Doulas we can do it
News, Uncategorized

Monday magic 🔮

Hey all, did you miss us last week? We’ve got a bigger update than usual to more than make up for it! We hope you had a wonderful mother’s day and are keeping well given the situation we’re all dealing with.

What we’ve been up to

Our IWD2020 event was a huge success – thank you to everyone who came and everyone who helped. We think we’ll make it an annual thing!

Doulas we can do it

We met with some formidable women who work in human rights, and are passionate about reproductive rights, which was a very useful connection to make.

Lori enrolling at collegeLori enrolled at college! She’s going to study to become a counsellor, which we are certain she’ll be great at.

Elle is trying to move house. She saw a really nice one the other day and is hoping for a mutual exchange.

Amy took 19 kids to Brownie camp! She came back frazzled but glad they had a fun time. 

We introduced ourselves to Jane at Leech’s Funeral Care in Moss Side, as we are one of their Co-op Local Causes. She was so unbelievably kind, and offered us a lot of support. We see a future collaboration there, so look out for that.

Questions for the doulas

drunk elephantsWhat’s made you smile this last week?
E: The story about the wild elephants raiding the corn wine and falling asleep in the crops. 
A: The three old women who are self-isolating together – I imagine we’d be doing the same thing!
L: Seeing all the community support for women planning last minute home births.

Marmite?
A: Ew.
E: Love it. On buttered toast, with peanut butter, and to flavour soups and stir fries.
L: Mar-WON’T

What’s something others would be surprised to learn about one of the doulas?
L: Elle is amazing on the ukulele and it always makes me tear up!
A: That Elle used to collect mugs with the queen on, apparently she had quite a few!!
E: Both Amy and Lori are excellent at rapping.

How we’re currently working, and what’s changed

First and foremost, we’ve made the decision to keep what we share positive. There is so much information out there, and opinion, and articles that start out lighthearted but end up doom and gloom, and unasked for advice. That stuff is there if you want to read it, but we won’t be adding to that noise.

Birth doulaing and all one to one support will continue, as long as we are all well. We will continue to respond to and meet the needs of the women of our community, whatever they may be. We can offer phone and video calls for anyone isolating or distancing.

Pool hire We have just started our hire service, which has built in support sessions for anyone who wants some extra support before or after they give birth.
We are already getting booked up, so if you’re considering a homebirth, either very soon or later in the year, please send an enquiry asap.
The service is conducted by email, and it now shares a Facebook group with our home birth support.

greater manchester birth pool hire

Many women are facing unexpected changes to their birth, and we urge anyone to contact us who is facing a lack of support, or being forced into a situation you don’t want, or if you’re are still wondering what your options are.

Holding Space sessions can be booked separately or as part of our birth pool service. These can be used for any reason, not only birth, and can take place over Skype etc.

Community groups will all be taking place online for the foreseeable future.
We have decided to regroup some of our online groups into one larger one Wild Women Rising, which will be a source of sisterhood and strength. 

Many women are choosing last minute home births and free births, over going to hospital, which is understandable. We can support this in so many ways that we still have funding for. Please spread the word – we are not going anywhere. 

For everything else, including girls circles and antenatal classes – watch this space.
There’s lots more to share, and so many ways you can help us, but for now, please tell everyone we’re still here, and that we can help, and that we have funding. We want women to know – now more than ever – that they still have options, still have rights, that they still deserve the very best support, and that they matter.

Please also donate if you can, and take a moment to share it in your circles.
Every penny we raise from that will go toward providing birth services to women who would otherwise not have the option.

What is going on in the near future?

We’ll keep our ears to the ground so we can share events, ways to stay happy and healthy, and to keep little ones entertained. We will be posting positive news, and things that have made us smile. 

Gemma from Yes Matters has started making short informational PSHE  videos for kids and their parents, along with homework. This is an area she has so much expertise in, and we want them to be watched and shared as much as possible, because this subject is just so important for young people.

We’ll be making lots more videos too, so let us know if there’s any burning questions you’d like answered – whether it’s birth related or personal, send us a message on FB or email us. We’ll be going live on facebook every evening at 8.30pm so stay connected and join us if you can.

Elle, Lori & Amy x

rainbow ball pool balls
Doulas, News

Sunday Circular ⭕

rainbow ball pool balls

Happy ‘it’s-almost-the-end-of-half-term’ weekend! Soft play, birthday parties, cinema trips, museums, raiding hobbycraft… loving the extra time with the little ones, but girl are we tired! 

It’s that time again. Here’s our Sunday circular . Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

This last week has been half term for Lori & Elle so it’s been a week of squeezing in work whenever we can. There was some last minute postnatal support, and more work behind the scenes for our new antenatal workshops and circles for girls. 

In addition to being an amazing doula, Amy has been a busy bee doing extra support worker shifts and working for her sister’s local biz Clara and Macy. Here she is working hard in the studio!

 

Elle and Lori met with a funder for the first time! We were so incredibly nervous but Amy doulaed us from afar and hopefully we did a great job of sharing what we do and explaining how our project with benefit communities in Manchester 🤞.

We also blew up Nell the pool so we could give her a clean, and test out a new universal liner for our pool hire service. We really hope to get the scheme up and running soon and will be providing liners and other accessories, free of charge to anyone who would otherwise struggle to purchase them.

Elle and Lori in Home Community Cafe
Elle and Lori feeling nervous
Elle sat in a birth pool
Ahoy there!
Questions for the doulas

What do you do when no one else is around?

L: Get cosy and eat snacks in bed, with Netflix on.
E: Eating in bed, definitely. Or the bath, while watching TV with my little bath table Lori got me.
A: Sing really loud (usually in my car so not even my neighbours can hear me).

How do you like to be comforted when you’re sad or upset?

E: I like to be alone.
A: A cup of tea, a hug and just letting me be sad until I’m ready to not be sad anymore.
L: For someone to offer me a hug and to listen.

What’s your favourite thing you own and why?

A: My passport because it’s almost all I need to see the rest of the world.
L: My electric blanket because cosiness is life, and a crystal Elle gave me, it gives me strength and helps me feel grounded.
E: My nanna’s keyboard because happy memories.

lesbian communeIf money was no object, what would you buy?

L: A beautiful island to start a community of badass women.
E: A ticket to Lori’s utopia.
A: Probably everything I need to convert my van

Where do you want to travel the most?

E: New Zealand. Some of my favourite comedy and music is from there, and it’s so beautiful. It’s the land of Xena, what else needs to be said.
A: Everywhere! But probably Australia if I had to choose.
L: The Pacific Islands 🏝️

What’s coming up?

manchester birth workers information circleOn Tuesday afternoon we are hosting the next Manchester Birth Workers Circle at Ice Shack in Withington. It’s a great opportunity for local birth workers –  anyone working, or with an interest in working in, pregnancy and the childbearing year-  to support one another and to network.

The Women Reclaiming Birth Circle was due to be on Thursday, however we have decided to postpone this one until we can confirm a more accessible venue.


The Wild Mothering Circle will be getting together again on Friday afternoon. Join our facebook group to keep up to date with topics and the venue as we’ve had some unexpected changes for the last couple of meets.

How can you help at the minute?

We are on the lookout for spaces to hold drop-ins for women in the community to access our support, in particular Holding Space sessions. If you know of anywhere or you work with pregnant women and new mums and would like to chat about a partnership, we’d love to hear more!

Fancy buying us a coffee? We are incredibly passionate about the work we do. Whether it is in our local community, working directly with women, in online forums, or at the variety of community groups we facilitate, we’re here ready to hold space and support women however they need us to. If you believe in what we do and think it is important or if you have benefitted from our support in any way and want to give back, we would hugely appreciate. Every contribution is another way we fill our cups and helps us to keep doing what we’re doing. Huge thank you to everyone who has bought us a coffee so far!

We’d love to know what you think of our weekly round-ups. Let us know and we hope you have a wonderful week. 💖

Amy, Elle & Lori x

 

stormy sea
Doulas, Funding, News, Uncategorized

Saturday sound off 🗣️

stormy sea

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…

chalkboardWhat 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!

woman sat in a van smilingAmy 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.   

Greggs giftcardWe 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

wonder womanWhat 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.

birth ballHow 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.

choose us as your co-op local cause

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!

Lori, Elle & Amy

amy lori and elle in ice shack
 
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

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

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.