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?
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.
I had a difficult birth experience.
It seems so long ago now, and in more ways than just time.
It wasn’t until months afterwards that I began to put all the pieces together, learning, unpacking, trying to understand why the outcomes of my baby’s birth did not make sense. It was afterwards when I faced the regret of not knowing, of not understanding and not exploring. Afterwards was when I wished I had known more.
And this is why I have developed into this particular type of doula, one who knows how it feels to have made unexamined choices. This is why my greatest wish for women isn’t a particular type of birth, but a birth you can feel is your own. Even if your birth takes twists and turns to a place that isn’t wanted, it can still be understood why you are there.
Helping women carve out a space for themselves to listen to their own voice - to explore and discover their own needs - has become an integral part of the work I do. When I was having my own baby I didn’t realise how noisy the world of waiting for birth was. I took it as normal that everyone would have opinions about what I should do and how I should do it. I surrounded myself with people who didn’t show me that my voice mattered. And that is so far from how it should be.
So I have found myself here as the years have passed, providing space for women to hear their own voices. These voices are wise, because deep down you know what you want. You might not know how to get there yet, but your voice is strong and loud - you are just waiting on all the noise to quieten so that you can be heard.
Each and every day, I’m walking beside women as they let out their voice and their desires. If you want help to tune into yours, send me a message so we can find the right pathway for you. You deserve it
Every time you show up, every time you think about the birth you want, every time you consider what might be holding you back and work towards releasing it, you are one step closer to a better birth than you were before.
This is your work – and every single bit you do towards making your birth the one you want, is a win.
It is worth it, it is success, it is beautiful. Keep showing up for the birth that you want, it counts. How are you showing up? How are you making it count?
For many of us we carry so much junk into our births. A lifetime of birth images shown on screen, an adult life of terrible birth stories from people we know and for some, our own previous traumatic birth experiences.
We are told so often that our body knows how to birth, and I believe this and I’ve seen this. But one thing I know, is for our body to know what to do in birth, first we need to ask our mind to move out of the way.
And how do we do this? It isn’t as hard as it sounds, but it might take time to understand.
And because we are all different, the way we do this will differ from woman to woman. It might be talking it through, identifying and examining our triggers and fears, and actively letting it go. It might be re-writing those old stories that our mind holds. It might be filling ourselves up with positive birth images and phrases. It might be a combination of these and more.
When our minds get out of the way, our bodies are free to birth the way they know how. This is possible, this is attainable, this is beautiful.
What have you done to process what has been going on in your mind to clear a path for your body to birth?
Need help with this? Send me a message to ask me how
Have you ever noticed how easily we judge ourselves? How when we are learning something new, especially as mothers, we are so quick to criticise ourselves and how we are going?
But, what if we were kind to ourselves? Learning takes time. What if we realised that we all make mistakes and that’s okay? What if we spent each day treating ourselves the same way we want our children to treat themselves. By being kind and caring to ourselves.
Things take time to learn as a new mother, and even as a not-so-new mother. We are often doing such hard work, drawing lines about how we want to parent differently than how we were parented ourselves, or how we might be doing things differently to other parents around us. Take the time to become who you need to, take the space to get it wrong sometimes, and go gently. We deserve it.
Your birth matters, but your hopes for your birth matter too. The planning, the preparation, the research you’ve done, all of it has been so important as you’ve unfolded your desires, moved through your fears, envisioned the way you will welcome your babe.
If the twists and turns of your birth brought you to a place you didn’t want to be, your feelings about that matter, just as your love for your baby matters and all the hopes, plans and preparation you did still matters so much.
Every little bit of work you did made a difference. Trust you did your best, trust you are wise and go gently on yourself as you mother your new babe. You matter.
Have you just found out you’re pregnant, but every time you think about birthing this baby your heart sinks?
Are you excited about the pregnancy, but terrified about giving birth?
If your previous birth was difficult or traumatic – and probably still fresh in your mind like it was yesterday – it isn’t uncommon to feel this way. Many women feel frightened about birthing again after a difficult experience. You might have so many questions: Will it be like last time? Should I just do the same thing again, with the same care-provider, and hope it will be better?
Or do I want something different?
Perhaps you push those thoughts away altogether because it is simply too frightening and overwhelming to contemplate. Maybe you haven’t even given yourself the space to think about your previous birth, because you’ve been urged so many times to be grateful for your baby.
The majority of women I work with have previously had unwelcome birth outcomes or traumatic experiences. They come to me because they decide that this time, they want something different. They want to discuss and understand what happened in their previous birth. For this pregnancy, they have chosen to seek knowledge, confidence and loving support. They want someone who understands that they both love their baby and feel disappointed about their birth. They want to know that if they ever feel like giving up, there will be someone there for them, reminding them they are worth it.
During your pregnancy, preparation and clarity takes work – but it isn’t work you have to do alone. It is done over time, and through conversations and sharing, questions and discussion, your understanding of your last birth and your desires and plans for your next one unfold naturally.
firstname.lastname@example.orgSo what might it feel like, to have a positive birth experience next time? Well, there’s no one right way; it is different for each woman. But one thing that is true of any woman who feels great about her birth is that she always felt that the choices were hers to make, no matter what happened – and that she was respected and believed in at all times. But not only that – by the end of her pregnancy, she also trusted and felt confident in her body:
“You helped me find healing around my previous experience, and a deep, intuitive level of trust in my own body and my baby to birth … you supported me to find my own strength so that I was never too afraid to go on.” – Heather
“It was from this position of knowledge, strength and determination that we were able to gently, calmly and beautifully bring our second born into our lives; a moment that we will treasure forever.” – Kay
When you tell me the story of your previous birth, I will listen. If you felt unsupported or scared, I believe you. When you want to know what options are available for you this time, I will talk about them with you. And if you are worried or afraid, I will comfort and support you.
If you have had a previously difficult birth and are pregnant again, and are ready to take the first step towards a better birth, get in touch and let’s talk about it.