two women with their arm around each other looking at a field of flowers
Doulas, News, Uncategorized

Monday Mailout 💌

Welcome to the sisterhood

Another week has flown by but it’s somehow STILL January! We’re starting to wonder if February will ever come. Anyway here’s your weekly reminder to take some time out for you, grab a brew and get cosy for our Monday Mailout.

What we’ve been up to

This was a tough week for Elle, as she had some laptop issues and had to work all week from her phone. Lori had a tricky week balancing personal life and doula life. But overall we had an exciting week as we officially welcomed the wonderful Amy into GMD CIC!

We had been hoping for this for a while, and we are so pleased to be able to officially announce the news. You can read all about Amy here. Welcome to the sisterhood Amy, we are so thrilled (and very lucky!) to have you onboard.

We were also so happy to have been able to shared the first part of the lovely Jess’ birth story. Head here to have a read.

Quick fire questions for the doulas:

Late night snack of the week?
E: Plain white rice.
L: Vegan cheese and Quorn ham on buttered crackers.
A: I quite often make mash late at night if I can’t sleep.
Weirdest dream of the week?
A: I dreamt that I had been underwear shopping and an old lady mugged me, stole my underwear and walked off… that was pretty weird 😂
L: I was a survivor in a zombie apocalypse and I was having to relocate and lead a group to move house. It was pretty intense and scary! 
E: I went to an amusement park for orphaned goats, and a penguin bit me.
crocheted pixi hatWhat have you been making this week?
L: A glittery rainbow pixie hat for a mystery toddler.
A: I baked a cake last week – does that count? I haven’t had much downtime for making things recently but I’d like to get back to sewing bunting.
E: I got a bit obsessed with making baby bonnets. I’m over it now.
Favourite thing about being on call?
L: I’m extra kind to myself when I’m on call, and it’s easier to make sure I get enough rest and me time, and that I’m well nourished.
And it’s exciting to know that a woman is going to bring new life into the world.
E: I like not knowing where the day is going to take me. It can be a boring morning then all of a sudden I’m off to do the best job in the world!
A: I like the reminder to take care of myself so that I can be full of energy for the client when the time comes. So it’s a great excuse to have a bubble bath or a lazy day.

What’s coming up?

We have three groups this week.
Manchester Birth Worker Circle is tomorrow (Tuesday afternoon) for anyone supporting women and families in the childbearing year. There are loads of birth workers in Manchester, but there’s no real community. We want there to be, so we started this group. It’s for practical support around starting or running a business, as well as emotional support for challenging times. It’s a great networking opportunity too – we know it can be hard to tell others about what we do, so come practise with us in a vegan dessert parlour!

Women Reclaiming Birth
This group is a safe and supportive circle for women to get together and explore their autonomous choices in conception, pregnancy, birth and beyond.
We hold space for questions, stories, thoughts about the monthly theme and anything else that comes up for each of us.
Whether you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or have a story to share, you are more than welcome to join us. Little ones are very welcome as always.
This Thursday, the Salutation Inn.

Wild Mothering Circle
On Friday afternoons (1.30 – 3) we gather in circle as wild women, in the Living Room at Home Cafe in Didsbury.
The group is so named because we try to recreate a little of the magic of red tents, or women’s circles, during the day, in a child-friendly environment.
We show up as we are, and share whatever is going on for us. We listen to one another, we nurture each other, and we hold space for one another.

How can you help at the minute?

National Storytelling Week is coming up, so we want to feature womens’ stories. They don’t need to be related to giving birth, although birth stories are always good to share. They can be about any aspect of womanhood and in any format. Write us anything you’re happy to be featured on our Facebook, website, and in a future roundup and get in touch if you would be interested in recording a podcast with us!

We hope you have a wonderful week.

Amy, Elle & Lori x

man and women with newborn baby in the bath
Birth, Birth Story, Doulas, Uncategorized

A healing second birth – Part 1

Our recent Wonder Woman was the lovely Jess, wild mother to Luca and Eden. We are lucky enough to be able to share her journey, from a traumatic first birth to the beautiful, healing home birth she had with her littlest one Eden.

Eden’s birth story Part 1:

During Eden’s pregnancy I knew I needed to work through many fears and unanswered questions from my first birth experience if I was going to birth in a way that felt positive and empowering this time round.

Woman with her toddler and a scan pictureI’d wanted a water birth with minimal intervention with my first born, but in the end he was pulled from me with no time for any pain relief. I lay on my back, pain like I’d never known, under bright lights with lots of people watching, I felt helpless and powerless. I tore awfully and had to leave my tiny newborn and go straight to theatre for 3 hours afterwards. Yes I know others have traumatic births and yes I did have a healthy baby, but I’m not ashamed to say it broke me. I felt horrendous. Cheated. Angry. Grief stricken. Violated. Unheard. Except I wasn’t supposed to feel this way. I was supposed to feel lucky, relieved and ecstatic that my baby was safely here and grateful to the doctors that had helped me. People told me how fortunate it was that I hadn’t had the home birth I’d been thinking about having. “Imagine if the doctors weren’t there to help”, they would say. At the time I kind of agreed with them, but I also had this niggling feeling that things could have been different somehow if someone had truly believed in me and if I had truly believed in myself, but I didn’t quite understand what that meant. My body felt like it’d been run over by a train. My mind raced with thoughts of inadequacy; I’d needed medical intervention to get pregnant (IVF) and now medical help to birth my own baby! How the hell was I now expected to trust myself to know how to mother?!

I know that some people reading this may feel triggered by what I’m saying. You may feel annoyed towards me for feeling this way because you had it worse or you wish you had the privilege of birthing a child or you feel differently – maybe you did feel completely supported by your doctors or that you’d never dream of birthing outside of hospital because you see it as a risk. Know that I respect you and I would never judge a woman by her decisions or feelings. I understand these are my own personal feelings and everyone is different. I would say that if any of my birth story does bring up a strong emotional reaction for you, that it might be worthwhile talking it through with someone. Feel free to PM me. Although I’m not trained I can signpost you in the right direction for support.

Anyway it was a long road of acceptance after Luca’s birth. Talking about it with people who understood helped so much. Also breastfeeding, being able to do something with my body to nurture him helped so much.

toddler holding a babyWhen I fell pregnant again, naturally this time, I knew I could never birth like that again. I thought about an elective c-section but it didn’t fit right. So I talked some more, I rehashed Luca’s birth again. I re-examined every part of it, including the lead up to it. More uncomfortably I looked at the responsibility I held in the events that took place. I studied undisturbed birth and accepted some truths about birth in it’s essence. I sat with lots of fears and what ifs. It took a long while to weed out what I truly needed to birth in power. In the end I came to accept my highest need was to be surrounded by those that knew me and trusted me and trusted birth as a process. I’m not sure if I ever fully voiced it out loud but I came to realise that in my current circumstances I felt most in alignment and empowered when I thought about birthing on my own,
and as it turns out that’s exactly what ended up happening!

To be continued…

Stay tuned for the next part of Jess’ amazing birth story! In the meantime you can find her on Instagram @these_adventures_of_ours.

Doulas Elle and Lauren
Doulas, News, Uncategorized

Saturday Scroll – an update on our year so far

Doulas Elle and Lauren

Hello lovely supporters!

Following some feedback we’ve decided to give our supporters more of an insight into what we do, keep you up to date with community events, and offer a glimpse into our free time. We’ll also let you know what you can do to help us and how to get involved.

So here’s our Saturday Scroll. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

Our working year only started this week, after nearly a month off. We got straight into it with a wonderfully productive meeting with Lucy Green, a champion of ours and a whizz at business. We highly recommend her whether you’re starting out, stuck, or wanting to expand. If you join her Facebook group you’ll be offered a free video chat so you can see whether working together is the right move for you.

Birth doulaing will always be at the heart of what we do, but we can also take those skills and apply them in other situations, to help more women to feel heard and supported. You asked, we listened – introducing our newest service, With Women!

If you’d like to talk to us about this (or anything at all) you can email or message us on Facebook. Being able to offer this, with funding where possible, takes us one step closer to our vision of the village we all need.

We are growing! Bit early for deets, but in order to support more women we need more doulas with the GMD CIC ethos, so watch out for more news in future round ups.

Aside from that, we’ve just been playing catch up after the Christmas break, at the same time as completely rejigging the way we work! You can expect lots more from us this year.

Quick fire questions for the doulas:

What are you watching at the moment?
E: My laptop is on its last legs but I’m looking forward to watching Grace and Frankie with Lori at the weekend.
L: The Crown, I’m learning so much about history! You season two, which is even better than the first, and Power.
What are you listening to?
L: I’m discovering Billie Eilish, but the Frozen 2 soundtrack is pretty much on repeat round here.
E: I’m enjoying the quiet, but also missing Christmas songs a bit.
What have you been up to this week apart from work?
L: Doodling in my bullet journal, and baking vegan banana muffins.
E: My tax return 🙁

Vegan banana muffins
What’s on your mind?
E: How to support women facing or experiencing baby loss. This article got me thinking more about the reasons women get PTSD following a loss, and what happens when we aren’t allowed to grieve.
L: Amy’s latest blog. It made me think about how valuable doula support is in so many areas of a woman’s life.
What are you feeling grateful for?
L: Sisterhood and the women who help me to keep going on hard days.
E: Lori’s muffins.

What’s coming up?

The Wild Mothering Circle meets every Friday. We haven’t settled on a topic (or location!) for the next one yet, but we’re hoping for it to be more of a women’s circle than we can usually achieve in the cafe where we normally meet. It’s closed this Friday so we’re having to get creative – join the group for news, and to connect with other women.

Local birth worker Natalie Qureshi just told us about an event in February for new parents about their postnatal experiences, we’ll let you know more details as we get them.

What’s going on in your world, and in your communities? Tell us, especially if you want them sharing

How can you help at the minute?

Yesterday Elle went into one of the Co-ops we’re featured in and discovered we are way behind the two other local causes, so we would love your support with raising that number!

If you’re a Co-op member just login to your account (or give them a call) and select us as your nominated cause to automatically contribute to our work whenever you shop there, at no extra cost to you. If you aren’t a member it’s really easy to join.

choose us as your co-op local cause

We still have funding for women in Greater Manchester who are experiencing, or who are at risk of, birth trauma. If this sounds like someone you know please pass along our details. We work with women in a few different ways, so you don’t need to mention any particular service. We can start things off with a Skype call or a face-to-face chat and take things from there.

Finally, we’d love to hear from you. If there are events you’d like us to share, or there’s a topic you’d like us to shine a light on let us know. Please tell us how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to.

elle
and Elle
Lori
Lori