We are so excited to announce that we have received funding from Magic Little Grants for Virtual Walks and Talks.
We know exercise is important for good mental health, so we want to combine an emotional support service with walking, for even more benefits to women. We want to offer our unique support via ‘Virtual Walk and Talks’, where you can explore their hopes and fears about childbirth, or debrief a previous experience, with experienced staff who will listen and understand without judgement.
These will be very much like our Holding Space sessions, with the added benefit of being able to walk and connect with nature at the same time. All you need is a phone that can access zoom, headphones and perhaps a warm drink!
If you would like to book in one of these sessions please get in touch. We can’t wait to hear from you.
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.
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.
Happy Saturday! We hope you all survived Storm Ciara and her wild ways, and are hunkering down, hiding away from Storm Dennis this weekend. It has certainly been a whirlwind of a week over here.
It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday sound off 🗣️. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…
What we’ve been up to
This last week has been another week of spinning plates but we wouldn’t have it any other way! At the moment our work is a real balance of grassroots work with women and growing the organisation so that it remains sustainable and we can continue to offer the support that we do.
The full moon energy had Elle and Lori both supporting warrior women through births in the last week or so. Despite both being birth keepers for a number of years now, the strength and resilience of the women we serve never fails to amaze us!
Amy took a huge step closer to one of her bucket list dreams this week! She is now the proud owner of a van, ready for converting into a camper for more exciting travels. We’re all excited to see what she does with it.
We’ve booked tickets to some great looking festivals this summer. Are you off anywhere nice? Early bird tickets for SolMas Fest 2020 end tomorrow so be quick if you don’t want to miss out! We are so looking forward to spending the weekend reviving our bodies, minds and souls.
We also celebrated galentine’s day yesterday in our own ways. Messages proclaiming our love for each other and… a Greggs gift card so Elle could buy ALL the vegan steak bakes!
Questions for the doulas
What song do you love so much that even if next door woke you up by blasting it at 3am you wouldn’t even be mad?
A: C’est La Vie – B*Witched E: Say It Ain’t So by Weezer L: Too hard to just pick one song… Although I think I’d always be mad about being woken at 3am unless it’s a woman asking for my support!
Would you rather spend a week at the beach, forest, or city, and why?
E: I grew up by a quiet beach in Blackpool so that feels like home to me. L: Beach 🏖 I feel called to be by water. I find it very calming and grounding. A: Forest! It’s nice and quiet and I could camp with a nice fire and a good book.
First and most recent video game completed
L: Maybe Mario Kart on the N64 and the Wii A: Probably Lego Harry Potter for both 😂 E: Sonic 2 and Lego City Undercover
What do you love most about being a doula?
A: I love being able to support a woman through the whole journey and then still see her afterwards! It’s such a lovely bond. E: Women. L: Being able to witness and hold space as women discover their power. I love being able to be among strong, badass women every week!
What did you want to be when you grew up? (Before you realised you were always a doula!!)
E: I didn’t know but I just trusted that one day I would know. I didn’t want to throw myself into anything until I was sure that it was my thing. L: A ballet dancer, then a primary school teacher, then a play therapist, then back to primary school teacher. I’m so grateful to have found this calling though. A: Originally I wanted to be a firefighter, then a midwife, but after some hospital experience I realised that I was meant to be a doula!
What’s coming up?
Next week is half term for Elle and Lauren so their week will mostly be spent entertaining little ones (and counting down the days to some peace and quiet!)
The Wild Mothering Circle will be meeting again on Friday afternoon 1:30pm – 3pm so if you are a wild woman wanting to connect with other women, please come along. We will be getting together upstairs at Healthy Spirit, a beautiful woman-led local biz across the road from our usual meeting place.
What are you all up to next week? We’d love to know.
How can you help at the minute?
This week we managed to pick up an unwanted exercise ball from a local facebook group that will go into our library for women to borrow. If you have any pregnancy and birth resources that you no longer need we gladly take donations. We want to ensure that women have access to all the support they need, be that emotional support, information or practical items so all donations are hugely appreciated.
Another reminder to choose us as your Co-op Local Cause if you haven’t already. It’s just £1 to join as a member and every penny will support local women to access doula support.
Finally, if you’re a woman in Manchester wanting to connect with other women, join our facebook community! It’s a quiet group right now but we would love to see it grow♀🌕🐺🌈
Hope you have a wonderful week and Storm Dennis doesn’t cause you too much trouble!
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!
Great news – we have been chosen as a Co-op Local Cause!
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.
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.