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Funding, News

COVID-19 response funding from National Lottery Community Fund

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

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

Why have a COVID-19 response project?

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

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

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

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

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What are you planning on doing?

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

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

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

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

Much love,

Lori, Elle & Amy   

 

 

 

Doulas, News

Humpday Update 🐪

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

What have we been up to?

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

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

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

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

Questions for the doulas: This or That edition!

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

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

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

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

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

What we’ve been working on

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

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

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

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

What’s coming up?

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

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

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

Have a wonderful rest of the week.

Lots of love

Lori, Amy & Elle x

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

 

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