abnormal, with the HPV and they said, look, it’s abnormal, but nothing we’re overly concerned about come back after you’ve had George. So I went back after I had George and again, it was abnormal and it was getting more towards, it was mild and then it was starting to get moderate.

Carla (10:32):

So after then what happened was, I went to the Doctors and they said, you’re going to have to have a loop diathermy have you heard of that? Soph?

Sophie (10:42):

No I’ve not heard of that.

Carla (10:42):

Yeah. So basically I had to go into hospital and they said, I needed to decide whether I would go under general anaesthetic or that just do it while I was awake. And I thought, I don’t want to stay in hospital. So I’ll just do it while I was awake. And I was quite nervous about it to be honest. Cause what they do is they put an injection into your cervix. Which not, I’m not going to lie about it. It was quite uncomfortable. But I’m sure cancer is a hundred million times worse. Um, well it will be. And so I, so they put the injection in and then what they do is they actually burn away the cells around your cervix.

Sophie (11:23):

And are you awake or are you asleep?

Carla (11:30):

Yeah. I was awake. I was awake. So it was a bit bizarre. Um, and a bit, it’s just, you don’t know what to expect and no one really talks about them. So you don’t really know, you know, you didn’t know what, that, that was one of the next steps. So anyway, um, uh, went, and then they did that and then like they cut away some of my cervix as well to send off and some tissue. I don’t know whether it was some of my cervix or some tissue. So if I’ve got that wrong, I don’t know. But basically the cut away some and they went, they said to me, right, your doctor will follow up with another appointment. And they will check that you’ve got noncancerous cells left, but not cancerous but abnormal. So anyway, I went on my way and I didn’t do you know what all that was in the April and it got to December. And I was like, I’m sure I was meant to have a doctors appointment. Anyway, I rang. And they were like, Oh yeah, we were meant to phone you. I thought, Oh my God, they didn’t even phone me. So I went in for another smear test and at the doctors, he was like, I’ve seen something, I didn’t like. He said he saw something that he didn’t like the look of and sent me straight for an emergency appointment to the Vic. Um, and this was before Christmas and being an absolute, you know health, anxiety loon. As I like to call myself, I was beside myself, came out, he handed me a leaflet, like 1 in 10 people that have this appointment will have cancer. I was like, what the hell, especially when you, someone that goes regularly, um, you know, like, and you’ve stuck by it. And I was just so annoyed. That they hadn’t followed up because I just thought the test did that and everything was okay.

Carla (13:12):

But anyway, so yeah, I went to the hospital that two weeks, I was just like, shaking, like a blooming shitting dog almost for two weeks. It was awful. Um, and anyway, so I went to the hospital and I was crying when I went in and the guy was like, what’s wrong? I said, I just think I have got this cancer. Anyway. I went and he looked and he was like, you’re, absolutely fine. There’s nothing to worry about. It was just where they’ve cut away some of the tissue, it’s the way it healed, made it look a bit different. And I think that’s what he wanted to get checked up. But what I’m a quite annoyed about, is that my smear test have now gone back to every three years.You know, like when you’re already a bit nervous about it.

Sophie (13:58):

Yeah.

Carla (13:58):

It’s made me a bit you know worried about that whole thing.

Sophie (14:05):

I think thats the thing as well, cause with this, it’s like, I am normally like a worst case scenario person. I haven’t got health anxiety, but I get anxiety anyway. So I’m always thinking, do you know any situation I’m a bit like, Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen. And then when you go and everyone says, Oh no, it’ll be fine. We both had that. Obviously your situation’s even more tricky, but we both had it where everyone was saying, Oh, it will be fine, it will be fine, and then suddenly you get that letter. And I think it’s good to talk about that because the worst case scenario, in the sense of getting the abnormal results, obviously not the actual thing, but did happen. And it’s even at that stage, there’s still procedures. Do you get what I mean?.

Carla (14:54):

Absolutely. And the best way that my doctor described it was he said that basically it’s like stepping stones. So you never go from not having abnormal. You know, you never go from not having abnormal smears and a clear smear. Well, he says never, you know, I’m sure there’ll be some cases. But, you know, he said, it’s very, very unlikely to go from having no abnormal cells to the five years later being completely you know it like being cancerous. He said, it’s like stepping stones. So you’ll go firstly you’ll go to the abnormal smells like smells hahaha.

Sophie (15:36):

Thats another topic for next week love.

Carla (15:36):

Thats another subject wanted to get on with this this one actually. But yeah, abnormal cells, you wouldn’t go from like having mild. Um, it’s like almost stepping stone, so mild, then moderate then severe. And then obviously it goes on to the next step. So it’s definitely worth going to those smear tests because, Mmm. You know. That is the first place that you’ve, actually got something, a procedure in place where it can catch something before. I just wish they did the whole body. To be honest with you. I would go to any appointment I possibly could.

Sophie (16:10):

Yeah I do think that like a full health mot. Cause the amount of times I’ve been in with my boobs, for lumps and because I breastfed for so long and then it’s always like, I’ve always had different lumps and bumps and stuff and I just think can’t you just check me over. Like, every year or something just to like give you that peace of mind because you hear these campaigns and you like panic don’t you?

Carla (16:40):

Mm. Yeah. And what got me is the abnormal cells and having that loop diathermy and then me being like me, I was thinking to myself, Oh yeah. But if that’s one that they can find, what else is going on inside there that have not tested, you know, like, Oh, it is really bad. But what, another thing that really annoys me about these, um, the cervical smear tests. I keep saying smear tests don’t know what the right term is. Bur, it’s the age like 25 is why are they not bringing that age down? It’s ridiculous. I mean, there’s people in my local area, unfortunately that have gone to their first smear test and found that they have got it and it’s too late to do anything about it. And I just think why are they not bringing this age down?

Sophie (17:29):

Yeah. I think that as well, I think it should be a lot, lot younger rather than, because it is like that whole it’s about the prevention, isn’t it?

Carla (17:40):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, 25 and also, I mean, this HPV, you know, that comes with sexually active. I mean, God. I was sexually active, a long before 25 and you know, that was like, I just think it’s, it’s too long for people to wait and it’s something that, you know, I just really think they need to think about it. Cause they did it. I’m sure they did bring it down and then they put it back up.

Sophie (18:09):

Yeah. And also I think the other thing is it’s always checking say if there are barriers to going. And obviously I always say like medical professionals and different professionals. It’s a bit like dating in the sense that you’ll get some idiots and then you’ll get some really good ones. So don’t settle, if your worried, so for example with me, I didn’t have anyone else to have my baby at the time. So I like, and she was breastfeeding and l were like, well, the doctor can’t sit there and breastfeed her whilst also doing my smear. So I was like well i’ll have to go but, will she just lay on my chest and actually they got the receptionist to come in and kind of hush the baby and. It were a bit of peace and quiet. They didn’t give me a cocktail but.

Carla (19:01):

No, no. Oh, Oh yeah. That would be bliss wouldn’t it imagine that, just sipping on a cocktail while you’re having it done. Well, my, my thing is, I always think the smear test is definitely not as bad as what you think either, you know, it is, it’s really in the grand scheme of things. It is just five minutes of kind of uncomfortableness. But then, you know, it’s so worth it. So, um, I really want to encourage anyone listening to this that hasn’t booked just book it in and get it done. And then it’s off your mind. It’s completely gone from your mind. But, another dilemma I face when going for mine is do you shave. Right?

Sophie (19:41):

Yeah.

Carla (19:42):

This is the thing you see, because I think I don’t want to give that doctor the wrong impression that I’ve shaved just for him, you know? So when he goes in there, it’s all cleanly. You know. And he might think oh, she’s done this today. So what I do, so what I do is I actually shave a few days before so we can see, you know, it’s groomed but not for you. Do you know what I mean?

Sophie (20:09):

Haha. Groomed but not for you

Carla (20:12):

Yeah. So it’s not inviting. I certainly don’t want to give him the wrong impression. It’s risky, but it’s like, know when you go to the dentist. Everyone that goes to the dentist. You know, you go home quickly clean, you brush your teeth vigorously before you go. I mean, what do you do before a smear? You know, you’ve been at work all day and it’s like, Hm, do I, I, you know, stick some shower gel down there and just, you know, I don’t know?

Sophie (20:44):

I had the same thing when giving brith cause I was like, if I have got a full on team of people around me. I don’t want to look like I’ve been like overly, sexually active in this period. But at the same time, do you want to be nice and clean? And, but like you say it’s anything even like that, that makes you feel, just go. That’s I think that’s the message innit just go . And the reality is the doctors have seen it all.

Carla (21:09):

Well that’s what they always say. They always say I’ve seen it at all. And they have, and you know, they wouldn’t recognise. It’s just another thing to them. It’s like, think of your work. And you know the things that you see, it just becomes, another, another fairy, you know, it’s just another fairy that they will look at and you don’t need to overanalyse it at all. Um, you know, you just don’t know really.

Sophie (21:37):

Do you call it fairy?

Carla (21:37):

I call it fairy. What do you call it?

Sophie (21:40):

Oh, well, when I’m not being recorded, I probably ruder words, but then, um, but then I do just like, I love the word vagina and because I’ve learned to use it over the years, but also with my girls, I like literally talk about the vagina all the time.

Carla (22:00):

Do you? Aw.

Sophie (22:05):

But I love the word fairy, that makes it sound like a lot more graceful. Yeah. Yeah.

Carla (22:12):

Vagina, I like that. I’ve heard some absolutely terrible names for it to be honest with you. I mean ones, I can’t even say, I can’t even say them it makes me feel sick. But yeah fairies.

Sophie (22:25):

It’s like, it’s whatever works for you. Do you know to kind of own your vagina, your fairy or whatever. And it’s like, like I used to be uncomfortable saying the word vagina, because it’s not the prettiest word but, then it’s similar in the same sense as, cervical smears, the more you do something, the less power or fear it has over you.

Carla (22:50):

Yeah. Absolutely.

Sophie (22:53):

If you’re going to regularly do you know, get your roots done, get your nails done, god I’d love that, but whatever your gonna regularly do. I’m sure there is more important..dentist thats it.

Carla (23:05):

Yeah the dentist.

Sophie (23:13):

It should definitely be up there, with like your top appointments. Like just honestly, once you go, you just feel so much better.

Carla (23:25):

Yeah. I think a lot of it is the actual thinking that you’ve got that that day. And I think it’s that, but once that day is come it’s over with as quick as it came and it’s done, you know, you’re done for another hopefully three years, you know, it’s I don’t know. I mean, a lot of the feedback that we’ve had, on my bump 2 baby when have asked parents Is they just don’t like, it’s a scary thought the thought of going. And I think it might just be scary. The thought of, When I spoke to my mum’s also one of these that avoids appointment and um, she just said, she’s so scared of finding out that she’s got something, which I understand that, but then this prevents that happening hopefully and you know, it’s something that you can tick off your list because I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve not done something, I should have done every time I hear about it, I think, Oh God, I need to do that. And it just becomes one of them horrible things that you just don’t want to think about, but it’s always kind of in the back of your mind.

Sophie (24:22):

Yeah. It’s a bit like going to clinic isn’t it?

Carla (24:25):

Oh yeah. Yeah. It is. It definitely is.

Sophie (24:31):

And it’s the fear thats the worst thing.

Carla (24:31):

It is definitely. Yeah. It’s just here you think, Oh my God, what if I have got something, but the good thing about the smear test, cervical screening test, whatever you want to call them is you know there’s a lot that they can do before it gets to that next stage. And it’s a free test and I just welcome it with open arms, you know, it’s so important.

Sophie (24:55):

And it’s not as horrid as it seems either, granted, do you know, there’s things that I’d rather do that fling my legs in the air and have somebody put a plastic object up it. But for what that gain is from that is incredible. I actually you’ve remind me I’ve vlogged one of mine.

Carla (25:17):

Did you?

Sophie (25:18):

Yeah yeah I don’t know where that vlog is but yeah.

Carla (25:21):

That’s amazing. I’m guessing you did that from like the top way down. Not going to get the doctor to, to do it while he’s going in there .Oh God. Honestly. Oh, it’s so funny, that is really good that you did that actually. Oh, brilliant. Well done you. I would do mine but.

Sophie (25:47):

Of course. I don’t know about you, but um, like my, like so many of my friends never go.

Carla (25:55):

No. Yeah. I mean, my friends are quite good really actually, to be honest. But, when I’ve asked on the survey and stuff like that with our parents on, on Instagram and stuff. Yeah. There’s quite a lot that have had appointments due during this lockdown. Which really gets me because you know I’m just hoping they catch up with them as soon as, as soon as it’s over. Cause sometimes then it can slip your mind to chase it up, you know, it’s, it’s been a difficult time for some people. And also some people that have had to go back after having abnormal ones as well, waiting on results and stuff. It’s just slowed everything down so much.

Sophie (26:32):

Oh gosh. Yeah. And I think that’s the thing it’s like, as soon as she, it goes back to some kind of normality, it’s those things I think are really important. Like my friends who are, I haven’t got any doctor friends, but my friends who are nurses and they were all like, no, we want to see patients. It’s not like people are obviously concerned about the pandemic, but it’s all the long term health stuff. Um, that they’re worried about, you know, that people aren’t getting sorted now, which will end up leading to health complications later on.

Carla (27:08):

Absolutely. Yeah. I know. There’s a lot of people that have, been, and there’s also a lot of people that have been avoiding disturbing the doctor. Um, and they don’t want to kind of reach out for if they’re concerned about something because you know, they’re already inundated and they don’t want to waste people’s time, but it’s so, so important to do that. Uh, if, if you find, you know, that something isn’t quite right.

Sophie (27:34):

Yeah. Yeah. I definitely agree. And I think like now’s the time, cause we are focused on health and we know how important health is and precious it is so whilst we’re lucky to have it free here in UK. Just like, go for it or get a friend like me we’ll send you a vlog of them going for it. I literally sent it to my friends, not as a like, because I get that fear. And I get their like, there are so many issues relating to our vaginas or fairies or body parts much more than just kind of superficial issues. But, if they are holding you back, like talk to people, you know, to get over them or like somebody like me who will literally talk you through it on a vlog to my friends, I was like, this is how simple it is because it’s that fear. And it’s fear of the unknown.

Carla (28:33):

Yeah. It is. And I think a lot of people as well, if they’ve got a male long term doctor. You know, like a family doctor, that’s what mine’s like. He is lovely, but initially when I was first going to him, I think one of the fears in my mind was but, it’s just me and him in there. And it’s a bit weird but you can, they actually ask you if you want to get a nurse in. And um, so if that is one of your fears then you know that is something that you can get. You can actually get a nurse to come into the room while you’re doing it. And they’ll just talk to you about your day and stuff, you know, just while, try and keep it all normal while they’re going down there and doing what they need to do. But it’s literally over in a few minutes isn’t it?

Sophie (29:13):

Yeah. And that’s the thing is, I was going to say it’s a bit of fannying around.

Carla (29:18):

I love that.

Sophie (29:22):

It’s a bit of uncomfortable, like feeling and stuff, but like you say, you can ask for a chaperone to come in or a female doctor. You like, there is so many things, that it’s better just to ask rather than just not go.

Carla (29:41):

Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And also what I would say that’s helped me when I was kind of, don’t get me wrong. I don’t enjoy going to them. It’s not something I say, Oh yes, I’m going to get my fairy checked out. I never think like that but. I do think to myself, right I’m going to reward myself afterwards and I’m going to buy myself a nice top or a nice takeaway or something afterwards thats a bit of a treat for going if you know what I mean?

Sophie (30:12):

That’s a. Yeah. That’s a good idea.

Carla (30:15):

Yeah. Yeah. And even if you might not want to, you could say to your friends that have been going on about it yeah here you are. Hold on. All, put a fiver in each. If I go to my smear test, then you can all buy me something. That’s what I would actually do that for my friend that had a fear about going. So that’s another idea. You could all put a bit of money in. If you’ve got a group of girls, every time someone has a smear, you could all put a little kitty together and then they get the money at the end for going .

Sophie (30:40):

That’s such a good idea. Or and I think about it. It’s like with anything, especially as us women and mums and we struggled to make the time for ourselves, do you know for our own health appointments for our own kind of self care.

Carla (30:56):

Yeah.

Sophie (30:56):

And even if at first.Granted I’m like self love, self care, queen.But even if at first you have to convince yourself to go because it’s, your health is important for your child’s health do you get what I mean that it’s important, that you are in good health for your child to be healthy.

Carla (31:16):

Absolutely.

Sophie (31:16):

Even if you have to convince yourself that way round to start with.

Carla (31:20):

yeah.

Sophie (31:21):

But to take that time out is the ultimate self care.

Carla (31:23):

Yeah. Yeah. Totally agree. Totally agree. It is and yeah. Whatever works to make you get to that appointment. Yeah. And, um, it’s just, as I said, it’s a very important appointment and it it’s just that thing. Then it’s off your mind for three years hopefully. And then, you know, you know, it’s just, it’s just doing it, isn’t it. It’s just going and actually thinking, right. This is it. I’m going to do it. I’m going to book in. And it really isn’t as bad as what you think.

Sophie (31:56):

Yeah. When you like hear it more like, and it’s great that we’re all like, I’m like literally pre-booking hair, nails everything. I’ve never even made that much time for hair ,nails and clothes before now. But I think when you lose it in lock down, but before all of that, as much as thats lovely, also first, get your smear in.

Carla (32:19):

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I am really passionate about this. In fact do you know what, I’m going to be really annoying to my doctor and I’m actually going to ring up, but I know they’ll say no. Because it’s been within three years, but I’m going to request another one. They won’t let me, but I am going to request another one because I just think after you’ve had so many abnormal ones then it makes you think like, I don’t want to wait another three years for another one. So anyone not going, just you know get that booked in and I’m going to ring my doctor and I’m just going to be like, please, please just look at my fairy. You know, just look at it one last time and then I’ll go three years. You know, it’s just a, it’s a long time to wait really. And. Once your seen to, as I said its done with. I wish they’d just do it on other things as well. Like what’s the age limit for a mammogram?

Sophie (33:12):

Well, I’m not sure.I’ll have a look. Cause that was older as well.

Carla (33:18):

Yeah. Well, yeah, it’s older, isn’t it? Because and bowel cancer as well. Another thing that young people get. That you know there is an age limit. I mean, it says here. Age from 50. So you only get a mammogram every three years from the age of 50 now why?

Sophie (33:40):

Yeah. And often they’ll say, Oh, well it costs too much money. Or obviously your risks increase and all of that. But I always think it’s like with any health campaign in it, it’s the prevention that actually saves the money then the cure.

Carla (33:55):

Yeah. Yeah. It is. It really is. I mean, I, I just think, yeah, yeah. You just need to get to those appointments. Anyone your given and we get it for free. So there’s absolutely no reason why not to. And literally is just a couple of minutes. And your done, and he’s probably, or she’s probably seen countless fairies that day. They’ve seen loads that day, they’ve see all sorts, everyone you can imagine, you know? So they won’t be looking at yours in detail or anything like that. They’d literally put something in. Get a swab. Send it off. And that is it.

Sophie (34:33):

Yeah. And it’s not the same, but when I, so I teach belly dance as well as all the mental health stuff. And when you teach dance, you’re literally looking at the anatomy and you’re looking at the move. So people go, Oh, but I don’t like my belly, I don’t like that. And that’s fine. But you literally not even focused on somebodies body shape or size. It’s one, you want them to feel good. But most of all put me them at ease, but you looking at the body. And, it’s so funny when you’re in a different setting that is not doesn’t hold all the weight that it normally holds to a lot of us women.

Carla (35:12):

Mm. Yeah.

Sophie (35:14):

Because they will have seen vaginas day in, day out. There’s nothing that would surprise them.

Carla (35:22):

Absolutely not. No, absolutely not. I totally agree with you. And it’s a lot of the time we’re our own worst critic. Um, and we think, that. You know, it’s like, I just still do it now. Like if I get a spot, which happens regularly. Like, on my chin, I have to go somewhere and be like, have you seen this? Have you seen this? Have you seen this? Look at this spot, look at this one, tell everyone about it before they notice it. And think it, do you know what I mean? I’m one of those people, are you, one of those people or not?

Sophie (35:53):

Yeah. I don’t do it so much now. Just maybe it’s just because I’m on my own. It’s just the kids that get it.

Carla (36:01):

Yeah well we’re in lockdown you can’t help it.

Sophie (36:04):

They remind me I have got something on me. Like you look crazy your makeup today or , but I know what you mean. Normally I would be like, Oh, you focus on those things that you’re uncomfortable with do’t you.

Carla (36:19):

You do. And it’s like, if you tell everyone else about them first, then it makes it okay. Like it’s all right. I know. You’re not thinking you can think it now because I told you to think it, you know, like instead of them, like looking and thinking, Oh my God, that needs squeezing or something like that. You know, I’ve already told them. I know, I know it does. I’m just waiting till tonight. When I have got a bit time to myself and I can really enjoy it.

Sophie (36:43):

It’s as good as masturbation when you can squeeze a spot.

Carla (36:47):

Oh, do you know? I don’t know. What’s better. I don’t know whats better, to be honest with you. I love squeezing a good spot, but you know what? Off subject here. The best ones are the ones that you don’t actually think, look like they need to go squeeze the ones that look like they need a good squeeze are very disappointing.

Sophie (37:07):

Yeah. Um, I mean, (inaudible)

Carla (37:12):

Only, only recently, like Danny now, like we’ve reached a new form of low in this lockdown. You know, like I’m like, I have i got one on my back? Will, you get it? Will, you get it? And he does them. But you don’t get the same satisfaction. Do you, when you do it yourself. Yeah. Anyway, we’ve gone completely off subject here, but um, yeah, no, I do. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve loved today’s chat Sophie.

Sophie (37:40):

Thank you as well for sharing. Cause I think it’s important because you just hear, I think people silence people as well too often to say, well, it’ll be fine.

Carla (37:50):

Yeah.

Sophie (37:51):

It’s important to also know that there are some next steps as well. And obviously other people have other experiences and beyond that as well. And it’s just important to talk about all the different possibilities. The likelihood is it will be fine. But it’s also there’s things that can be done if it’s not.

Carla (38:11):

Exactly. And that’s why these smear tests are great because they pick things up so you’ve been to your last three year one. And hopefully by the next one, you know, if there was anything you were at a stage that they can still do something about it. But you know, if you leave it, you know, a lot longer, that’s when you worry more, because then you almost like, could there be something, but it takes a long time for these things to develop and it’s very unlikely and most people don’t have something, you know what I mean? But it is so worth just going and getting those checks because why shouldn’t we, you know, the NHS is there to be used so we should absolutely go for it.

Sophie (38:55):

Yeah, definitely.

Carla (38:57):

So yes. Well thank you for being my guest today Sophie. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the chat. And yeah, we’ll, we’ll get raising awareness, um, around smear test and would love to hear your feedback if you’ve booked in after listening to this and where you’re up to on your smear tests and let’s make it an open discussion that people can actually talk about and raise awareness, like let’s celebrate, going to smear tests and you know, high five each other when we go. Let’s tell people and spread the word and get it out there, make it a cool thing to do.

Sophie (39:33):

Yeah, definitely, do, you know what we need to do Carla we’ll have to create some cards between us, some nice sexy cards. Like I’ve been to my smear.

Carla (39:45):

Yeah. Yeah. We should, shouldn’t we?. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been to my smear. Is smear? I don’t know. Where did the word smear come from?

Sophie (39:54):

Well, no, I’m not sure.

Carla (39:56):

I wonder why.

Sophie (39:58):

Yeah.

Carla (39:59):

Cause it’s cervical screening. Isn’t it? Technically, but people say smear, so yeah. I think people, yeah. I suppose smear the way I think of it as it’s just a quick smear done. Smear. Just a you know, a smear on the window.

Sophie (40:15):

Now I just have images of people, you know, smearing up against a window.

Carla (40:25):

I don’t know where it’s come from, but anyhow, again, I could talk all day and you’re probably thinking, shut the hell up now I’m going to book my smear. And if you do, that is amazing. If you don’t, you need to, you need to listen to this again and book it because if I hadn’t have gone to mine or Sophie, hadn’t gone to hers, it could be a completely different story now. So very important. Get those smear tests booked. And Sophie I will talk to you soon. Yeah. Can you also share where people can find your smear test and I’ll put that link in the show notes and also what you do and where people can find you as well for the end of this episode Soph.

Sophie (41:03):

Yeah. So I talk a lot about holistic health wellbeing, mental health. But also, basically for other women who don’t fit the norm, who are ambitious, but have come from challenging circumstances and like strive to be their best self. So you can find me @mammamei on YouTube and www.mammamei.co.uk website and @mammameiblog on social media.

Carla (41:29):

Amazing. Amazing. And we’ll put all those links in the show notes for you all. And um, until next time I hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you Sophie.

Sophie (41:43):

Thank you.

Carla (41:48):

Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of 50 shades of motherhood. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I hope you guys did too. If you are enjoying the podcast so far, which I really hope you are. And if you’ve got this far, why are you still listening? If you don’t? But, I would absolutely love you to subscribe and leave me a little rating. It means the world to me, and also helps me out massively, especially when I go to Danny and tell him that I’m going to be doing series two fingers crossed. So I look forward to speaking to you next week and keep an eye on the Facebook page and Instagram. So you know who the next guest is. You will absolutely love it. I know it

Carla (42:35):

This podcast is sponsored by My Bump 2 Baby Family Protection and Legal Directory. Being a parent is such a minefield. It’s so difficult deciding who to select when it comes to financial advice or family law solicitors. My Bump 2 Baby works with one trusted financial advisor and one trusted family law, solicitor in each town throughout the whole of the UK to find your nearest advisor or family law, solicitor, head over to www.mybump2baby.com/familyprotectionlegal.