full moon in the clouds
Doulas, News, Uncategorized

Saturday send out 📫

full moon in the clouds

Happy Saturday! And happy full moon weekend 🌕This snow full moon will be the first super moon of the decade and we’re certainly feeling her energy! Despite that, we hope you’re able to have a relaxing peaceful weekend.

It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday Send Out 📫. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

It has felt like a really productive week this week. Working on various funding applications, facilitating groups and connecting with wonderful women. It seems like winter hibernation is still calling lots of us and the need to turn inward and rest is still great. But the beautiful sunshine and blue skies over the last few days has certainly given us a new energy as the season begins to change.

Lori and Elle with the Community Champion at Asda in RochdaleElle and I had a huge surprise this week as we were asked to go and collect a cheque from Asda in Rochdale. We knew we were part of their recent green token giving but had no idea how we had done or how much we had won. We could not believe it when we arrived to find that not only had we won, but the amount had been doubled because we were in store over Christmas! This money will help us to set up a free pool hire service that will sit alongside our existing Holding Space service – accessible pool hire with valuable emotional support to help you prepare for and debrief your birth. We are super excited so watch this space!!   

Questions for the doulas

Favourite Ed Sheeran song?

A: ‘You need me’ because I know all the words and it’s great to rap really loud in the car!
L: Depends on which mood I’m in. I like singing ‘Gold Rush’ 
E: I’m a big fan of the brief silences between his many songs

Hufflepuff socksWhich Harry Potter house would you be in?

E:  I don’t know, the only thing about Harry potter I like is Wizards Unite.
A: Hufflepuff 
L: Hufflepuff for sure! Never part of the cool crowd but patient, loyal and all about fair play. Elle won’t play but I think she’d be Ravenclaw; so wise with a sharp wit and love of learning. 

How have you been looking after your mental health?

L: Reaching out for help when I’m struggling and reminding myself that the hard days won’t last forever.
E:I just bought myself a PlayStation Now subscription, so my mental health is taken care of for the next year.
A: Getting lots of fresh air and taking time to myself.

Do you consider yourself and introvert or an extrovert? 

A: Introvert definitely.
L: Highly introverted!
E: The introvert-est.

Are you usually early or late?

E: Don’t think I’ve ever been early, except by accident.
A: I would much rather be really early than a minute late
L: As much as the people pleaser in me wants to be early, I’m often running late!

Lori lying down with two dogsAre you a cat or a dog person?

L: An animal person?! I love dogs 🐕 but I have so much love for my childhood cat Teddy.
E: Getting dogs has made me appreciate cats more.
A: I’m more of a cat person because I love their independence, but Elle’s dogs are winning me over.

What’s coming up

Next week we’ll be diving deep into planning and preparation for exciting projects we’ve got in the pipeline. Hopefully connecting more with our volunteers and keeping the productivity flowing!

It’s our monthly home birth group tomorrow morning for anyone interested in home birth. Whether you have questions or want to share your story, you and your family are welcome. There will be biscuits and brews and toys for any little ones who come.  

The Wild Mothering Circle will hopefully be meeting again on Friday. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with this sisterhood after a couple of cancelled meets! If you are a woman who wants to be part of this village we would love to see you there.

wild mother circle details home birth south manchester details

This Friday there is also an event inviting those who have used maternity services in the last couple of years to talk about their postnatal experiences. This is part of the work to improve maternity services in Greater Manchester. Sadly our little ones have an inset day so Elle and Lori won’t be able to make it but you can reserve your space here

How can you help at the minute?

women in a birth pool hugging her husbandWe are keen to get our pool hire service off the ground as quickly as possible. If you have a pool or any accessories that you would like to donate, they would be hugely appreciated. Our first pool Nell was donated by a wonderful family after their beautiful home birth, and has already been used by two other families 💕.

Are you a Jigsaw Homes resident? If so you can vote for our community project on the Jigsaw Rewards website. Your votes will help women and their families in Miles Platting and surrounding areas to access much needed support around pregnancy, birth and beyond.

As always we’d love to hear from you so tell us how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to. If there are events you’d like us to share, or there’s a topic you’d like us to shine a light on get in touch

Lots of love,

Amy, Elle & Lori x

silly faces

naomi's positive vbac
Birth, Birth Story, Doulas, Uncategorized

Naomi’s positive VBAC story

Naomi contacted us recently about sharing the birth of her second baby Amelie. Her son Dylan was born by caesarean but second time around she planned for a different experience. With the support of Amy, she had the positive birth she had wished for and we hope that Naomi and her story inspires you as much as she does us.

For the previous two weeks I had been getting lots of braxton hicks and had lost my complete mucous plug, but was determined not to get my hopes up about going into early labour as I went a week overdue with Dylan and I found it so hard waiting. I tried to keep in my head that I would go overdue this time too so that I wasn’t disappointed. I went to bed on the Tuesday evening and had absolutely no signs of labour except from my bump had dropped quite low throughout the day (I was 39+2). I slept so well and got a full 8 hours sleep.

naomi in the pool with gas and airMy alarm went off at 7.45am to get Dylan up and ready for nursery, so I snoozed and got him up at 8 and Ben got in the shower. I shouted through to Ben in the bathroom because I got such a big pain in my stomach but wasn’t sure what it was as I didn’t think I could get such a painful contraction with no build up. He carried on showering and I found myself bent double over our bed breathing through 4 contractions in 10 minutes with poor Dylan watching me wondering what was going on! So I shouted Ben again and he got out of the shower and got dressed and took Dylan downstairs.

I called maternity triage who could hear how regular my contractions were and how much pain I was in and they said to go straight to the birth centre there and then. So Ben called Dylan’s nursery to warn them we were on our way with him and that he’d not had time for any breakfast.  I called my doula Amy to let her know we were on our way to the birth centre, she said she would leave and meet us there. I also called my mum as she was supposed to be having Dylan while I was in labour but I asked her to come and see her granddaughter being born instead as luckily it had fallen on a nursery day!

We all got in the car for the most uncomfortable journey and we were so lucky that it was half term so there was hardly any traffic bearing in mind we were driving towards Manchester city centre in rush hour! When we got near to nursery I was in so much pain I said to Ben don’t take Dylan to his room, just drop him in the office and get back to the car quickly, I felt like the baby was coming soon.

naomi giving birthSo 10 minutes later we arrived at the birth centre and Amy my doula had just arrived before us. The midwives took us into the most gorgeous room with twinkle lights, soft waterfall sound effects and a big projector on the wall with waterfall videos, it was so relaxing. They got me on the futon to examine me and she said that I was 4cm dilated, fully effaced and my waters were bulging. She said I could get straight in the birthing pool and have the gas and air which I did. I forgot how amazing the gas and air is… the hallucinations! And the warm water was so soothing on my back.

I remember at one point feeling a bit panicky about my scar rupturing and asking the midwife if I was showing any signs of scar rupture. And then I panicked that the baby would get stuck like last time and asked her if the baby was back to back like last time. She answered no to both questions and reminded me that this was a different birth and to trust my body.

Amy made me 3 cups of tea which I downed in the pool, and we all had a laugh that I was alternating between gas and air and cups of tea (fab combination by the way!) Like Dylan’s birth, Ben was the official gas and air holder and my friendly face for when I was in crazy amounts of pain. Then as things were ramping up my mum arrived which I was so glad about. She was holding a cool flannel on my head and it was just generally soothing to have my mum there. I felt so safe surrounded by the people I chose to be at my birth and it was so completely different to my poor experience from Dylan’s birth.

Naomi, her partner and her newborn babySoon after my mum arrived my body started to push involuntarily. I didn’t need to be examined, I just knew that I must be fully dilated and my body knew what to do. I looked down between my legs as I thought I had pushed the baby’s head out but it was actually part of the sack full of waters that hadn’t burst yet, so surreal to see!

At this point the midwife used the Doppler and couldn’t find baby’s heart rate so very quickly her and the second midwife said I needed to get out of the pool immediately. I was so worried as it was like history repeating itself, they had to get me out of the pool as an emergency when I gave birth to Dylan.

As I got out of the pool I could feel her head crowning and the midwife could obviously see it too as she put her hand between my legs in case the baby came out! As soon as I was out of the water the pain was so intense as the gas and air had worn off and I had no other kind of pain relief in my system. I laid on the futon and begged for the gas and air but everyone was more focussed on the baby coming out so I didn’t get my gas and air back!

The next contraction came and I pushed so hard and her head was born, then one more push and she was in my arms crying! The sense of achievement straight away was just incredible and  I still can’t believe that I achieved a vaginal birth after so many professionals told me I couldn’t do it.

I also specified in my birth plan that I wanted a physiological third stage which I’m glad about as the placenta came naturally around 10 minutes later. We waited until the cord had stopped pulsating completely and Ben got to cut the cord this time which we were so happy about.

amelie

My doula Amy managed to get some amazing photos of the labour and birth which I’m so happy about as we only got one photo of when Dylan was born. I honestly feel like I would do it all over again, I’m so thrilled I got the birth I wished for all along. 

A perfect example of how listening to your intuition alongside the support of a trusted team who believe in you and your body can lead to a birth on your terms, despite the doubt of professionals. You are amazing Naomi! 

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

A healing second birth – Part 2

We’re back again with the next part of this inspiring birth story. Here Jess shares her experience of the last weeks and days of her pregnancy and the beginnings of labour!

Jess with her toddler and breastfeeding her newborn babyEden’s birth story Part 2:

Every evening for over a week I’d get these annoying period type cramps. Once I even had a contraction. I’d also get these strange nerve pains that would make my legs feel numb, quite scary when I first experienced them. I’d have to do a low squat & breathe through them. Anyone witnessing me doing this as I walked around Tesco must have thought I was in labour! 🤣 In fact someone once asked me if I was okay!! All these things were uncomfortable & annoying but I took them as normal late pregnancy issues & tried to let go and enjoy our last days as a family of three.

For a few weeks I felt the need to slow down and conserve energy. We had help from family so I was able to spend time connecting with baby, resting, meditating, writing, nesting & batch cooking. Looking back I think these quiet times helped lay the foundations for the birth we were to have. Some dear friends put on a mother blessing for me & I made a birth altar in my bedroom with the affirmation art they made for me & other things I cherished.

I also met with my doulas, Greater Manchester Doulas, a few times and generally talked about how things had been. They were my true antenatal care, they listened with no agenda & made me feel valued. The main thing that kept coming up for me was not knowing the midwife who would attend my home birth. Everything I’d researched about the smoothest & safest way to birth was for the mother to be undisturbed so she can tune into her own body. So the idea of having someone there who knew nothing about me & who I’d never met before seemed bizarre and scary. I hadn’t had good experiences with my midwife team so had no faith that they would respect or even consider the importance of the energy or atmosphere they’d bring. So I decided we’d contact them late on in labour & ask them to stay in another room unless needed. I dared not tell any of the midwives this was our plan as I couldn’t face the barrage of questions and scare mongering that would have been bestowed on me so late in pregnancy. (Continued in comments)

Jess sat with her toddler breastfeeding her newbornInstead I wrote a birth plan and Ben and my doulas agreed to speak with them when the time arrived.

As the days rolled by and the baby got lower and heavier in my pelvis and the cramping and nerve pains continued, I began to get cabin fever. The day of Eden’s birth I was so grumpy and restless, like when you have an itch that you can’t quite scratch. Looking back this must have been a result of a hormonal surge in my body preparing for labour. I spent the day on my own and slept a lot. I had the urge to make a really nutritious and carb heavy lunch which is unusual as we tend to eat our main meal in the evening. The restlessness grew stronger as the day went on. I text a few friends and made a plan to meet up the next day with Luca in tow. I had no idea how I’d physically manage to wobble around a park with a toddler at nearly 42 weeks pregnant, but that feeling of needing change was intense! Later that evening Ben persuaded me to go for a walk with Luca and our dog Tilly. Walking any distance would set off the nerve pains so I wasn’t always up for them. It was a beautiful sunny evening and after our return, still feeling fed up, I decided there was only one thing for it…. a glass of wine! Well, this certainly got the baby moving! He started somersaults and pushing right down into my pelvis and generally having a dance party!! 🤣

Luca’s bedtime came round and I lay with him and fed him to sleep while Ben went to get us both food. While I lay there I began to realise the period cramps that I often experienced in the evenings were coming and going in more of a pattern than before. Not wanting to get excited I didn’t allow myself to think this could be the start. At this point in my pregnancy I was genuinely considering the idea that I might be pregnant FOREVER!! 😆 Luca went to sleep easily and we ate takeaway and chatted. Ben suggested watching TV but I didn’t fancy it. I felt an energy in me stirring, a really subtle shift of consciousnesses where half was busy somewhere else, perhaps preparing and paving the way for the journey I was about to take, while the other half was here, in the now. I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on much. I was in the ‘doing’ phase of labour: also the ‘denial’ phase where it’s actually obvious things have started but you pretend to yourself it hasn’t!!

newborn baby breastfeedingWhen Ben asked how I was I told him the cramps where coming and going but not to get his hopes up as they would probably fade away. I could talk quite easily through them. It was about 9pm and the surges were probably every 20 minutes (although I wasn’t timing them and had no intention to start doing so either; I wanted to just stay in the moment). I suggested we got an early night incase things stepped up but by the time we’d sorted the dishwasher etc it was 10pm before we went upstairs. I told Ben to sleep in Luca’s room as I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible and not worry about disturbing him. At this point I was also really craving to be by myself.

To be continued…

Part 3 coming soon! In the meantime follow Jess and her wild adventures through motherhood on Instagram @these_adventures_of_ours

amy elle and lori
Doulas, Funding, News, Uncategorized

Saturday shout out 📣

Happy Saturday! It’s finally the weekend and the end of the longest January in existence. We’re all relaxing after a long week and hope you are too.

It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday Shout Out. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

A couple of wonderful interviews reminded us of why we do what we do, and how much connecting with women feeds our souls.
We facilitated three free community groups this week, and we’d love to see them grow.

Also Amy drove inside a building for the first time (with a jolly Elle inside)
and Lori got stranded with a flat tire (with a less jolly Elle inside).

We enjoyed our first few days of working together as a team, and had our first slumber party!

Questions for the doulas

Top three bands/singers?
L: Lizzo, Stormzy, Beyonce.
A: Eminem, Ed Sheeran, and McFly.
E: Bjork, Weezer, Panic! at the Disco.

Movie you’ve watched more than any other?
L: Harry Potter. Maybe Stealing Beauty… So cheesy, but I used to be obsessed.
A: Definitely Harry Potter, and Avengers: End Game.
E: The Princess Bride.

All time favourite TV shows?
L: Gilmore Girls, Grace and Frankie, Game of Thrones (before it ended the way it did – still haven’t forgiven the writers for ruining it).
A: Friends, Scrubs, and Gilmore Girls.
E: Adventure Time, Mr Robot, and Scrubs.

What’s on your bucket list?
L: Getting fat exploring Koh Phangan and having a beach house so we can be awesome old crones together like Grace and Frankie.
A: There’s a lot of things on my bucket list! Mostly visiting countries I haven’t seen yet, and skydiving which is too expensive and scary, but one that will be ticked off soon(ish) is converting a van into a camper so I can travel more.
E: Getting a scooter.

What’s coming up?

Next week is all about funding. Some deadlines are approaching, and we’re meeting face to face with a funder for the first time.

On Thursday we have our first Free Birth Meeting of the year. It’s so important that women know about all their options during pregnancy. Especially if you’re thinking outside the box for your birth, it’s so reassuring and inspiring to hear the tales from the women who did the same and had a beautiful time.

The Wild Mothering Circle is now open to all women, because if we want to see a village built in our lifetimes, it needs to be made up of women of all ages and stages of life. We meet every Friday afternoon so come along and be part of this growing sisterhood.

On Saturday we’ll be taking part in a flash mob to raise awareness of how the systems women rely on for support are often the systems that make our lives difficult in the first place.
You may know the video from Chile which spread over the world. Watch the powerful anti-rape demonstration in its original language here.

A week today it comes to Manchester. Anyone is welcome to take part, but full details have not yet been confirmed. Feel free to message us about this.

How can you help at the minute?

We have a few suggestions this week!

We have just started writing our antenatal course which covers as much as a regular one, but focuses on human rights in pregnancy and childbirth.
We got partial funding from Lush, but we are £1000 short, and are looking to raise the rest by crowdfunding.
Here’s a link to the Just Giving page Lori made last night. We’ve never tried crowdfunding before so would really appreciate your support with this!

If you haven’t selected us as your chosen Local Cause with the Co-op, there’s still plenty of time.

Share your story with us for National Storytelling Week. It can be about anything, and as short or long as you like. What’s important is that it’s yours.

Thank you for supporting us and having our backs, it makes such a difference to know we aren’t doing this by ourselves.

Lori, Amy & Elle x

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
Happy new year
Doulas, News, Uncategorized

2019…what a year!

As 2019 draws to a close, we have been reflecting back over the last 12 months! Our second year of working together as part of this amazing social enterprise has been one of real growth and resilience.

When new year comes around it is easy to throw yourself into big plans and grand ideas, but we are taking some time to celebrate how far we have come and to remind ourselves that what we are doing right now is already truly magical.

There have been rejections and moments of doubt, overwhelm and worry, but looking back we are so incredibly proud of ourselves and what we have built and achieved throughout this year.

Here is a roundup of for anyone who wants to join us in celebrating our 2019 journey…

Funding

Tesco bags of help voteWe started off the year with another grant from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme which allowed us to continue to offer funded birth doula support and consultations.

Navigating the world of funding and grants has been challenging at times but we were so pleased to be offered funding for a number of different projects.

Money from the Big Lottery has allowed us to continue to work with women suffering from, and who are at risk of birth trauma. With the help of this grant we have supported many resilient women who were seeking holistic support for future pregnancies or who were courageously exploring their past traumatic births, and challenging the authorities and systems that did not provide the care they needed. Each woman took brave steps towards healing and progress and thanks to this grant, we were able to support this further with funded Rewind sessions with Lauren.

Later in the year we received funding for Lush Charity Pots to write and deliver an antenatal course with a focus on women’s human rights. Through our work with local women we know that human rights abuse in pregnancy and birth are rife. We believe that ending obstetric violence will require a complete overhaul of the system, starting with how women prepare for birth. At present it is unrealistic to expect to ‘go with the flow’ within the maternity services and have a positive, powerful birthing experience, which is outrageous. Learning to be comfortable being that dreaded “difficult woman” who questions everything, serves the woman, her baby, her family, and her community.
We are just so excited to share this with the world. What topics would you like to see on this course? Nothing is too out there – think outside the box!

We were also accepted as a Local Cause by The Co-op, from the end of October for a year. In the Co-ops in Hulme (Birley Fields), Whalley Range, Oxford Rd, and Leech Funeral Care members can vote for us, and 1% of profits will go to our fund. If you want to support us with this, please join the Co-op as a member if you haven’t already, and choose us to be your local cause. If you can, encourage friends and family to do the same. All the money we get from this will go towards offering funding birth doula support to local women who could not otherwise afford it.  You can track our funding here.

Collaborations

October took us to Bradford for the annual FiLiA conference and it was an incredible experience. We had a table, and invited women to speak to us. Here’s a photo album of highlightsWe heard so many amazing, inspiring women, and we are looking forward to going again next year. Women told us where they’re struggling in life, and we listened. We are considering adding services not related to birth to better serve our community. What would you like to be doula-ed through?

Lauren and Elle at FiLiAWe started a Birth Network group  for birth workers in Greater Manchester who want to connect and support one another. 
Through these meets we met the lovely Amy, another local doula whose approach is so similar to ours, who has a similar ethos towards the work. As always, leading up to Christmas was our busiest time of year and Amy helped us out lots, much to our, and our clients’, delight! 
Amy understands that practicing in a woman-centered way is more about being than doing, and that the first step toward a positive experience is promoting and protecting womens’ autonomy. We are really looking forward to working alongside her more in 2020.

Lauren, Elle and Lucy GreenGMD CIC is all about women supporting women, so when we realised we needed to grow (to support more women!) we sought out a local woman to support us! Introducing the amazing Lucy Green, a certified business coach and development consultant. Pardon the metaphors but she knows her onions, and is an all round good egg. She’s going to be kicking us up the butts for the next few months, to turn our dreams into plans. It can be easy (even though it’s hard!) to focus on the now and what’s right in front of us, but if we want to see our dreams in action we must shake up the way we work.
2020 is going to be a crucial year for GMD. We will keep you in the loop, and if you want to get more involved you can apply to join our volunteer’s group.
Please keep sharing our posts, write us a review or testimonial if you haven’t already so others can read about our work, and put up a flyer on your local noticeboard. It goes towards support our work, allowing us to continue to support other women.

Community

Throughout the year we have continued to work to build community for women in Manchester. We still facilitate the Chorlton Home Birth Group and as well as starting new community ventures to support sisterhood and solidarity among local women.

We started up the Women Reclaiming Birth Circle, a new group, running the last Thursday of every month. It is all about women informing women through pregnancy, birth, and beyond. All women are invited to come, to contribute their wisdom, and share their experiences and we are excited to see how this group grows over the next year.

The Wild Mothering Circle LogoWe also started The Wild Mothering Circle with the amazing wild mothers Jody and Alice. It is a safe and supportive circle both online and in the form of weekly face to face meets for women and children. Initially the group was focussed on women supporting women through the ups and downs of motherhood, especially for women making more “alternative” choices. However throughout the year we have been curious about ‘The Mother’ being more than the role we take on when we give birth. Instead considering ‘The Mother’ as a stage that every woman can access and experience in life, regardless of whether or not she has given birth. We are looking forward to opening the group up to any wild women who wants to explore this archetype more, and working towards creating our village. 

Lastly but perhaps most importantly, we continued to work directly with women as radical birth keepers. We held space for women during pregnancy into motherhood, we attended beautiful births, and watched so many women transform and step into their feminine power through the rite of passage that is birth. We also held space for women choosing to face and heal from their traumas.
To all of these women, and everyone who we have supported since we began this work, we say thank you! We are humbled by your power and resilience, and feel so privileged to have supported each of you and witnessed your journeys.     

A new year, a new decade

Wow, what a year it has been! And we have done all of this as single mothers, mothering children with additional needs and navigating our own health and wellbeing struggles. It has been incredibly hard at times but we wouldn’t change it for the world. More than ever we feel called to do this work and cannot wait to see what we can build together throughout 2020 and beyond.

Picture of Elle and Lauren

We thank you wholeheartedly for being a Greater Manchester Doulas CIC supporter. We hope you continue to be part of our community, helping it to grow and flourish. Let’s keep building the village we all long for and deserve! 

Sending so much love and wishing you a happy new year 🥳 

Lauren & Elle x

Doulas, News, Uncategorized

Some things never change

Elle and I awoke with heavy hearts this morning. We fear that our new conservative government will have devastating consequences, not just for us personally but for the maternity services we support women to navigate.

MBRRACE report figures
MBRRACE report figures

An already broken maternity system is likely to disintegrate further, with women’s needs and voices being silenced by Tory austerity and a society that does not value us. We anticipate more birth trauma and increased rates of infant and maternal mortality, particularly among black women who are still five times more likely to die in birth than white women.

It is easy to feel like all hope is lost, but as Anna and Elsa sing… “some things never change”. As women our strength and resilience lies deep within within our bones and that will never change. When we feel lost and afraid, we can always lean on our sisters and hold each other up, no government will ever take that away from us. Now more than ever we need to recognise the power in sisterhood and solidarity, and continue to fight together.

Hold on my friend
Hold On, My Friend – L. R. Knost

If today’s news has taught us anything, it’s that our work as birth keepers is perhaps more important than it has ever been. We will continue to defend women’s human rights, continue to provide accessible, holistic support and education and most importantly continue to build sisterhood between women. There is so much work to be done but together we will thrive despite a government that does not wish to see us rise.

choose us as your co-op local cause
Doulas, Funding, News

Co-op Local Cause

Great news – we have been chosen as a Co-op Local Cause!

What’s that?

When members shop with at the Co-op, 1% of what they spend on some branded products and services goes to support local causes through their Local Community Fund.

If you choose us as your Local Cause you will be helping to provide 1:1 doula support for women with vulnerabilities across Greater Manchester.

How much money will you get?

That depends on how many people choose to support us! We have a year as a Local Cause funds, so please help raise as much as we can.

How can I help?

There are a few ways you can help.

Become a member of the Co op, and choose us as your local cause
Ask your family and friends to do the same, even if they live far away
Share our fundraising page and our cause – help us spread the word
Connect us with any press or media contacts

How do I choose Greater Manchester Doulas CIC as my Local Cause?

It’s easy! First, sign up to be a member if you haven’t already. Then either login to your account, or give the Co op a call (we recently did this ourselves and found them to be really friendly and helpful) on 0800 023 4708.

I can’t see your cause when I login…

You can search for a cause up to 15 miles away using the drop down menu on this page.
If we are further from you than that you can still choose us as your cause, just use the link to our Co op page.

Last bit:

You can follow our cause and see how much members have raised so far here.

Thanks so much for your support. By supporting us you are helping women across Greater Manchester to access the support the deserve.