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Show Yourself

“Show yourself” is the climax of Elsa’s journey. Throughout her life she has waited for someone else to give her answers but at this point she recognises that she’s been waiting for herself, she’s her own goddess and fully accepts herself for who she is. She sets her doubts aside, lets her fears go and steps into her power. She embraces all that she is in a wonderful empowering moment. This is the ultimate in self love.

We all experience resistance to accept who we are, and knowing that who we are, is enough. Changing a belief that you have held for a long time, a belief that you have been socialised to believe, one that you carry in your physical being, is difficult. We all want to be accepted and feel we have to show up in a specific way to be loved and accepted. We filter our experiences to give people what we think they want to know so that we are not avoided. We feel like we are doing the right thing, but does the right thing make you feel free? Trying to control what others think and what you think to a certain extent, is exhausting. This struggle & conflict comes from the judgement you make of your experience not the actual experience itself. Failure, guilt, shame, whatever it may be. Feeling the feeling is not the problem, it’s what we make it mean about ourselves. Our inner narrative. The pain comes from not accepting what is, not being able to speak your truth. The more we speak our truth, through personal stories, we provide the space and opportunity for other women to do the same. We heal and others heal around us.

I am guilty of this. I have a story that I don’t share outside of a very few close friends. It is taboo. It is personal. I don’t share it, to protect other people; to prevent them from feeling uncomfortable. Despite the fact “every inch of me is trembling but not from the cold”, I want to tell my story. In a world that makes it difficult for women to speak out, it could give another woman the strength that she needs. So here goes;

I’m Sarah and on 13th December 2019 I lost a baby. I was around 8 weeks pregnant and excited. It was too early to know the sex of my baby but my instinct tells me she was a girl. My instinct also told me that she was dead, but I wanted it confirmed. They confirmed, I had experienced a miscarriage with an internal scan (transvaginal ultrasound scan). There were 4 health professionals trying to figure it out while I lay numb, staring at a ceiling full of bright lights. Then there was the clinical room I was put in with a box of tissues, a hospital bed and more bright lights, before being asked to leave. There was no follow up, no explanation, no support, no signposting, no offerings of any kind.

I’d had a miscarriage. What kind of word is that? The term miscarriage is comprised of two words: mis, meaning “mistakenly, wrongly or badly” and -carriage, a “means of conveyance”. I hadn’t made a mistake or done anything wrong had I? People also used the term “spontaneous abortion”. An abortion is a wilful act and I did not wish for this. I had lost my baby, my baby had died.

I wish that I hadn’t needed that confirmation, I wish I had trusted myself, I wish I had declined the internal scan. I didn’t want a robot poking around in my baby’s home. What if she was trying to hold on and my decision caused her so much fear that it led to the end of her life?

Then there was blood. It was only a bit, until it wasn’t, and then it was a lot, “a river full of memory”. There was a clot. The clot was baby shaped. It was just lying on the toilet roll. I’m sitting on the toilet, phone out of reach, tears rolling down my face, staring at my lifeless baby on a piece of toilet roll. Can I take a picture? Would I ever look at the picture? Could I ever show anyone the picture? Could I hang it on the wall with the family photos? But that’s all I’ve got of my baby. Still to this day, I wish it was decent toilet roll.

The blood was a continuous reminder of what was happening. Walking around, acting like everything was ok but I was actually losing my baby. A human that I was growing, I had bonded with, I had already imagined a life including her. Looking for sanitary towels in the supermarket, struggling to see my options through my tears even though the lights were brighter than the sun, trying to understand how much I’m going to bleed, what would work best. Why are there so many options? I’d know who to ask if we openly spoke about this. Why does no one talk about their baby dying?

You tell so few people that you are pregnant before 12 weeks (who made this a thing!), so no one even knows! No one seems to care. I don’t want to start a conversation, “I was pregnant”. What if they mishear and congratulate me, what if they don’t know what to say, what if the “was” confuses them, what if, what if, what if! And all the sorrys, they just don’t quite cut it.

My mind is a jumble of questions. I want answers that no one can give me. Am I being dramatic? What if I can’t get pregnant again? Why couldn’t I keep my baby safe? What is happening in my body? Did I do something to cause this? Could I have prevented this? Do I say I have 2 or 3 children? Do people even class an 8 week old foetus as a baby? Is the information I am giving a few select people too much or controversial? The questions are endless, they eat you up during the day, they eat you up at night, they take over!

And I should be grateful, I have two children already. I am grateful for my children, so grateful, more than I have the words for, but I can’t be grateful for this. I can be grateful and hate this. And while we’re on other children, when the hell do you grieve when you have other children around?

Even when you don’t carry your baby to term, there is a postpartum period. Mine wasn’t honoured in the way a postpartum period should be. Why does it not get honoured? Why are women not nurtured through this stage? Why is no one holding space for me? I’m responsible for just getting on with it, not asking for the help I so desperately wanted and needed, not asking for the physical and emotional space I needed but the offers never came.

So, I began to live my life on autopilot. Pushing these memories and emotions to the back of my mind so I can be present in my life, present for my children, yet spontaneously bursting into tears at random things. The emotions wash over me in the strangest places and at the strangest times. The shame that I did something wrong. I really understood the pain of the women that came before me and will come after me.

I’m also carrying huge guilt that I haven’t honoured my baby. How do you remember a baby that you lost? There seems to be so many suggestions that did not resonate with me at all; With pictures. The only picture I have is of the tiny baby shaped clot on the shitty toilet tissue! I can’t put that on display. With baby clothes that I hadn’t yet bought or my baby had never worn. With an empty memory box. I’m so angry with myself that I threw the pregnancy test away. I have memories but nothing tangible. Plant a tree? I’m well known for killing all plant specimens I acquire. I can’t be responsible for killing the memory of my baby. I don’t want that responsibility. Visit a special place. Oh how I wished I could climb inside my baby’s home and just be. As Pink says, “Could you beam me up? Give me a minute. I don’t know what I’d say in it. Probably just stare, happy just to be there holdin’ your face”. (Yes, Pink’s song, “beam me up”, is about baby loss and is epic, although I’m obsessed, so probably a little biased). Speaking her name would make this all so real. Light a candle. I know this is a known and popular way to remember people that have died, making it scary to voice my feelings around this, but they are my feelings, and I don’t want the memory of my baby to burn out and fade away.

It was on the second anniversary of my baby’s death that I found the answer. “I’ve never felt so certain” about anything. A doula course with a big focus on baby loss. A course allowing me to gain wisdom to support women in a similar position. A way to honour my baby. To be a pair of non-judgmental ears for other women, to see them, to hear them. To nourish another woman’s heart and soul while they heal themselves. “I’m here for a reason. Could this be the reason I was born”

Different societies and cultures shape our understanding of fear. They teach us when to fear and how much to fear but it can be unnecessary and mean that we avoid doing things that would be beneficial to us and others. Sharing your story gives you the power to own it. If women do not say what they want, what they desire, how they feel, the world will fill in the gaps and create what they think women want and feel. Personal stories help us make sense of the struggles that we face, they grip people emotionally, they give people the feeling they are part of something bigger, they have power; the power to shape our lives and lives of those listening. “Step into your power…..You have secrets, too, But you don’t have to hide”

Don’t be me. Don’t carry on in silence. “I have always been a fortress, cold secrets deep inside. You have secrets too, but you don’t have to hide” Talk to us, talk to someone who can hold space for you both physically and emotionally. Honour your postpartum period. Find a way that feels right for you to honour your baby. Don’t speak to make others comfortable, speak your truth and your tribe will hear you. Be authentic, be open, be vulnerable, be self-aware, and connect from your heart with intention.

“I’m no longer trembling. Show yourself, I’m dying to meet you. Show yourself, it’s your turn”. I invite you to show yourself. Your true self. Be the woman you need, be the gift that other women need. Tell the story you need to hear. Empower yourself and the women around you. We would love to hear your story either publicly or privately. We are here for everything you have going on; you matter to us. Please get in touch if we can support you in any way. 

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The NHS leaflet on unassisted birth and why it was a complete waste of time

Two years ago, back in 2020 when homebirth services had been taken away from women, birth centres closed, many women were faced with choosing to either give birth on an obstetric unit where the risk of PPH, tears, episiotomies and instrumental birth is much higher, or at home unassisted. The NHS decided to create a leaflet to give women information on unassisted birth. The NHS asked the MVP (Maternity Voices Partnership) to ask women what content was important to them.


The MVP representative posts on a freebirth group: “Hi all, the NHS are producing a leaflet for freebirthers to give them information about notifying and registering their baby’s birth. I’m helping review this tomorrow morning. Is there anything you feel particularly needs to be included? What about the language? We want it to be supportive but also make sure people are aware that it is a legal duty to do these things. Your ideas would be most welcome.”“​​I’ve been asked to talk to freebirthing women about what should be included so we can co-produce something with the NHS. I’m hoping when we get a draft together I’ll be able to share it for further input. It’s a blank slate at this stage to request whatever info we think is needed to get it included in the leaflet.”

There were over 60 responses to this one post in a group for the North West of England, but I’m sure there were many others in other areas. Responses included things like:
“clear information of how to notify of a birth yourself”
“Would it cover health visitation/gp registration/vaccines too? They were all things we had issues with” she goes on to say this was a struggle because her doctor refused to register her baby without having newborn checks (which is coercion because the checks are completely optional!)
“There needs to be a clear statement that the RCM / NMC / NHS recognise that freebirth is a right. All treatment / care / tests offered are optional.” – Okay, they did state this is a legal right at the beginning, but then proceeded to ONLY talk about the services they offer
“Definitely how to notify of birth. I’m still struggling to find information in my area, no one seems to know anything?” “I’ve asked the head of midwifery for the information but she just told me how dangerous freebirthing was and how my husband could be prosecuted if he acted as midwife.” – so despite them saying in this leaflet that self-notifying is a legal requirement and that your midwife can help you with this, women’s lived experience is that they actually won’t.
“It was a big worry for us not knowing how/who to inform and felt like i couldn’t bring the freebirth option up in front of any healthcare provider.”
“a note about there being freebirth groups that may offer support can’t imagine NHS would suggest you could have support as they do not want women to have freebirths.” – You’re not wrong, they definitely don’t mention any support outside of the NHS, and what they have mentioned is not support.
“Include that trying to get women to give reasons why for their decisions or change their minds is harassment and a violation of human rights for privacy (the 1998 human rights act) and human right to not be subjected to mental distress and degrading treatment.” – YES! But instead they have said that if you’re considering a freebirth you should talk to a consultant midwife… and we all know where that leads.


So here is my take of the NHS leaflet ‘for those considering giving birth unassisted by a midwife’. It’s taken me a while to write this because when I first read it I felt like I had wasted 4 minutes of my life. I’m writing this now because I have been supporting women in GM to freebirth for a few years now and have attempted to find information for them multiple times which is proving almost impossible to find. I re-read the above post and the comments of suggested content for the leaflet, then re-read the leaflet and felt compelled to write something about the clear lack of interest in what women actually want.


This two-page leaflet is dreadful. None of the things that women want to know are included! It states that freebirth is a “a legal choice in England.” and that their “commitment is to listen and respect your informed choices.” but then goes on to only talk abo​​ut the services that the NHS offer… nothing to do with freebirth at all and it’s clear that they have not listened to women in the slightest when creating this leaflet. Nobody said in the comments that what they would like from this leaflet is more information on what maternity services can do for them – because they already know this. This information is really easy to find, and is the default for most women. The maternity service is something that we are expected to engage in and use, so we already know what they offer. But here they lay out a handy list of all of the things you’ll be “offered” despite the fact that you have already declined them:

Extract from the leaflet


Of course, they have promised to give unbiased and evidence-based information, but then only list the “benefits” of having a midwife present. It doesn’t list any of the risks of having a midwife present at your birth, but that’s unsurprising given the source. This is not unbiased or evidence-based information, nor is the information often given to women in her appointments.


They are not respecting women’s choices. In fact, they specifically say that if your choice to freebirth is based on fear of bad treatment from maternity services (which is a very valid fear), that you should engage with them MORE, and medicalise your pregnancy further by speaking to a consultant midwife. That does not say “respecting your informed choice” to me. To me it sounds like “you clearly don’t know what you want so come and talk to us and we’ll tell you what you need”.

Extract from the leaflet


The most common thing women said in the comment here was that they wanted information on how to self-notify the birth of their baby without involving medical professionals. Women are still struggling to find the right information on self-notifying, which is just ridiculous. I have tried to contact the relevant services to ask the question for clients and nobody seems to know the answer.


So, after they’ve given women absolutely no information about freebirth, they have rounded it off by reminding them that the NHS will continue to pester women throughout their pregnancy and postpartum:

Extract from the leaflet


This is not reassuring.

They have at least touched on the legal requirements in this section, but alas no useful information but instead just redirect women back to maternity services. From experience, and from hearing many women’s stories, it is not as simple as asking your local midwifery team who you should contact to self-notify, because they don’t want to give that information away.


It’s really clear from this leaflet that NHS maternity services do not support a woman’s choice to freebirth. If they did, they would have actually given us useful information. The information that women actually asked for, and have been asking for for a long time to no end. Information that is needed to fulfil our legal duty to notify of a birth within a ridiculous time window. How can something be a legal requirement and yet is made so difficult to actually do? Why is it that, despite the fact that it is our legal right to decline all medical care, there is a nifty requirement in law that can seemingly only be fulfilled by engaging in the very service that we have the right to opt-out of? Why is the NHS the gatekeeper of this information? Women want to be able to notify of their birth without engaging with midwives or health visitors or doctors. Why? Because women know that intervention leads to more intervention. Women know that social services are often used as a weapon. Women know that birth is a normal bodily function and not a medical event, and therefore should not need the presence of a medical professional at any stage. Women want to be in control of their own body and take care of their baby, and they know how to do that.


We are attempting to put together a list of contact details for the different areas in Greater Manchester and further afield, so if anyone who is reading this managed to find the right info for your area, even if you’re outside of GM, please message us!

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“What else can I do?” – Isabela Madrigal

Okay so it’s about time we talked about Encanto! Firstly, love it and can’t get the songs out of my head. Secondly, yes yes yes to all these strong female characters!!

I love all of the characters and each one probably deserves their own blog post but I’ll start with Isabela’s story because it did get me thinking and I wanted to share those thoughts with you.

Isabela has spent her life until this point doing what everybody expects of her, maintaining the “perfect” exterior and never colouring outside the lines. She is a classic people-pleaser and of course on the surface seems to have it all, until she falls apart and reveals how shit it is to live like that. The line “so much hides behind my smile” rings loud and clear for a lot of us. Within her song she realises that if she does create something that is imperfect or not what is expected of her, it actually feels amazing! This one revelation spirals quickly and she realises that there is no limit to what she CAN do and that she no longer needs to please everybody, just herself. This is HUGE! We could all do with a dose of not giving a fuck about what others want from us.

It got me thinking about a lot of women we meet who are engaging in the maternity system not because they want to, but because they think it’s what they should be doing and it will make everyone else around them more comfortable. They may not have even considered whether this IS something they want to do or not. Sometimes these women take a stand on one thing, maybe it’s a growth scan they know they don’t need or a test for something that wouldn’t actually change any of their plans. It feels good to say “NO” to something that isn’t serving you! For a lot of women though, it feels like they are pushing it each time they say no, and that maybe they should say yes to some things just to keep everyone happy. But here is the thing, women who continue to only say yes to things that serve them and say no to everything else come out of birth feeling powerful and thinking… “what else can I do?”. They often go on to do other things their own way! They no longer do things just to please other people, but do things because they know it is right for them. 

The maternity system can often feel like an opt-out system that you have to go through, but that you have some degree of choice along the way. Often these choices are presented as ‘intervention A’ vs ‘intervention B’ which gives the illusion of choice without actually presenting all of the options. However, the maternity system is actually the opposite. It is an opt-in system which means that every interaction you have with them is on your terms. You have no obligation to engage AT ALL if you don’t want to. So there is no limit to how much you can say no. You are not pushing your luck, you are not being awkward or difficult, you are not asking for the world, you are simply deciding which parts, if any, you want to opt-in to. Once you start making those decisions for yourself instead of feeling funnelled down a certain path, you will start to wonder “where is the limit here?” (there isn’t one!) and “can I just do what feels right for me in every other situation in life?” (yes and you absolutely should!).

We know that the patriarchy can’t handle women who know and trust themselves and make their voices heard, women who are not reliant on the systems built by and for men, so when women come out of birth feeling fucking amazing and invincible, it threatens the patriarchy. The women we know who have given birth outside of the system, or on their own terms, have gone on to question all of the other bullshit we are told in life and this is where real freedom happens. It can feel overwhelming for sure to question everything, but this is where our power lies.

Figure out what YOU need, what YOU want and make it happen. Then ask yourself, “what else can I do?”.

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A Beautiful Rebirth Story

Have you had a birth experience that you wish had gone a little (or a lot) differently? You are not alone.
We know that many women experience trauma during their pregnancy and birth due to the way they are treated by those around them. One way to process some of the things that may have happened during birth is to have a ‘rebirth ceremony‘. This can look however you wish, below is an example from one woman’s experience – she would like to remain anonymous but we are incredibly grateful for her allowing us to share her story and wise words with you.

“I heard about rebirthing being a thing, possibly in one of GMD online groups, after I had my second baby and it appealed to me.

My births had been one traumatic hospital birth and one much better, transformative home birth supported by the GMDs. Even though the second one was so great in so many ways, I still actually had regrets that haunted me about both births. They were all basically about letting health staff interfere and impose and talk me into things that weren’t right and that had caused damage, stress or other  negative effects. 

Talking these regrets  through with the doulas and having rewind therapy helped, but when I heard about rebirthing and saw a description of someone else’s I knew I wanted to do it. 

There is no fixed way to do it, so I really just had to take inspiration from whatever I found online, think about what I wanted and create my own ceremony. It was during lockdown when restrictions were high so having the doulas over didn’t seem like an option but I did manage to have them involved online and I hired a birth pool from them for the ceremony too.

I reflected in the lead up on what was good and bad about the birth and how I would change it if I could. I planned to set that scene as best I could and have a fun and meaningful ceremony based around that.

 Basically, on reflection, I felt that I should not have involved health staff in my births and if I had my time again I would have given birth at home without them but with doula support. I would have made it more beautiful downstairs and with a bit of luck, because my husband wouldnt have been busy dealing with the midwives, he would have had the time and focus to fill the pool in time.

 It was a quick labour during my second birth at home and it didnt take long before I didn’t want to move. So between that and my husband being distracted by the midwives, I missed the birth pool window. I had set up a nice nest for early labour in an  upstairs bedroom so that was fine, but part of the reason I did that was because I wanted to feel safe and private and have somewhere to hide.  This wouldn’t have been as much of a concern without the midwives there. So I reasoned that I would make it to the pool in my ideal scenario. 

Being in the pool would have been a nice experience but it would also have helped relieve pain and minimise tearing, as would not having midwives there telling me to change position and coaching me to push the second time or inducing me before baby and I were ready the first time. 

 On the day I got into what I would have worn if I was giving birth and sat quietly where I probably would have been in early labour and where I was the second time. I reflected and listened to music and relaxed alone like I would have done in early labour, like I did the second time. I think I listened to my hypnobirthing CD too. 

I had an online holding space session with the GMDs then, which helped to make it feel more important and momentous and gave me a bit of TLC and support. I talked through with them what I regretted and what I would do differently and  how my ideal births would have been, and also the positives of the births and becoming a Mum. 

Then eventually I made my way down. My husband and eldest had filled up the pool and things were set up how I’d have wanted them for both my births with pool, music, lights, floaty things in water, food, drinks, towels, etc.

After spending some time alone in the pool imagining what labour would have been like in there, the baby was handed to me who was dying to get in! She was 1 by then, just about to have her birthday, so not a baby in arms. I had read about trying to simulate birth (without risking drowning baby obvs) – holding them safely to float around gently in the water near you and then bringing baby up to your chest and cuddling and feeding as if you had just birthed – so I did that as best I could. 

Baby didn’t want to feed yet and was quite wriggly as she was so excited to be in the water. So I let her play around in the water. Eventually she calmed and wanted to feed and I  was able to bring her up for a feed and that felt like the rounding off of the main rebirthing ceremony of my youngest.

My eldest got in then and we talked about how I’d have done this with both of them if I knew then what I knew now and why I thought it was the best way. We had a nice cuddle too. 

Some things I’ve read talk about talking through what happened at the birth and what went wrong and apologising to the baby if you feel bad. I may have quietly done that a bit with baby I can’t remember but I kept it mainly positive with my eldest who was 6, emphasising what a good memory it was of them both coming into the world and our lives. 

Then husband got in and It was a family celebration then and we had food like it would have been in my ideal births. No midwives! And my placenta would have come out of its own accord at some point of course during that time. And there would be no unnecessary transferring to hospital, just staying home.

I bought a special fancy two piece swimming costume that would have been good to birth in and flowery head dresses to make it more special and fancy costumes for the kids, though baby was naked for the ceremony. I had pretend leaves and floaty lotus flower lights to decorate the water and waterproof fairy lights around it. There were candles and fairy lights elsewhere. I just tried to play music I would have played for the different stages.

It was pretty chilled. Photos were taken but I didn’t want it to just be a photo shoot. I wanted it to feel like a meaningful experience and ritual and a celebration too. So I did what I could to achieve that. 

It was really nice and special. I think it did help me to set things right in my head, heart and body and symbolically reclaim my births.

There seems to be good evidence that re-enacting and rewriting traumatic experiences can help healing, even if it is just done in your imagination. People feel that replaying birth physically with babies, sometimes just in the bath, helps mother and baby get over trauma and reset. I don’t know about evidence for that but I’ve read that it can help to establish feeding better in early days. As oxytocin helps with all that it makes sense on that level alone if you set things up nicely and have a nice cuddly time. 

For me it was a year later for one birth and six for the other but it still felt healing and empowering and I hope it may even have been healing and resolving on some level for my husband and the kids too. Another year on, I don’t tend to feel haunted by painful regrets much now. I’ve done various things to process it all including talking, writing and the rewind therapy for my first birth, but I’m sure the rebirthing was a significant part of my healing and recovery.

The Greater Manchester Doulas really helped to make it feel special and important and helped me to have the courage and make the effort to do it. If it wasn’t for them I might have felt too silly or shy or decided that it was probably too much of a self-indulgent palaver and thought better of it. Their validation and encouragement helped me to hold on to the value of it, not lose my nerve and see it through. I’d recommend considering a rebirthing ceremony to anyone with niggling regrets and I’d recommend the support of the GMD if you do it.”

Birth, Uncategorized

Sweeps ARE induction (…and there is nothing natural about them)

There is an abundance of misinformation given to women about the infamous ‘stretch and sweep’. This misinformation leads women to believe that a sweep is completely harmless, and in some cases necessary! The feeling that comes from these kinds of ideas is that labour needs help to start and that it would be dangerous to do nothing, undermining the fact that labour is a perfect system that involves lots of hormonal changes before any obvious signs of labour can be detected.

 

Misinformation Exhibit A:

A poster that was displayed in the waiting room of a maternity clinic

Where do I begin? 
Maybe from the top and work our way down.

 

1.Let’s start with due dates. Due dates are calculated on the assumption that all women have the same length menstrual cycle. This is simply not the case, they can differ hugely from woman to woman, month to month. The “normal” range of being full term is between 37 – 42 weeks, so that is already a wide window but it doesn’t take into account how many women are induced due to the fear of going “overdue” (like a library book). So in reality, if we were all left to our own devices this window of normality would probably stretch much further. Whilst we’re on the topic of being left to our own devices – have you ever heard of a woman being pregnant forever? I haven’t. I have heard so many times “I’ve never gone into labour before so I don’t even know if I can” or “I wasn’t going into labour so I had to be induced”. There is no reason to think that your body wouldn’t go into labour naturally given enough time and patience, it is the healthcare system’s incessant need to interfere that undermines women’s confidence in this.

 

2. The next point of focus on this awful poster is the second line; “want to start labour naturally?” … WHAT?! The only natural way for labour to start is to leave well alone because anything that you try to bring labour on before it naturally would, isn’t labour ‘starting naturally’. The other important thing to ask here is why would we want to start labour early? The only reason women feel pressure to “kick things off” is because of the information they are being given about due dates and going past them. That pressure is coming from the maternity service, so they are offering a “solution”. Sweeps are often offered as a way to “avoid induction” but a sweep IS part of induction.

 

3. So you’ve so far been told that approaching your due date means that you must want to get labour going, and that having someone put their fingers inside you to “sweep” around your cervix is a “natural way to induce labour”, and that you should talk to your community midwife about it. I’m not sure about you but the information they’ve given so far isn’t exactly filling me with confidence that talking to them about it would benefit anybody. It is easy to tell from this poster that birth is not seen as a normal bodily function because there is a continuous want to DO something or measure something or fix it. Midwives have to follow the policies of their hospital, and clearly, this hospital (like many others) see birth as something to be managed, which includes inducing labour at all costs. Offering a more “natural method” of a sweep (rather than a chemical method) seems like a compromise, and women are expected to take this compromise to avoid being pressured into further induction techniques. The idea that you can only avoid a formal induction by having a sweep suggests that saying no isn’t enough and won’t be respected. But here’s the thing… you don’t have to compromise. If you don’t want an induction, you don’t have to have one. You can tell your midwife that you will not have an induction and therefore don’t want to discuss it any further, and if they do bring it up against your wishes then you can tell them that they are harassing you. There are many, many ways to avoid the pressure to be induced, but having a sweep isn’t one of them because it is a form of induction, and once you have said yes to one form of induction, it becomes much harder to say no to the rest.

 

4. ‘Available at your local clinic from 40 weeks pregnant’ despite the fact that most women who are 40 weeks pregnant have already been offered multiple sweeps. The main purpose of a sweep is to avoid going post-term (two weeks past your only 5% accurate due date), and the reason for that is based on the increased still-birth rate associated with post-term pregnancy. The research for this is varied, but there are 10 years worth of CEMACH, CMACE and MBRRACE reports that actually show a lower percentage of stillbirths in women who gestate for 42+ weeks, compared to women who gestate for between 37 – 41 weeks.

 

5. ‘Successful for 8 out of 10 women’… I’m not sure where they have found this stat or what they consider to be “successful”. The most recent Cochrane review on the topic, done in February 2020, states “Membrane sweeping appears to be effective in promoting labour but current evidence suggests this did not, overall, follow on to unassisted vaginal births.” So it might be the case that a sweep can trick the body into contracting, but is that really a success if it just leads to a longer, more exhausting labour with more interventions? 

A stretch and sweep can only be performed if the cervix is “favourable”, meaning your body is already preparing for labour (so it’s probably imminent anyway), which means that for women who do go into labour following a sweep it might be that their body was already ready to go into labour and would have done so regardless of whether they had the intervention or not. There is no way to know this, but if you ask around I’m sure the majority of women who went into labour after a sweep has had more than one sweep previous to that one and did not go into labour, so it could have just been a coincidence.

The review also found that women who had a sweep were “less likely to have a formal induction”, but this only perpetuates the notion that a formal induction is inevitable and non-negotiable. What actually makes any form of induction less likely is giving women all of the information and breaking the cycle of thinking that women’s bodies are incapable of going into labour on their own. 

 

6. ‘No known side effects’ … this is a blatant and dangerous lie.

Stretch and sweeps can cause;

  • Pain during and after the procedure
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Painful contractions for the following 24 hours without leading to labour
  • Longer labours
  • An increased risk of infection
  • An increased risk of rupturing the membranes

And for what purpose?

The Cochrane review found that it did not generally lead to labour within 24 hours, and it did not reduce the incidences of further intervention such as the use of synthetic oxytocin and instrumental births. The very fact that a sweep can cause contractions that aren’t effective will lengthen labour, and there is often a lot of pressure put of women who have been contracting for 24 hours, makes you wonder whether there are actually any known benefits.

 

7. ‘Unlike curry!!’ 

This is clearly meant to mock the more “natural methods” of induction, but as I said at the beginning, anything that you do to try to bring on labour is a form of induction, whether it is chemical or otherwise so they fall under the same umbrella, except eating a curry doesn’t involve someone putting their fingers inside your vagina. The theory behind the curry method is the irritation spicy food can cause to your bowel, which could potentially trick the body into contracting. But, unlike sweeps, eating curry (if you like curry) has many benefits and not just to pregnant women! These include;

  • Satisfying hunger
  • Spicy foods tend to release endorphins which can give you a bit of a buzz
  • Cooking curry can be really fun
  • It tastes great
  • If you don’t like it or it is causing you discomfort/pain, you can stop eating it instantly without having to tell anyone (unlike having a sweep where, if you wanted it to stop, you would have to rely on the midwife performing the procedure to listen to and respect your decision, which isn’t always the case)

 

In conclusion, this poster is a load of shit and is a perfect representation of how frequently women are misinformed in pregnancy and how flippantly this is done. It shows how easily things become routine without really being based on any solid evidence. It also says a lot about the systemic mistrust in women’s bodies and the belief that they need help to perform the most natural of bodily functions.

If you find yourself being offered or pressured into a “quick sweep to get things started” or any other kind of induction, take whatever time you need to go through the BRAIN acronym and consider the benefits, risks and alternatives to what is being offered, check in with your intuition and ask yourself (and your midwife if you want) what happens next if you accept the intervention and what happens if you decide to do nothing. All of this information will help you to make the decision that is right for you.

If you want to chat about any of these decisions or navigating the maternity system, feel free to get in touch with us and book a ‘holding space’ session by emailing hello@greatermanchesterdoulas.com

 

Related Sources:

https://billieharrigan.com/blog/2019/5/6/birth-hijacked-the-ritual-membrane-sweep

https://www.aims.org.uk/journal/item/induction-at-term

https://www.sarawickham.com/articles-2/unpacking-sweeping-policies/

https://www.aims.org.uk/journal/item/ten-things

https://www.cochrane.org/CD000451/PREG_membrane-sweeping-induction-labour

https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/crdweb/ShowRecord.asp?LinkFrom=OAI&ID=12011000682&LinkFrom=OAI&ID=12011000682

Uncategorized

Why it takes so much more than just hiring a doula to have a good birth

 

As we hear more and more about doulas, it’s easy to get the impression that having a doula will somehow magically lead to having a better birth experience. It often feels like one of the things on the ‘positive birth’ checklist; hire a doula, do a hypnobirthing class, read a birth book etc. and it’s true that having a doula can significantly reduce the risk of interventions and birth trauma, but that is largely due to the work that a woman does with her doula, and by herself, during pregnancy.

What we have learnt from women

Through our years of working as doulas in Greater Manchester, we have come to realise that birthing within the maternity system can and often will come with complications, barriers and difficulties. One of the best ways to combat these hurdles is to know what’s coming. Knowing how the maternity service works and knowing their policies gives you a head-start and also shows you that there are other options, such as birthing outside of the system. Knowing your rights and your options are the first steps to having a positive birth. A doula can support you in learning all of this, provide you with information and books on the subject, they can give you information about how the system works and how you can navigate it, and tell you all about the birth process, but it takes you to make the difference. 

Women who have had a traumatic birth in the past often come to us believing that their body failed them and that they need to do something different this time. Hiring a doula is a great start because it gives them the space to talk openly about what happened last time, a place to wonder whether those things were necessary or completely unacceptable, a place to cry and ask questions. Once women learn and start to believe that the process of birth is not inherently dangerous, and is not a medical event, it leads to an awakening that is incomparable. Getting to this point though takes a whole load of courage and openness from that woman, and when that woman is heard, she can find the answers she’s been looking for. So many of the women we listen to were having a perfectly normal, healthy pregnancy and labour until it was interfered with by medical staff, and realising that sometimes complications in birth are caused by the interference is key to protecting themselves against it. Their body did not fail them, the system did.

We have been programmed to think that authority means safety, but in so many instances we have been proven that in fact, the opposite is the case. When we trust someone else’s word over our own feelings of discomfort, we are left feeling violated. When we look to someone else for the answers, especially in birth, we are handing over our control and ignoring our intuition. We often hear in women’s stories that the parts that felt the most traumatic are when they went against what their body was telling them, and just did what they were told – so far I haven’t met a woman who regretted following her body. Our intuition is what has kept us alive and safe for so long, and birth is such a private and personal event that it makes very little sense to look for external approval or guidance. When we trust women, birth is safe. A doula is often the only person in the birth room who is solely focused on you, as the birthing woman, and having someone who completely believes and trusts in your body at that moment can make a huge difference to the energy. Questioning the authority of medical staff is necessary to get the birth you want, because going with someone else’s flow will inevitably lead you down a path that makes you uncomfortable or feels wrong. You ARE the authority, and you DO know best, even if you have never birthed before. Birth is a hormonal event and a normal bodily function – if you were monitored, observed and examined whilst trying to have an orgasm it probably wouldn’t go very well, would it?

Birth is led by the hormone oxytocin – as are orgasms – and for oxytocin to be released it needs the right environment. For women to release oxytocin they need to feel safe, warm, unobserved and undisturbed, so when you put a labouring woman in a brightly lit hospital with a bunch of strangers, unfamiliar loud noises and smells, and continue disturbing her with monitoring and examinations, it’s no surprise that birth takes longer or is more difficult. When birth is undisturbed, endorphins are released to match the intensity of labour as it builds – this is what makes labour pain manageable. When we interfere with the body’s natural pain killers, we cause more harm than good. Understanding what birth needs is a great foundation for planning where you want to give birth, and who you want to be there. Doulas can be really helpful in supporting you to navigate the maternity system when you are “going against medical advice” or just declining what you are being told is “how they do things”.

What we wish women knew before giving birth

We wish that all women knew that they were in charge of their body and their birth, that they didn’t have to agree to anything that feels uncomfortable or compromise with medical staff. We wish that women knew that birth doesn’t need to be fixed or monitored or sped-up and that they have the right to say no or to seek the care they are not being offered. We wish that women who have had traumatic experiences knew that they were not alone and that what happened to them was not okay. We wish that women weren’t expected to be “good girls” and do what they are told even when it feels wrong and that it’s okay to be “difficult” or “bossy” – in fact, that shows a belief in yourself, and the ability to assert your boundaries!

The work we do is to create the space for women to ask questions, to speak up and use their voice, to take what they need and to take back their power. We listen to women’s traumatic birth stories, we help them to write birth plans, we share information and experiences, we are behind them when they are navigating the system, or choosing to birth outside of it, and we have that unwavering trust in the birth process and in the woman in front of us. 

We support their choices, we hear their voices and we are privileged enough to witness their power.

But ultimately, what makes a positive birth is a woman who is ready to go deeper, to question what she is being told, and is fully supported in her decisions.

Uncategorized

Bodily autonomy and the information we are not given

This post is sparked by my personal experience (it’s Amy here, in case my hilarious t-shirt below didn’t give that away) and also from listening to women talk about their journeys with contraception.
 
Grab yourself a brew (and maybe some biscuits) because this is a long, winding road to a very broad but important point – bare with me.
 
 
Let’s talk about contraception (and information and consent and bodily autonomy… because it’s all part of the same point)
 
Being doulas, you might think that the topic of contraception is a little out of our remit but (as I have so succinctly concluded in the subtitle) that is not the case.
 
As doulas and feminists, we respect every woman’s right to choose what is right for her body, so naturally, the topic of being informed and choices being respected is at the very core of what we believe in. Also, being full-spectrum doulas we support women before they are pregnant and long after they give birth so it does come up a fair bit.
 
 
Let’s start with sex education
Way back in school (Elle would like to point out that it wasn’t that long ago for me), we were only ever told about two or three methods of contraception. We learnt a bit about the pill, maybe a bit on the injection and of course, everyone remembers the demonstration of how to put a condom on a cucumber or banana or any other object that doesn’t look like a real penis so that the teacher doesn’t get embarrassed. I’m guessing it wasn’t all that different for you? But this isn’t enough. If you’re going to teach young people about sex and contraception, you have to tell them all of their options and what each one entails. For example, I don’t remember anyone telling us in school that the longer you are on the pill, the longer it could take to get pregnant once you stop taking it. This might seem like a very way-in-the-future conversation to have with children, but who else is going to tell us that? Especially considering lots of women go on the pill from a very young age. “Wouldn’t that be the healthcare professionals job?” I hear you ask… the answer is yes, it definitely is, but that doesn’t mean that they will fulfil that expectation. The other HUGE gap (or if talked about at all, misrepresentation) in sex education is birth, but that’s a whole other rant.
 
My personal experience with contraception
Over a period of about four years, I tried two different types of the pill and the injection before deciding to have a detox because the hormones were having a very negative effect on my mental health. The side-effects are different for everyone but the general consensus of women I have spoken to is that there is at least one pretty rough down-side to every hormonal contraception option.
 
Condoms were the only other option (that I knew of) – our readily available, non-hormonal, trusty, 98% effective friend. However, it took one of these trusty little guys to split for me to end up seeking emergency contraception. For me (and many women have a much worse time of it), that meant I had to wait about 4 hours at a walk-in clinic (feeling alone and nervous), complete an incredibly personal face-to-face questionnaire and brush off several judgemental ‘I don’t believe you’ looks, for someone to finally tell me about the copper coil! I listened intently as they told me how it was hormone-free, had very few side-effects, could stay in for 5 years (some stay in for 10!) but can be removed any time I want, it doesn’t stall fertility after removal, and it is more than 99% effective…
 
 
…SHUT THE FRIDGE!!
 
Why in the hell had nobody taught me about this option before?! I had suffered through years of hormones messing with my brain, my skin, my personality. I got it fitted that day and four years later have not regretted it once. Now, it sounds like I’m just trying to sell you all on the copper coil, that is not my intention. It works for me and I love that, but the point of my rant is…
 
Why did it take so long for someone to tell me all of my options? Who decides which methods of contraception are offered to us first? If we are born into a religion that believes abstinence is the only way – where do we get the information to decide for ourselves? If our parents decide that sex is too difficult a topic and tick the opt-out box on the sex education form, where do we learn about our body and the changes we are going to go through? Why should other people get to decide what information we get about puberty, sex and contraception? It’s the first step towards bodily autonomy and nobody wants to talk about it! Maybe because bodily autonomy isn’t something that society wants us to have. Working as a doula has taught me that.
 
This power play continues throughout our lives, with anything to do with women’s bodies from contraception, boundaries, birth and beyond.
 
(Sorry, it took me a while to get to the point! Have another biscuit…)
 
From a friends experience
A few years ago, before I was no longer shocked by the controls put on women and their bodies, my friend was seeking the morning after pill at a pharmacy. She had gone to the only pharmacy open that Sunday morning, she steeled herself, walked up to the desk in the not-so-private supermarket aisle where the pharmacy is located and told the pharmacist what she wanted to purchase. There was no medical reason for her to be unable to access the morning-after pill, but the pharmacist said no. He said that he could not dispense the pill because of his personal beliefs.
 
 
I couldn’t believe this was legal, especially with something as time-sensitive as the morning-after pill. I furiously googled it and found that yep, apparently, pharmacists have an opt-out clause which gives them the power to inflict their personal views onto others, potentially causing an unwanted pregnancy. Technically, if a pharmacist exercises this ridiculous clause, they are supposed to offer an alternative, but what good is that on a Sunday when nowhere nearby is open and the customer can’t drive? That’s a pretty risky clause to have, don’t you think?
 
So I have a few questions; would a doctor who is a Jehovah’s witness have a clause to opt-out of giving a life-saving blood transfusion because of her/his personal beliefs? Does a doctor who is Jewish have an opt-in clause to enforce circumcision on all babies because of his/her own beliefs? Is the opt-out clause used for anything other than emergency contraception, or is it a clause solely to deny women the right to decide whether or not to have a baby?
 
Now I am wiser I know that actually, professionals impose their personal opinions on women all the time, it’s just usually less obvious. For example, during pregnancy when something is offered to you (because it is just an offer, even if it doesn’t come across that way), that midwife or doctor should be giving you ALL of the information, the risks, benefits and alternatives, for you to make an informed decision about your care. This very rarely happens, and what we can assume from this is that the person giving you the partial information is deciding, based on their personal views, which information is more important for you to know, and what can be left out. This does NOT equal informed consent. 
 
The patriarchal society that we live in has assumed that women’s bodies, and the decisions women make about those bodies, are to be monitored and controlled. Constant protesting of abortion, the hoops we have to jump through to access all types of contraception, the scare-tactics used in pregnancy and the birth room – it is all about controlling women. Strong, independent women who are able to make informed decisions and stand their ground are a threat to that control. Information is power, and withholding information (or more directly, actual medical care such as the morning-after pill), is to take away a woman’s power.
If we take away a woman’s control of her own body, we are telling her that she is not important and that her body is not hers to be in control of.
 
What does this teach young girls and women about consent? What does it teach us about boundaries? What does it teach us about our power?
 
(and yours too, if you want us to!)
 
 
 
 
 
Resources related to this post:
 
– The most recent changes I found on the opt-out clause (2017):
 
– The Lloyd’s Pharmacy article:
 
– Some fascinating for and against comments from pharmacists about the opt-out clause:
 
– The NHS contraception guide:
 
– Info on the copper coil (IUD):
Days of the week on wooden pegs
News, Uncategorized

Weekday read ?

It’s definitely a weekday, but we can’t be more specific at this point! We hope you are coping, and that you know you can always reach out to us. We are only a text away.

What we’ve been up to

Amy has been extremely busy in the studio, fulfilling orders at Clara and Macy. They are Christmas-level busy, but without any of the prep that they usually do year round. 
As well as that she’s still running her Meetup group, and of course being a badass doula with us.

Lori has been doing lots of yoga and reading this week.
She’s “eating more biscuits than any human should”, her laundry basket is empty ??, and has dyed her kids hair (on purpose) and house (by accident).

A quote from the book 'Pushed' by Jennifer Block
From ‘Pushed’ by Jennifer Block

Elle is getting into the world of podcasts. Two of the stars of Scrubs have started a twice weekly podcast about making the show, and she’s lapping it up. Every episode is soon to be on All 4 – watch-along anyone?
Her unbuzzed hair is now comically long and is crocheting herself a hat.

It was our birthday this week! We had drinks, got frocked up and had a Zoom party. You can watch it here (it’s long and rambling!)


We are so proud to have been here for two years, responding to the needs of the community, growing as an organisation, and learning just how much we can do when we need to! We have developed new skills and new ways of working, and we hope we always will. 
Thank you for supporting us and building our village with us.

Quick questions for the doulas (by Ember)

What’s your favourite breakfast food?
L: Vegan fry up or leftover curry
E: Defo vegan fry up, but at the moment I’m on a health kick and it’s porridge and seeds with fruit every day.
A: Chocolate.

What are you watching in lockdown?
L: Killing Eve, Gangs of London and everything on Disney+
E: The Comeback (Lisa Kudrow is more talented than I ever knew!) and Devs.
A: Just finished Season 2 of Money Heist and it was AMAZING.

What do you like to sit on?
L: On the beach somewhere sunny ☀️ These days my armchair with my feet up will do.
E: Those therapy chairs where you can lean forward and rest your arms and legs. Don’t know what they’re called but they feel good!
A: The floor, usually!

What we’ve been working on

We have been busy busy busy! Enquiries have gone up over 65% since lockdown, and we are doing everything we can to meet the needs of local women. This means being even more flexible in our approach, and applying for lots more funding. It’s more important than ever that we are able to provide emotional support at low to no cost, as barriers to this are mounting.

This week we hosted the Manchester Birth Workers Circle, and have Women Reclaiming Birth coming up, as well as our weekly Wild Mothers Circle .

We have extended our funding deadline with Aviva, which you can donate to here. We are hoping this extra time will allow us to reach our target and unlock the donations we have received so far.

What’s coming up

We are excited for the release of Dr Jess Taylor’s new book, ‘Why Women are Blamed for Everything’:

‘Based on three years of doctoral research and ten years of practice with women and girls, Dr Jessica Taylor explores the many reasons we blame women for male violence committed against them. Written in her unique style and backed up by decades of evidence, this book exposes the powerful forces in society and individual psychology which compel us to blame women subjected to male violence.’

Every weekend we are taking it in turns to choose a different workout video. We set up our phones and put YouTube on another screen, to cheer each other on (and secretly laugh). The videos we are choosing from are free, and if you’d like to join us (cameras on or not!) you are most welcome. 11am Saturday we’ll be attempting this one and we’ll nudge on FB beforehand too. In previous weeks we’ve tried Zumba, and Bhangracise. What other suggestions do you have?

We are working on some new fundraising ideas and hope to have more news on that next week. In the meantime, you know where we are, and don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Much love and stay safe,

Elle, Amy &

fight sexism grafiti
Uncategorized

Dear wolf-whistler…

Dear wolf-whistler,

First of all, you’re an absolute wanker.

Here’s how it went from my point of view, in case you give a shit;

I went outside to put my cardboard recycling in the blue bin, as soon as I opened my door there you both were, hanging out of your car and staring at me like fucking vultures. I know we’re in lockdown and you probably haven’t seen another person for weeks, but that is not an excuse. I’m instantly uncomfortable and have put my defences up in case you decide you need more than just something to look at. I put my cardboard in the bin and walked back around to my front door, which is when you decided to wolf-whistle at me.

Here is why I don’t appreciate your staring and wolf-whistling;

I am not an object for you to gawp at just because you have fuck-all better to do with your time. You intimidate me by staring like that – which is probably what gives you a little buzz. Wolf-whistling is NOT a compliment, it does NOT make me feel all warm and fuzzy because, believe it or not (and I know this is a tough one to comprehend), I get my worth from me, NOT from twats like you.

Now, let me explain to you the effect that your actions have;

I hurried back inside and slammed the door, I hoped that it would show you that I was angry because I couldn’t put it into words to say to you, but in reality, you probably just thought it was funny. My heart is hammering, not because you wooed me with your charms contrary to what you think, but because you made me feel intimidated, scared and angry. I had another bag of recycling to take out, but that will have to wait now because the last thing I want to do is go back outside and be objectified AGAIN. So I’m hiding in my flat, full of rage. Is that what you expected to happen? Is that what you wanted to happen? Did you think of how I might feel before you acted? Did you fuck. You are a disgusting human. You can’t possibly comprehend the horrible effect your actions have on women, so I have no doubt that you’ll continue to do it, thinking it’s completely harmless. The sad thing is that you were probably looking for a reaction, and if I’d have said all of this to your face, you would have laughed it off and ignored it. I didn’t say anything, but even if I had the outcome probably would have been the same – you’d still be an ignorant man.

If you take anything from what I write (which I’m sure you won’t because you’re probably not the one reading this), let it be this;

I do not exist to be objectified by you
I do not want or need your whistles of “approval”
Your actions have consequences
Stop being a misogynistic twat

Pissed-off regards,

Amy

(the human being whose feelings you couldn’t give a fuck about, but whose ass you clearly took a fancy to)

A chalk rainbow
Doulas, News, Resources, Uncategorized

Slow Sunday Scroll ☀️

How is everyone doing? Lately we’ve seen so many people respond with how productive, or unproductive, they have been. But really, how are you? You are not the stuff you achieve – or don’t – you are a person, surviving an unprecedented period in history, and it’s okay to feel however you’re feeling, and to talk about it.

A chalk rainbow
A rainbow found on Lori’s walk

What – and how – we have be doing

Elle: I have developed a rigid daily structure, and have discovered life feels more manageable under lockdown. I’ve found a balance between all the aspects and roles of my life for the first time, and I suspect I will miss this when it’s over.

Lori: I have surrendered to not being able to balance it all! Developing new, creative ways to support women and single handedly mothering two high needs children are in themselves full time jobs. I’m trying to use this time to practise radical self care – resting when I need to rest, crying when I need to cry, reminding myself that whatever I am able to give to my children and my business is enough, and focusing on our basic needs. Oh and I’m loving working in such comfort! I never thought I’d be doing Zoom calls with clients in my pjs…

Take what you need poster by @lorithedoula

Amy: I have found it tricky to figure out working for Clara and Macy from home/at the studio in isolation (especially because we’re weirdly really busy right now!!), and for adapting how GMD is functioning, but it feels like it’s coming together now. I live alone so I’m finding the lockdown pretty difficult mentally, my anxiety is on a high and I’m definitely having more down days than usual – I’ve also realised that I really am a hug person and now I’m having hug withdrawal symptoms! A positive – the local wildlife seems to be thriving without humans everywhere! Something people should remember – don’t judge others, everyone’s necessities are different and people will be missing different things. Just be understanding!

Amy working in the studio for Clara and Macy

Collectively, we have been supporting the many pregnant women who have been directly affected by the pandemic. Our mission to defend women’s human rights, provide holistic support and accessible education, and to build sisterhood between women has never been more relevant, and we are extremely glad to be here to support women through this.

Our virtual support is available in private 1:1s (well, 3:1s!), and we are making videos on subjects suggested by women whose birth plans have been upended by the virus.
If there is a subject you’d like to see covered (or covered in more detail, please get in touch.

FiLiA asked us to make a podcast on what’s currently happening in maternity regarding women’s rights and options, and we were happy to oblige.

Quick fire questions

In World Doula Week we faced our fears, and finally started doing live videos! So far we have discovered what’s in our doula bags, what’s not in our doula bags, how to mentally prepare for birth, freebirth, and a live version of our quick fire questions!

What we need help with

We are currently writing to potential funders, and funders who have already contributed toward projects we are now unable to run, so many things are up in the air.

The best way to help us at the moment is to add us as your local cause with the Co-op, and to donate to our ko-fi fund if you are able. Every penny will go directly to supporting women in our community, and beyond.

What’s going on online for free?

Lori has made a GMD colouring book, and we are compiling a list of free resources, and if you have anything to add please message us.

Please don’t forget it’s okay to slow down during this time – it’s enough to “do” nowt and to survive.

The networks you’ve been relying on for support might be missing from your life temporarily, or you may be having to access them in an unfamiliar way, for example by Zoom. This might take some getting used to, but research shows all the same places of our brains light up when we talk to someone by video and in person.

We were all nervous about moving from face to face meets to video calls and it felt so weird at first! We got used to it surprisingly quickly though and it’s nice to be able to connect with others from the comfort of our homes. Whether you’re in your pjs, haven’t touched your hair, or are joining from your bed, you’re welcome! Just come as you are.

If you need some help with getting online, we are happy to help. Connecting to our sisters has never been so important!

We hope to see you online soon.

Elle, Amy & Lori x