Wowee!!! In January, I was nominated as a #maternityleader for the work I do to help birthing women.
High praise indeed!
It was such a lovely surprise when this lovely video popped up on my facebook feed!
I have to thank Anna Byrom (Senior Midwifery Lecturer at UCLAN and Editor of The Practicing Midwife) for nominating me.
I’m a leader because I speak on behalf of birthing women everywhere and risk getting my head chopped off by saying things that need to be said (usually in rhyme).
And I’m vulnerable because I sometimes sit there and think what am I doing? Who cares anyway? Do I care more about other women’s experiences than they do? But I know what I do makes a difference. I speak top down and bottom up. I speak at conferences to the people making the policies about how women need to be listened to and I speak to, educate and support birthing women and their partners. It is this approach that’s going to make the difference. It’s no good educating mothers unless the culture of birth changes too.
How I Help Birthing Women
My main aim in life right now is helping birthing women have better experiences and I do this in several ways:
- I teach KG Hypnobirthing (KGH) in Manchester (a full antenatal education programme helping women to stay relaxed and in control when they are birthing their babies)
- I’m a KGH Trainer (on the KGH training team training midwives, obstetricians, hypnotherapists, yoga teachers and other birth workers how to teach and implement KGH)
- I’m a doula (a professional birth partner) so I support women and their partners to have the best birth possible by preparing them for birth using KGH and actually being at the birth (I only have a few spaces per year for this service)
- And, as a spoken word artist, I use poetry and story to speak at birth conferences, festivals and open mic nights to get the message out to women themselves as well as birth workers as to how we can make birth better and safer for women, their partners and babies.
This is what my work is all about. I love meeting new people and I get to make a difference from all angles.
Top down and bottom up.
There’s no point in women being informed about their birth rights, how to take control of their birthing environment and how to breathe so their bodies can birth most effectively if the locus of control is not within themselves. And this is why I LOVE not only teaching KGH to the women themselves but speaking to midwives and student midwives because they are the ones that can make the changes necessary for birth culture to change.
Individualised care is essential in order for women to start parenthood feeling strong and empowered; not a one size fits all approach.
And yet the conveyor belt of care attempts to fit us into neat little boxes.
“You’re either high risk or low risk; there’s no in-between.”
Making informed choices relies on us knowing what our options are as well as us having an understanding of the benefits and risks of all options.
Parents must have an adequate understanding of what ‘risk’ actually means when applied in the context of birthing their babies.
So if you are told the risk of x is doubled if you don’t do y, you would need to find out the absolute risk in order to make an informed decision, i.e. the actual figures. Is the risk doubled from 1/1000 to 2/1000? If so, the overall risk is low and you might want to consider the benefits of not doing said intervention.
If we change the word ‘risk’ to ‘chance’ it becomes less loaded and may help to inform choices in a better way.
So if you’re pregnant and need to make any decisions involving risk, try it! Try changing the word risk to chance and see how the different decisions you might make ‘feel.’
Preparing For Birth
Most women are completely unprepared for their babies birth. They just go with the flow. Not their own flow. That would be great! But the flow of the system which doesn’t always support the individual.
The system is strapped for cash.
Short on time.
High on paperwork.
There are some amazing midwives doing their best working long hours looking after many women in a system that needs more midwives.
And then, there are some midwives who care but just aren’t seeing the wood for the trees.
They say fish can’t see water.
And that’s how it is for the midwives who don’t understand that women are being co-erced into making decisions they wouldn’t otherwise have made.
And yet, when women are prepared and they are treated in a way that supports the fact they are in control of the decisions that are made,
Birth can be prepared for and you are more likely to stay in control if you’re well informed.
This means you can give birth beating your own drum as opposed to going with the flow of a maternity system designed to cater for the many not the few. Hark Jeremy Corbyn’s strapline!
I’ve had a tremendous year teaching KG Hypnobirthing (KGH) meeting amazing women who are forging their own birth path rather than getting swept up in a maternity system that favours efficiency over true personalised care.
I’ve loved meeting students and new teachers of KGH