Days of the week on wooden pegs
News, Uncategorized

Weekday read 📖

It’s definitely a weekday, but we can’t be more specific at this point! We hope you are coping, and that you know you can always reach out to us. We are only a text away.

What we’ve been up to

Amy has been extremely busy in the studio, fulfilling orders at Clara and Macy. They are Christmas-level busy, but without any of the prep that they usually do year round. 
As well as that she’s still running her Meetup group, and of course being a badass doula with us.

Lori has been doing lots of yoga and reading this week.
She’s “eating more biscuits than any human should”, her laundry basket is empty 🥳😱, and has dyed her kids hair (on purpose) and house (by accident).

A quote from the book 'Pushed' by Jennifer Block
From ‘Pushed’ by Jennifer Block

Elle is getting into the world of podcasts. Two of the stars of Scrubs have started a twice weekly podcast about making the show, and she’s lapping it up. Every episode is soon to be on All 4 – watch-along anyone?
Her unbuzzed hair is now comically long and is crocheting herself a hat.

It was our birthday this week! We had drinks, got frocked up and had a Zoom party. You can watch it here (it’s long and rambling!)


We are so proud to have been here for two years, responding to the needs of the community, growing as an organisation, and learning just how much we can do when we need to! We have developed new skills and new ways of working, and we hope we always will. 
Thank you for supporting us and building our village with us.

Quick questions for the doulas (by Ember)

What’s your favourite breakfast food?
L: Vegan fry up or leftover curry
E: Defo vegan fry up, but at the moment I’m on a health kick and it’s porridge and seeds with fruit every day.
A: Chocolate.

What are you watching in lockdown?
L: Killing Eve, Gangs of London and everything on Disney+
E: The Comeback (Lisa Kudrow is more talented than I ever knew!) and Devs.
A: Just finished Season 2 of Money Heist and it was AMAZING.

What do you like to sit on?
L: On the beach somewhere sunny ☀️ These days my armchair with my feet up will do.
E: Those therapy chairs where you can lean forward and rest your arms and legs. Don’t know what they’re called but they feel good!
A: The floor, usually!

What we’ve been working on

We have been busy busy busy! Enquiries have gone up over 65% since lockdown, and we are doing everything we can to meet the needs of local women. This means being even more flexible in our approach, and applying for lots more funding. It’s more important than ever that we are able to provide emotional support at low to no cost, as barriers to this are mounting.

This week we hosted the Manchester Birth Workers Circle, and have Women Reclaiming Birth coming up, as well as our weekly Wild Mothers Circle .

We have extended our funding deadline with Aviva, which you can donate to here. We are hoping this extra time will allow us to reach our target and unlock the donations we have received so far.

What’s coming up

We are excited for the release of Dr Jess Taylor’s new book, ‘Why Women are Blamed for Everything’:

‘Based on three years of doctoral research and ten years of practice with women and girls, Dr Jessica Taylor explores the many reasons we blame women for male violence committed against them. Written in her unique style and backed up by decades of evidence, this book exposes the powerful forces in society and individual psychology which compel us to blame women subjected to male violence.’

Every weekend we are taking it in turns to choose a different workout video. We set up our phones and put YouTube on another screen, to cheer each other on (and secretly laugh). The videos we are choosing from are free, and if you’d like to join us (cameras on or not!) you are most welcome. 11am Saturday we’ll be attempting this one and we’ll nudge on FB beforehand too. In previous weeks we’ve tried Zumba, and Bhangracise. What other suggestions do you have?

We are working on some new fundraising ideas and hope to have more news on that next week. In the meantime, you know where we are, and don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Much love and stay safe,

Elle, Amy &

fight sexism grafiti
News

Another Sunday Scroll 💌

Hello everyone! How are you? We hope that you’re taking every day as it comes and being kind to yourselves. We know that during lockdown it’s difficult to balance working from home, childcare and trying to have some time to yourself when your movement is limited. So if all you achieved today was getting dressed – you’re smashing it! And if you didn’t, that’s fine too – you had a PJ day and we hope you loved every second of it.

What we’ve been up to

Elle got the last bag of flour in Aldi today after the shelves being empty for weeks, and Rosie just ate the whole thing! (Rosie is one of Elle’s dogs, in case you’re a newcomer)

Lori has been busy! She went to an amazing birth last week, and she and Amy have been doing some postnatal visits. Today she took her boys for a picnic at wood school where they are able to book in slots to hang out in nature whilst nobody else is there – such a good idea.

Amy got wolf-whistled at this morning and wrote an angry blog post about it. After calming down, she plucked up the courage to turn her van around in her little car park for the first time since the day she bought it! She’s super proud of herself.

Quick questions for the doulas

Have you ever slept outside? Where/why?
E: Sleeping outside is the best. I’ve slept outside in the desert, the forest, and once, on a roof.
L: Does sleeping in a tent count? I like my home comforts… I’ve been glamping in Norfolk and Ormskirk!
A: I love sleeping outside, my two favourite times: in a hammock by a lake in Vietnam, and on a brownie camp a few years ago (as a leader, not a brownie) we slept on mattresses that we dragged outside!

What’s the most recent thing you bought online?
L: An embroidery hoop kit. I’m going to journal 2020 in stitches!
A: Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez – I’m enjoying it so far!
E: Dog treats. I have to give my dogs a treat for having a wee outside before I go to bed, or they won’t do it. They have me well trained.

If you were to get a(nother) tattoo, what would it be and where on your body?
A: I have a design of a stack of books turning into flying birds, which I wanted on my side but I’m too short, my side doesn’t have enough space! So I’ll have to rethink it.
E: I have a mandala on my thigh that isn’t finished. I didn’t notice until someone else pointed it out months later. I would like to get the missing bits done!
L: Too many ideas to choose just one! I’m feeling very connected to the cycle of the moon right now so maybe something relating to that. On my wrist or the back of my arm 🌒

What we’ve been working on

We are now successfully hosting all of our existing community support groups online via Zoom and it’s feeling more and more natural (without being too nervous or sweating too much…but still a little bit). These include Wild Mothering Circle, Women Reclaiming Birth, a homebirth support group, a freebirth support group and a birth worker’s circle! To stay up to date with any or all of these groups, you can join our ‘Wild Women Rising’ Facebook group. We’d love to see you there!

Previously we had set up a Crowdfunder page with Aviva to raise funds for our Wild Girls Rising project. We are still working on this project but it is based on face-to-face girls circles so we have postponed it for now. Instead, we decided to change the Crowdfunder page to go towards supporting women in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue supporting women during pregnancy who may be struggling to navigate the maternity services at the moment, or who have maybe suffered trauma because of the pandemic. We also want to offer this support to women who are isolated for any other reason at this time and are in need of support or just someone to talk to. We have already seen a huge increase in the need for this kind of support, so we’re keen to be able to support as many women as we can. 

We have until Tuesday 21st (only 2 days away) to hit our target, otherwise, we don’t get any of the money pledged so far! So, if you are able to pledge anything towards our goal, it will go towards supporting women in Greater Manchester and further afield (the benefits of working online!).

To pledge, or just to read a bit more about our project, click here!

Have a great week! 

Amy, Lori & Elle x

amy lori and elle in ice shack
fight sexism grafiti
Uncategorized

Dear wolf-whistler…

Dear wolf-whistler,

First of all, you’re an absolute wanker.

Here’s how it went from my point of view, in case you give a shit;

I went outside to put my cardboard recycling in the blue bin, as soon as I opened my door there you both were, hanging out of your car and staring at me like fucking vultures. I know we’re in lockdown and you probably haven’t seen another person for weeks, but that is not an excuse. I’m instantly uncomfortable and have put my defences up in case you decide you need more than just something to look at. I put my cardboard in the bin and walked back around to my front door, which is when you decided to wolf-whistle at me.

Here is why I don’t appreciate your staring and wolf-whistling;

I am not an object for you to gawp at just because you have fuck-all better to do with your time. You intimidate me by staring like that – which is probably what gives you a little buzz. Wolf-whistling is NOT a compliment, it does NOT make me feel all warm and fuzzy because, believe it or not (and I know this is a tough one to comprehend), I get my worth from me, NOT from twats like you.

Now, let me explain to you the effect that your actions have;

I hurried back inside and slammed the door, I hoped that it would show you that I was angry because I couldn’t put it into words to say to you, but in reality, you probably just thought it was funny. My heart is hammering, not because you wooed me with your charms contrary to what you think, but because you made me feel intimidated, scared and angry. I had another bag of recycling to take out, but that will have to wait now because the last thing I want to do is go back outside and be objectified AGAIN. So I’m hiding in my flat, full of rage. Is that what you expected to happen? Is that what you wanted to happen? Did you think of how I might feel before you acted? Did you fuck. You are a disgusting human. You can’t possibly comprehend the horrible effect your actions have on women, so I have no doubt that you’ll continue to do it, thinking it’s completely harmless. The sad thing is that you were probably looking for a reaction, and if I’d have said all of this to your face, you would have laughed it off and ignored it. I didn’t say anything, but even if I had the outcome probably would have been the same – you’d still be an ignorant man.

If you take anything from what I write (which I’m sure you won’t because you’re probably not the one reading this), let it be this;

I do not exist to be objectified by you
I do not want or need your whistles of “approval”
Your actions have consequences
Stop being a misogynistic twat

Pissed-off regards,

Amy

(the human being whose feelings you couldn’t give a fuck about, but whose ass you clearly took a fancy to)

A chalk rainbow
Doulas, News, Resources, Uncategorized

Slow Sunday Scroll ☀️

How is everyone doing? Lately we’ve seen so many people respond with how productive, or unproductive, they have been. But really, how are you? You are not the stuff you achieve – or don’t – you are a person, surviving an unprecedented period in history, and it’s okay to feel however you’re feeling, and to talk about it.

A chalk rainbow
A rainbow found on Lori’s walk

What – and how – we have be doing

Elle: I have developed a rigid daily structure, and have discovered life feels more manageable under lockdown. I’ve found a balance between all the aspects and roles of my life for the first time, and I suspect I will miss this when it’s over.

Lori: I have surrendered to not being able to balance it all! Developing new, creative ways to support women and single handedly mothering two high needs children are in themselves full time jobs. I’m trying to use this time to practise radical self care – resting when I need to rest, crying when I need to cry, reminding myself that whatever I am able to give to my children and my business is enough, and focusing on our basic needs. Oh and I’m loving working in such comfort! I never thought I’d be doing Zoom calls with clients in my pjs…

Take what you need poster by @lorithedoula

Amy: I have found it tricky to figure out working for Clara and Macy from home/at the studio in isolation (especially because we’re weirdly really busy right now!!), and for adapting how GMD is functioning, but it feels like it’s coming together now. I live alone so I’m finding the lockdown pretty difficult mentally, my anxiety is on a high and I’m definitely having more down days than usual – I’ve also realised that I really am a hug person and now I’m having hug withdrawal symptoms! A positive – the local wildlife seems to be thriving without humans everywhere! Something people should remember – don’t judge others, everyone’s necessities are different and people will be missing different things. Just be understanding!

Amy working in the studio for Clara and Macy

Collectively, we have been supporting the many pregnant women who have been directly affected by the pandemic. Our mission to defend women’s human rights, provide holistic support and accessible education, and to build sisterhood between women has never been more relevant, and we are extremely glad to be here to support women through this.

Our virtual support is available in private 1:1s (well, 3:1s!), and we are making videos on subjects suggested by women whose birth plans have been upended by the virus.
If there is a subject you’d like to see covered (or covered in more detail, please get in touch.

FiLiA asked us to make a podcast on what’s currently happening in maternity regarding women’s rights and options, and we were happy to oblige.

Quick fire questions

In World Doula Week we faced our fears, and finally started doing live videos! So far we have discovered what’s in our doula bags, what’s not in our doula bags, how to mentally prepare for birth, freebirth, and a live version of our quick fire questions!

What we need help with

We are currently writing to potential funders, and funders who have already contributed toward projects we are now unable to run, so many things are up in the air.

The best way to help us at the moment is to add us as your local cause with the Co-op, and to donate to our ko-fi fund if you are able. Every penny will go directly to supporting women in our community, and beyond.

What’s going on online for free?

Lori has made a GMD colouring book, and we are compiling a list of free resources, and if you have anything to add please message us.

Please don’t forget it’s okay to slow down during this time – it’s enough to “do” nowt and to survive.

The networks you’ve been relying on for support might be missing from your life temporarily, or you may be having to access them in an unfamiliar way, for example by Zoom. This might take some getting used to, but research shows all the same places of our brains light up when we talk to someone by video and in person.

We were all nervous about moving from face to face meets to video calls and it felt so weird at first! We got used to it surprisingly quickly though and it’s nice to be able to connect with others from the comfort of our homes. Whether you’re in your pjs, haven’t touched your hair, or are joining from your bed, you’re welcome! Just come as you are.

If you need some help with getting online, we are happy to help. Connecting to our sisters has never been so important!

We hope to see you online soon.

Elle, Amy & Lori x

Black and white mandala
Resources, Uncategorized

Colour in with Greater Manchester Doulas CIC

Oh how much our worlds have changed in the last couple of weeks! How are you all doing? Elle, Amy and I are now working from our respective homes, learning how to continue to support women from a distance and keep our community connected. 

We are still here and more passionate than ever about supporting you however we can. Whether you are looking for birth doula support, want to join our community groups or just need a chat with women who will listen, we’re here for you.

Like many other women, I am trying to balance work life with mothering my stir crazy babes and managing the household (which gets messy so quickly with us all here 24/7!), it’s hard work! Colouring in has been one activity that has helped to keep us somewhat sane, so I thought I would create a little collection of GMD illustrations to colour in.

For grown ups and babes alike, I hope it adds a little more colour into your week during this uncertain time. There are no strings attached and it’s completely free to download. If you do want to give back though, here are some ways you can support our little women-centred biz:

  • Donate to our crowdfunder.
  • Buy us a ko-fi.
  • Follow us on social media – like, share and comment on our posts.
  • Write us a testimonial on facebook and google.
  • Make us your chosen cause with The Co-operative.
GMD Colouring Book Cover
Download the GMD Colouring Book

Much love,

Lori x