They steal the health of our babies by ruining our births and breastfeeding and want to sell it back to us via artificial means. No thanks.
Women are suffering the loss of their births and breastfeeding journeys at every turn. The very process by which our baby’s health foundation is laid down.
We are told it doesn’t matter, the bare minimum of a live baby being enough.
Women, we deserve to birth our babies well, nourish them from our bodies, use the intricate biology that has adapted perfectly.
Instead, we are robbed of this and expected to rejoice at the artificial health in bottles and vials handed to us by the very systems that have denied us our most basic of rights.
Women take it back; know you have everything in you that you need. You and your family’s health is your right.
How many times does it need to be said? It was designed this way.
The industrialised maternity system isn’t set up to help women, it’s here to control.
The thing we can do as birth workers is get comfortable with the idea that it can’t be fixed.
There’s no way to fix it. They do what they want, implement what they want, restrict how they want, and everyone knows you will only avoid what they serve up if you are lucky.
Planning and learning can help, but you are still relying on things to line up just so, and we should stop trying to convince women otherwise.
Women are smart, they can choose for themselves, when they know the reality of what their decision-making might mean.
If you want to start working with women in a different way, in responsibility, and with integrity, reach out to me to see what sort of conversations you need to be having to help women to see the truth of what is available to them.
Society tells us that birth is dangerous and we must hand it over to the place and people that know best - to the hospital and its medical practitioners.
The irony of this of course is that in hospital unnecessary and harmful practices are employed at every turn. The majority of women are coerced into induction or the speeding up of their labour, which in turn removes the safety of our physiology and creates a dangerous environment where babies find it more difficult to cope and women are at higher risk of complications.
And then it is from this space that measures are used to ensure survival.
Medical personal neither share these risks prior nor own up to causing the issues later, but they do take credit for women and babies coming out of birth alive. In fact, this is their base line, they do not consider the holistic wellbeing of the dyad.
Women who make decisions in a different way are the ones who are seen as dangerous.
These systems are old and tired, and women are seeing the truth in greater numbers. Women know these systems cause harm and are choosing something else for themselves.
What are you choosing? If you want help to figure it out, come and have a chat with me.
Some women choose an unassisted or ‘wild’ pregnancy intentionally from the beginning. Others decide at some stage through their pregnancy to forego industrialised antenatal care and to take full and radical responsibility for their wellbeing and the decisions about how they will honour this season.
Just like freebirth, wild pregnancy is becoming more common as women seek to be in control of how they spend this honoured time. Women are tired of the pressure to be squeezed into a box and undergo procedures and tests often not proven in safety, not shown to improve outcomes, and yet used routinely and indiscriminately, pushed onto them with bullying, threats and coercion. All of this to satisfy someone else’s fears and priming a woman to be compliant for her upcoming birth.
Women have discovered there is another way, a way that has always existed. A way that some women are choosing to claim.
Now having witnessed several women who have chosen to take care of their own pregnancies, the thing that I notice is their serenity and more so the absence of fear and anxiety. There is something very special seeing a woman in charge of her body, her birth and her journey to motherhood. More connected, more confident and more knowing about what is right for her. Not looking outside of herself for answers, but within.
Birthing where and with whom you want should be your legal right. Unfortunately if your plan is to birth at home, who you choose to have attend your birth has become restricted by ever increasing government requirements for midwives and in the case of hospital offered homebirth programs, many of the rules for access have made personal choice very limited.
This leaves the growing-in-popularity option of unassisted birth, also known as freebirth.
In the past, freebirth was seen by most as a fringe activity chosen by few. But with the ever-growing restriction of midwifery attended homebirth, the decision for women to freebirth has increased dramatically. The interesting thing to note is, that freebirth is seemingly now being treated by women as a choice in its own right.
Women are no longer just choosing it because they can’t have a midwife at their birth, freebirth is being chosen because women feel that they can. Birthing autonomously is fast becoming a normalised birth option for many women. With access to online social networks and well-established resources, women are finding a community to support their desires to birth how they want.
Despite threats to many women, such as being told freebirth is illegal or threats of being reported, this choice isn’t lessening in popularity. Access to independent care - care that holds women and their decision-making at the centre - isn’t going to increase, so for women who want to take full responsibility for their births, then this is the birth they are choosing.
And whilst women are receiving threats, so too are many non-medical birth attendants. They are warned off from attending freebirth, however those of us who believe women make wise decisions for themselves and are able to discern the difference between a midwife and a non-medical birth worker, we show up. We smile, we sit and we celebrate women’s choice, because it is always theirs to make.
Are you ready to step into the space of freebirthing your baby but don't know where to start? Take the first steps to freebirth to see how you can clear the way and join a community of women who have already done this work and birthed their babies exactly as they wanted. Just like you can.
What do I do and why is it different?
What do I mean when I say I help women discover how to have births that are aligned with their needs?
We’ve never had more access to information than right now. If you want to learn about what happens during birth, you can find it. If you want to know what it looks like, you can literally watch live-stream births. If you want to know what positions you should do in pregnancy and/or birth to move baby into a certain position, you can find that too. If you need to ask a question, there are thousands and thousands of online groups.
But in this amazingness of abundant information, comes a unique challenge. How do you figure out what it is you personally need?
Everyone has an opinion. I am constantly astonished (although I probably shouldn’t be) by the confidence with which other people tell a woman what she should choose.
And here lies the difference with me.
I don’t think you SHOULD do anything. Whilst I do have an abundance of birth knowledge and I am of course happy to share that with you, the work I do with my clients means I’m first listening to what they want for themselves. And all too frequently I hear of the barriers that they face (often times self-erected ones) to get what they want. Our work together is about discovering how everything they hear and know is swirling in their heads clouding their pathway forward. Maybe they also need to learn something they didn’t even know they were missing. This work enables them to really see clearly which decisions they are comfortable with and if they are ready to delve further to sit in a place of discomfort in order to grow to make decisions that actually feel ultimately better and more aligned. Decisions for who they want to be and what they want their birth to look like.
This is the process of deep preparation that creates clarity, confidence and an alignment that will guide the absolute best decision-making for your birth.
The process works, the results are life-changing.
Why is navigating the system so hard?
Are our care-providers offering us options, sharing their knowledge and expertise in an unbiased way and accepting our responses as the final word? They should be, right?
Most of the time women tell me they dread their appointments. They know they are going to face a range of tactics to convince them to agree to certain interventions or procedures. Ones they want to say no to but are frightened they will agree to.
In online groups I hear over and over how you can just say no, but this is ignoring the complexity of power dynamics, our upbringings around authority figures and the added subtle message that to say no makes us selfish and uncaring of our babies.
Whilst undoubtedly most care-providers genuinely believe they are providing the safest care to women and babies they are overlooking the most vital of factors – they are ignoring women, the person who cares THE MOST about their baby.
It seems increasingly impossible to maintain this status quo – care-providers not listening and women unwillingly handing over their fundamental rights in birth.
What can we do? Can we change the way we respond to conversations; do we walk away from these conversations all together – as an ever-increasing volume of women are choosing to do?
I don’t have the answer for you – because the thing I know is each woman is on her own journey to discover what she needs.
And the other thing I know is that immense shifts are possible when women are asked the right questions, when they are placed at the centre of the conversation, when we trust them to make all the best decisions.
It’s time to change, and the system isn’t doing the changing, so it’s down to you. What are you prepared to choose, what are you going to do, to make sure this birth is exactly what you need it to be?
If this makes you think YES! If this is what you know you are ready for. If this is what you know you need to make your birth your own, then let’s talk.
Do you know yet what you want, what you’ll choose? Can you feel the certainty? Do you trust yourself and the process?
Is that space inside, deep in your gut, telling you that you can let go now? That you’ve worked through your worries, released them. In the moment do you trust that you’ll know what to choose no matter what and it will be exactly right for that moment?
Do you know that even in the hardest situation, the toughest process, you’ll be able to keep going?
And when it’s over and you look back, will you know you trusted yourself and feel good about it?
If you don't, what's stopping you?
Not long after I watched the blue line appear on my pregnancy test, and only a day after hanging out the washing and holding a peg in my mouth which weirdly and immediately made me gag, I excitedly and urgently rang the office of my sister’s obstetrician. Desperate for an appointment, I wanted to ensure I didn’t miss out on her care.
The thing is, whilst I did get in, I made a HUGE mistake.
I began attending appointments where I was weighed, had confusing conversations about my wee, was told which test I’d need to take next, and shown the door.
As the months went by, I enjoyed researching more about the type of birth I wanted. I was excited and frankly blown away by the intricate cocktail of hormones our body produces in labour – not only to birth our baby, but to feel good whilst doing it. Suddenly I wasn’t scared anymore, and I looked forward to my birth. Awesome right?!
I’d also learned how interventions could interrupt this delicate balance of hormones, so I really wanted to talk to my care-provider about how to help me avoid those. But at each appointment there never seemed an opportunity or an opening to begin the conversation.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had been told I would meet the midwife who worked with my obstetrician. I hoped this would be the time where what I wanted during my labour would be discussed, rather than with my busy obstetrician who had, so far, shown no interest.
Finally, on the day of my midwife appointment, I clutched the birth plan I had written and made my way into the office. I waited for the invitation to discuss my needs. It didn’t come. After a confusing discussion about wanting to look at my nipples to see if I would be able to breastfeed (hint: that’s not a thing, folks), I tentatively asked the midwife if she wanted to see my birth plan. She threw her head back and laughed. Feeling shocked, I didn’t say anything more. She made me feel so small.
From this point on, I realised that this model of care was not on the same page as I was. I didn’t feel cared for, listened to – in fact I didn’t feel like I mattered at all.
Now, after more than ten years of working with women, mentoring them through their pregnancies and births, I know that one of the most critical things that impacts a woman’s birth is the one thing I wish I’d known before I chose my care-provider.
And that one thing is this: Each care-provider (obstetrician, midwife, doctor) has their own philosophy and thoughts around birth – your birth. And these philosophies differ from provider to provider. I wish I’d known that my obstetrician would care more about what they wanted for my birth than what I did.
So, I want to share with you, before you choose your obstetrician or midwife, consider first the birth you want to have. Ask yourself what you want – what is important to you? Then, and only then, will you be able to choose the person to best support you, so you can emerge from your birth feeling like it went the way you wanted, in a way that made you feel heard and valued.
I wish I could tell you that I had a magical a-ha moment, where I ran from the unfriendly, uncaring doctor and her nipple-checking midwife, into the kind and gentle arms of someone who wanted to support the kind of birth I was looking for. But I didn’t. I truly thought I could make it work. But, as I had suspected, the birth that I wanted was never further away than during those hours I worked so hard to bring my baby to me in an unsupportive environment.
So please know, you and your birth matter. You have the opportunity to find out what you want, and find someone who wants that for you.
And when I see this – women making choices aligned with their needs – it really is amazing. I smile, because I know I learned the answer. And now I get to share it.
Often, from the stories we hear or from our own previous birth experiences, it feels like we can never control the outcomes of a birth. It can feel like we should just go with the flow, follow the guidance and influences of our care providers or the people around us.
But there is another way.
Birth most definitely takes its own path. And it’s true that at times the outcome can be an unwelcome one. But I know that in cases like this - where birth takes a turn you didn't expect or want - it is still entirely possible to feel okay, even confident. Feeling heard, understanding information, taking action (or not) in your own time when possible – these things can alter the way that you ultimately feel about your whole birth experience, for the better.
When you gain knowledge about your body and birth, when you delve deep within yourself, and when you uncover a clarity about how you make decisions - all this self-discovery can ultimately lead to a birth that feels so much more aligned to you. A birth that honours what is important to you.
And these feelings that I see emerge, as women and their families step into a space that is so different than where they started?
This is a magnificent sight to behold.
The woman poised - ready, willing, open and calm – waiting for her birth to begin.
Can you imagine it? Do you want it?
If you do, now is the time, take the first step, you won’t be disappointed where it takes you.