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Funding, News

COVID-19 response funding from National Lottery Community Fund

This week started off on an incredible high with the news that we are being awarded almost £12,000 in National Lottery Funding for our COVID-19 response project.

This is going to make a significant difference to women in our community and means that we can confidently offer fully funded support to any woman who wants and needs it.

Why have a COVID-19 response project?

It quickly became clear that pregnant women and new mothers are being hugely affected by the new measures put in place due to the pandemic. This includes restrictions imposed by individual Trusts, inconsistently and without first exhausting alternatives, in direct opposition to guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. There are also many doulas who are not able to provide their services to women in our community, and as a result, we have experienced an increase in the number of women asking for our support.

Women have the right to choose where to give birth and with whom, but those options are rapidly being taken away from them or made completely inaccessible, making women believe that they no longer have a choice. Women, now more than ever, need personalised emotional and informational support whilst navigating the maternity services in the state that they are currently in.

Women who report birth trauma are most often not talking about the physical birth process, but the way they were treated during labour and birth. During the COVID-19 pandemic so far we have already witnessed the stripping away of women’s options for labour and birth, and women are fearful of the consequences of the restrictions put in place.

During this pandemic, women are likely to be and are already being subjected to human rights violations and unnecessary interventions under coercion – leading to an increased risk of traumatic birth experiences. There is also the added risk associated with isolation of new mothers, whilst being separated from their friends and family who would ordinarily be part of her support system. These two things will lead to an increase in postnatal depression and PTSD which will have a long term impact on the overall well-being of both the woman and her baby.

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What are you planning on doing?

This funding will be used to deliver one-to-one support sessions and community groups via video chat, for women planning their birth during the pandemic and women who are facing or who have experienced birth trauma as a result of COVID-19. We will be facilitating community groups, and providing Holding Space sessions and birth doula support (both face to face and virtually), free of charge for any woman who cannot afford to pay.

We aim to create a safe space for women to access emotional and informational support and to help them feel less isolated and more supported and empowered in their birth choices. We will help women to navigate the new restrictions within maternity services and support them emotionally through unexpected changes to their birth plans. This will extend to virtual support during labour and birth for women with additional vulnerabilities. For women who are facing the trauma of birthing alone because of COVID-19 restrictions, we will provide in-person physical, practical and emotional support throughout their labour and birth.

We are sending all our thanks to National Lottery players and The National Lottery Community Fund for recognising the importance of our work. It has been a much needed boost being awarded funding during a time that is scary and uncertain for both women and small organisations like ourselves. We hope you are as excited as we are that we will be able to continue to support women, even during a global pandemic! 

If you are a woman who could benefit from this project please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Much love,

Lori, Elle & Amy   

 

 

 

Doulas, News

Humpday Update 🐪

Happy humpday (although every day is feeling like humpday these days!) How are you doing? Lockdown life has us all trying to function in strange and uncertain times and it’s ok to be coping however you need to. Whether you are throwing yourself into sourdough starters and banana bread baking or crying at various intervals and wearing pjs 24/7, you’re doing great!!

What have we been up to?

Lori: I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather over the last week so I’ve been prioritising self care in and amongst my usual day to day responsibilities. Netflix in the bath, early nights, staying hydrated and listening to what my body and soul need. I’ve also started reading a new book: “Everything Below the Waist: Why Healthcare Needs a Feminist Revolution” by Jennifer Block. We’ve had this book for a while but I’ve finally managed to create the space for reading regularly! What are you reading at the moment?

Amy: I finished watching Money Heist so I’m grieving that. I’ve mostly just been at the studio! I cooked quesadillas for the first time – they were really nice. And I cooked a butternut squash and lentil curry, but have decided that peeling and cutting a butternut squash is a full workout and I’m never doing it again. The curry was nice though.

She has also managed to squeeze in some kitten-sitting and we were all very jealous!

Elle: Organised my yarn, made my first sourdough, got my monthly migraine, completed Control. Not much to report!

Questions for the doulas: This or That edition!

Day or Night?
L: Night.
A: Night.
E: Night.

Cat or Dog?
A: Cat…That’s too difficult – I love them both in different moments.
E: Dog.
L: I’m so indecisive, I want to say both! Dog if my only responsibility was to have cuddles. Otherwise cat.

Tea or Coffee?
E: Coffee.
L: Coffee, coffee, coffeeeee!
A: If I’m sad it’s tea all the way. Ahh I love them both (again)

Sun or Moon?
L: Always the moon. I love her. But also, if she’d let me have a decent sleep this week I’d really appreciate it.
A: I’m a bit obsessed with the moon recently!
E: Moon.

Early Bird or Night Owl?
A: Probably night owl
E: Both
L: Early bird. I love it when I’m up before the kids and I get to sit in my sunny living room with a brew, listening to the birds.

What we’ve been working on

This week is UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week so we’ve been joining in with the campaign, creating and sharing posts on social media. We’ll be doing a facebook live later this week where we’ll be discussing all things maternal mental health so keep an eye out for that. 

We’ve also been spreading the word about the support we offer, in particular our Holding Space service. Social distancing measures and ever-changing policies within maternity services have left women facing more challenges, in precarious situations, and without their usual support networks. We are here to support you however we can. 

We had some great news this week that we were granted some additional funding from Tesco to support our communities through this pandemic. This means that we are still able to continue to offer funded Holding Space sessions to any woman who could not afford it otherwise.

Funding is still a challenge however and if you are able to donate anything, it would be very much appreciate and will help to support women in difficult situations. Our Aviva crowdfunding project is still live and accepting donations. Reaching our target and being able to access this money will make a huge difference to women in our community so please keep sharing in your circles.

What’s coming up?

We have The Wild Mothering Circle on Friday afternoon and Home Birth Group on Sunday Morning.

We’ll be doing a Facebook Live later this week about Maternal Mental Health so follow our page for updates about that.

We also have some availability for Holding Space sessions so please get in touch if you would like to book a session. It doesn’t have to be birth related. You don’t have to be a mother. We’re here for any woman who would like our support.

Have a wonderful rest of the week.

Lots of love

Lori, Amy & Elle x

international day of the midwife
Birth, News

International Day of the Midwife 2020

Today is the International Day of the Midwife 2020. Whilst we are not midwives, our roles often sit side by side and our missions closely aligned. We wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate midwives around the world whose life work is to truly be ‘with woman’.

In a world where women live and birth within patriarchal institutions and normal, physiological birth is unnecessarily pathologised, traditional midwives can play such an important role. Their knowledge and wisdom is a much needed reminder that industrial birth is not our only option. They are a wonderful support that women can look to on their journeys to powerful, ecstatic births.

international day of the midwife

Today we celebrate and hold space for midwives who are choosing to create new paradigms, rather than engage in futile fights with broken systems. Heart led midwives who serve the woman above all else. Protectors of physiological birth. Birth keepers who trust women all the way, and know in their hearts that we are the ultimate knowledge when it comes to our own bodies and babies. In particular we hold those midwives who have been persecuted for believing in women and providing women-centred care despite the risk to themselves. Thank you.

Sending you all so much love and respect!

Lori, Elle & Amy x