How a ‘lifeless’ baby and an unconscious student midwife led me on a journey to delivering over 1,000 babies and empowering women all over the world…

The first birthing experience I had was beautifully surreal.

My neighbour, pregnant with her fourth child, had gone into labour and had no one to support her, so I became her companion. Upon arrival at the hospital senior midwives misjudged how far along she was and left us with a student midwife.

Not long after, the mother told me that she felt like she needed to push. My instinct told me to tell her that she should listen to her body and she did.

Her legs were covered with a sheet so it was not possible to know how she was getting along. That is, until I asked the midwife to check. Colour drained from the midwife’s face as she discovered a ‘lifeless’ baby under the sheet. In her panic to get help, she slipped and knocked herself out on a sink, leaving myself and the mother in the room staring at each other in amazement and shock. Seconds later the baby began crying, i wrapped the baby in a sheet and handed him to his mother and immediately, he was breastfeeding. This lead to a heavy footfall of staff rushing in to be shocked at the scene before them. This was my first birth experience.

That First Birth Experience convinced me that maybe I am born for this…

My neighbour shared the story of her experience with other women and this led to a rise in requests by pregnant women for my companionship during pregnancy and childbirth. From 1993 to 2017 I worked as a birth companion, who are now call doulas. As I was not a qualified midwife, there were limitations to what I could do as a birth companion. It has been a wonder to see babies born in homes, cars, hospital corridors, caravans, boats and even lifts!

As my reputation grew so did the requests for my support. It was not long before I realised there was a gap in the market for doulas. I became a supporter to hundreds of women/mothers across London, a mentor to other women who wanted to be doulas. And help women across London feel more secure but…

Then it occurred to me that Being Present at the Birth Alone Wasn’t Enough…

The more I helped women during childbirth the more apparent it became to me that only being present during childbirth was not adequate enough to ensure the peace of mind a mother needs, so I started studying about antenatal and postnatal care and began empowering mothers to think about the pregnancies they want to have and helped them to make these goals realities. By 2001, I had delivered or been at the births of over 800 babies.

I went to university in 2001 to consolidate my experienced based knowledge with theoretical knowledge and in 2004, received a degree in Midwifery. Would you believe that I was offering my services for FREE up until 2004?

Becoming a midwife meant I could do more for pregnant women…but also more for women

After becoming a qualified midwife, I began offering my services to private clients much like how I was before my qualification but now I charged.

I offered bespoke, personalised full suite services to clients from 1:1 antenatal support to postnatal and breastfeeding support.

I volunteered to work in Holloway prisons with pregnant inmates ensuring that they could have as best a childbirth experience as possible given their surroundings. This experience enlightened me to the impact previous trauma can have on a pregnant woman and I set out to find out what I could do to help these women overcome their trauma and increase their chances of a positive and joyful childbirth experience.

The more I experienced as a midwife, the more I realised the different ways women are conditioned to fear and worry about things they shouldn’t be, in birth and female life.

I began setting out to challenge these attitudes within the women I worked with…

I learned that Pregnancy is about more than a destination, it is about the Journey…

As I became more connected with my clients I was exposed to deeper issues which were impacting how expectant mothers enjoyed their pregnancy. I realised that if a mother wasn’t enjoying the journey of pregnancy it could have a negative effect on both her and the child. So, I studied Psychotherapy, which I completed in 2016, to help me get into the minds of mothers and release them of previous trauma that could potentially lead to the experience of new traumas through childbirth. I started to focus on improving the mindset of expectant mothers as I strongly believe an improved mental state results in improved emotional and physical states.

 

My Journey has led me to not only empowering expectant mothers but also empowering women from all walks of life…

Becoming a psychotherapist opened up a new pathway for me to help empower a marginalised group of women in the pregnancy industry: VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) mothers. There are a lot of myths and stigmas surrounding VBAC and many of these can cause expectant VBAC mothers to fear or doubt their ability to have a successful VBAC birth.

I have been actively challenging these stigmas through my podcast ‘Pregnancy without Fear’.

I with the creation of IWILLVBAC T-shirts and the VBAC Warriors network, I am setting myself at the forefront of a change that I feel is necessary for women all over the world.

How will YOU be part of my story?