Charlotte Kanyi
Author Archives: Charlotte Kanyi

Newborn and Maternity Photography: Interview with Michelle White

Michelle's Bio

Michelle White Photography is a multi-award winning studio based in Birmingham (B24) specialising in newborn and maternity photography.

  I know that the first few weeks of your baby’s life are unique, magical and a life changing time. I aim to capture every special moment from your baby bump right through to the tiny wrinkles and perfect little smiles – so you can keep them forever. 

My background in Fine Art Photography helps me produce timeless pieces of Artwork that you, your family and future generations can all enjoy.

Contact me here:

Pilates for pregnancy and new mums : Interview With Sophie Jeffries

Sophie has taken her classes online and has both a free introductory course and month long paid course for mums to be and new mothers Check them out here

Sophie's Bio

Sophie is a qualified postpartum doula, pilates instructor, shiatsu therapist, and mother of two young children. She is passionate about supporting women and their bodies throughout the birthing years and is especially keen on providing nurturing bodywork and restorative movement to help women befriend and restore their mama body with kindness and respect. Sophie teaches mother centred pilates in Melbourne and online, and attends women in their home after the birth of their beautiful baby as a postpartum doula and shiatsu therapist.
Find out more on her website Bearing Wonder​ here and find the latest online classes at her facebook page here

Is your Vision Clear for your Confident Birth?

Yesterday I tried to offer the cashier in Tesco swimming goggles instead of the club card.


In ten minutes.

Maybe she understood what it can be like shopping with a toddler and very full pockets of everything that I may need or definitely don't need but have been given for the last month. I have big pockets.

But it got me thinking about lenses and the work I do. I was thinking about how we all want to see clearly. That sometimes our vision of the world is impaired by the goggles we have on that we have had on so long we forget we even have them on. Perhaps they are a bit cracked or like my children's goggles scratched, leak a bit with a  tendency to steam up easily.

You definitely can't see properly looking through goggles like that. But it's better than the chlorine in the water hurting my eyes. At least while I am in the swimming pool.

But do I need them in the supermarket? And to pay for my groceries?

Obviously not. The analogy for me is how we see life. It's probably obvious before I even explain.

But here goes anyway. If we have a childhood event, long ago that was particularly strong. It affects us strongly. We start to believe something about the world. It has changed how we see, show up and act in the world. We get creative, make strategies to cope and deal with the new information and life goes on.  Over time we forget.

But the once clean lens that we came in with to see the world has got a smudge on it. Enough times of coming up against it in life and it gets scratched even broken.

We begin to believe the world is unfriendly. That we are no good and that maybe it is us who are broken.

We shut down, pull away from the world, stop dreaming.

Has this happened to you? Are you playing smaller than you could? In birth or in life?

Sometimes these memories are so ancient that we don't have any conscious memory at all. Our own birth into the world is the big one.

Our huge first life transition that has impacted each and every one of us profoundly even though few of us remember consciously.

For many of us in the West this would have been a tough, challenging time. Today about 30% of women report some trauma in the birth of their children. If you as a mother are experiencing it so is your child.

This is at the core of the work I do at BirthEssence.

Right now I am focusing a lot of energy on my Birth Blueprint Reading and Healing sessions for women. Where I look at what your own birth reveals about your soul's journey and work to heal any damaged lenses , re-imprinting the patterns that were laid down in your own birth experience so that you can show up fully , firing on all cylinders no longer holding back on your dreams in life,

Interested? Prices start from £60 Email me at for more details.

Photo by Josh Cea on Unsplash

Magnify your dreams in 2020. What links lighting illicit fires as a child and finding the courage to claim your dreams?

This New Year is galloping ahead already. First week of school nearly gone, and I am still setting intentions for the year ahead. It promises to be an interesting year and possibly a revolutionary transformative year for many. One in which I feel the call to really break free of any lingering conditioning that keeps me small or silent.

I’m on the path, I have no idea where it is leading but I’m taking steps and the guidance and insights are already nudging me along. Like Joel Youngs mini traning series -  Secrets To Rocking Your 2020 Intentions (So They Actually Have An Impact & Get You What You Want)on his Be a brilliant human podcast, In the first part of the 4 part training Joel shares a story of him as a young boy lighting dry grass with a magnifying glass to illustrate how setting and manifesting intentions works. In part two the theme is on acknowledging the wholeness of you to achieve your unique focus and he revisits fire story again. As I listened for the second time I was struck with my own memory of me at a similar age trying to set paper alight.

My story is slightly different as I stopped before I succeeded.

As I became that girl again for a few moments and felt into why she stopped and what she had really wanted I saw how this was an ongoing pattern that had repeated subtly throughout my life and was impacting my success in many areas.

The young girl Charlotte was totally fascinated and wanted to make a proper fire. But she got scared as the paper turned black and the smoke started to rise. She hurriedly stopped, with a furtive glance over her shoulder to check if anyone was watching. She was scared of getting in trouble. She could see all too clearly the scene if she was discovered and the telling off that would follow.  Secretly, she wanting to be more wild than this.  She had fantasies of being a wild bush woman.  But she was too scared of starting something that she couldn’t control and got too big for her and  then she really would be in trouble.

No matter the burning inferno scenario was so unlikely in England on a green grassy lawn, she stopped, but reluctantly, regretfully.  It was a bind being such a good girl sometimes. 

As I zoomed back out to the present day I was painfully aware of all the times in my life I have stopped short before putting the full idea or dream into action. Keeping small and hidden and then feeling bad inside and settling for the hit approval gave me instead of fulfilment.

The good news is that this is no longer my story. I has lingered way too long and yet it’s definitely on it’s way out.  Last year I found myself stepping up in new ways that were not small and hidden. I found myself running a Birth Summit on Finding your Confidence to birth the way you want and not the way you are settling for.   This is exactly the learning that I have been putting into practice in my own life in the way that we teach what we are ourselves learning.   Despite any inner doubter that would question my own authority as a relative unknown birthworker I contacted those whose message I loved and respected and overwhelmingly they said yes with enthusiasm and the Summit was created with 27 interviews and 5 classes over the month of November last year. You can now catch up here if you missed it.  There is such a wealth of information from some amazing women and I highly recommend you watching if you feel the pull and have a habit of holding back on the fullness of your dreams through fear.

Back to the fire story. I zoomed back down to me as a young girl then carried backwards every younger. I see myself hesitant, shy, living in my secret inner world where I am more confident and outgoing. I trace back further. To myself as a baby being born.

I am familiar with my experience of  being born even though I have no conscious memory in ordinary waking daily life. From time spent healing the way I was born. I notice the pattern was there in my energy field and got activated and concretised during birth.

As I was in the process of being born, I felt overwhelmed. Life was too big, loud and different. I was not sure I was ready and I hesitated.  But things were taken out of my control and I was helped out by the doctor. I felt small, helpless and daunted.  I felt that I would have to be more secretive  and hide what I wanted.   Not the best way to get what you want I think now. 

I continue backwards out of the womb and reconnect to a different energy. A larger essence that is also me.  I come back in. Now it is different. Now I feel joy. I am delighted by life even in its bigness and my relative smallness. I feel love for the small me. I see and experience the same birth story as before but I can also hold in my field the delight of life and it changes everything. My DNA is different. My feelings towards myself and my capabilities are transformed. I carry this expanded awareness forwards through my life. I feel my own wholeness that is present even as life’s challenges hit me. I can tap into the delight of being alive and I am not holding back anymore. This awareness changes the programming in my cells and it opens up the possibilities in my life right here and now.

This is the energy I am starting 2020 with.  And it is this kind of open field freedom energy possibility that I want you to start 2020 with too. Our planet and our children certainly need us to step up into the wholeness of our being and take action right now.

To support you in this I am offering my BirthBlueprint Reading and Healing Sessions at a super introductory offer price.  .   These sessions look at the map of your essential wholeness that is uniquely you revealed by your own birth story. They comprise an intuitive reading based on the facts of your birth and a healing session that will address the wounds and unhelpful programming you may have suffered during birth.

This is amazing transformative work. Healing your own birth experience is often the missing link for you when you are pregnant. If you are scared, you don’t really know why and  hypnobirthing is not touching the sides then healing your birth story may be the missing link you are searching for.   This work is also the key to reconnecting to your inner wholeness and passion for life that will fire you up to make a difference in 2020. Now is the time to step up bold and brave and put into action all those secret dreams you have been holding back on.

If this sounds interesting to you drop me a message at or comment below and I will send you all the details.

In the mean time Happy New Year and here’s to an amazing revolutionary 2020.

 Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

Nicola Goodall – Birth Confidence Summit

Links to the books mentioned in the interview and Nicola's book. Scroll for Bio and Time Stamps.

Nicola Goodall Bio

Nicola has been involved in childbirth for over 20 years. She is a founding member of the Scottish Doula Network, the main facilitator for the Mindful Doulas training programme, and founder of the Red Tent Doulas training initiative 

Nicola is also the director of the Wysewomen workshops - a series of learning circles aimed at women sharing with women through storytelling, publications and healthy social media.

Nicola published her first book in 2019 - 10 Oils: Aromatherapy Oils for the Childbearing Year.

Nicola is a very direct and honest jewel of information who never ceases to inspire others to be the change they wish to see in the world.

You can watch also watch her TedX talk on reframing Birth.

Time Stamps

Doulaing is in her blood and Nicola has many Grandmothers from different ancestries inside.

4.31 Helping bring back indigenous knowledge for example you can call in the 4 directions in the Native American way but there is also a Gallic Way.

6.58 There are 14 generations of grandmothers inside you and knowlege may come through meditation.

9.25 Intuition and knowledge is strong in the high hormonal state that is pregnancy and menopause.

12.07  Explaining the link between grief, death and ceremonies around the world to mark the rite of passage to mother.   Around the world these ceremonies all include some form of cleansing, some form of annointing and blessing and some form of wrapping.

15.53 These ceremonies set you up for motherhood and in some cases can help physical conditions such as prolapse even though you are not working directly on the physical.

18.16 Don't be pressured to look a certain way. Take your heels off is  a good small step to help comfort in pregnancy.

20.45 Are we making ourselves sick to appear a certain way.  Lots of education needed as we are trained  to obey men in a uniform..

Rewilding is a good starting point. Go out and find a park look at the sky, feel the ancient trees.

26.29 Handing over to something bigger. Nicola's faith that helped her have no fear. The power of surrender.

31.15 The power of prayer and a supportive community.

34.10 How Nicola was supported by her faith and community when the worry about a third baby being difficult was put in her mind.

36.05 There is an understandable backlash to religious faith in the UK but as the colonisers we are the minority not to have strong faith but we tend to think everyone should be like us and this is not correct. Don't be exclusionary.

40.30 Still today people go to places in secret to pray when pregnant such as holy wells.  These places have a strong energy and lot of history. Book: The Power of Ritual by Robbie Davis-Floyd.

There is power in gathering and in making your own ritual

44.43 Choose to use different language as a step towards  feeling positive about birth.

47.15 We need to be comforable with death as it is a part of life.

50.15 If you are scared of death put the elephant on the table and talk about it.  Can you find a care provider who is not scared of you dying?

52.55 Midwives would traditionally have also attended the deaths. Shivasna pose in yoga is the corpse pose. You are meant to contemplate death whilst in that pose.

54.00 Nicola's vision. Nicola would like to see birth in the family and community again and wonders how we start a revolution?

58 28 We need to do emotional work and not just focus on the physical. Sometimes the baby is not coming and there is no obvious phyiscal reason.  The true art of midwifery includes asking how someone is.

Art of midwifery is all contained in a look- quote from indigenous midwife. Love is one of the most important parts of taking care of women. The example in Cape town of how a little love and care can go a long way and be reflected in outcomes.

1 hr 09 Get the wild thing going.  Wrap up warm and get outside.

Simone Surgeoner – Birth Confidence Summit

Find out more about the healing tools The Journey here. and download a free ebook. describing the technique.

Or buy the hard copy here

Bonus Content: Enjoy two clips from our informal conversation after the interview ended and below that watch Simone giving birth in nature.

Simone has been working in the self-development field (The Journey, Tantra, Doula) for over 15 years. In 2013, Simone created a paradigm shift with her birth video on YouTube: Birth in Nature.

With over 80 million views, the video demonstrates the innate primal force alive in each of us, which has been largely shut down and repressed in humans on this planet. This life-force affects every aspect of our life – including our sexuality, finances, relationships and more.

Simone embodies deep devotion to the liberation of all humans. Simone has worked with thought leaders, entrepreneurs, mothers, CEO’s, millionaires, tradesmen, children and therapists. She has worked in Australia, USA and Mexico and also conducts skype sessions with people from all nationalities.

Time Stamps

22 Years ago everyone Simone knew was birthing in hospital but Simone had different ideas from her mother's stories and had two birth centre births, one home birth and one birth in nature.

5.59 Simone had a need to heal her own birth and revisited her womb experience and birth many times to heal the imprinting.  The body remembers even if we don't.

8.47 Revisiting the womb and her experiences awakened the idea in me that babies don’t come in free floating they are experiencing it all and shaping their imprint for this life and creating a matrix in their being.

14.52. In this modern age people think they are giving birth to a body rather than a soul and we need to think how to nurture the soul from conception. Simone was glad of the Journey tools to be able to change imprints.

16.41 Noticing how different she felt in third and fourth pregnancies Simone realised some of her expressions and fears were her child's not her own. The personality was already right there.

20.11 Charlotte visited the womb whilst pregnant with second child and experienced a funeral to let go of something and then her son said remember I am different from my brother which he is very much so.

23.30 Third child a humbling experience as was scared and hadn't been for the other two births. For third mainly worried about being crucified in media but had a deep inner knowing that this was the right path and would be ok.

Simone has a big prayer of wanting to change how we birth

31.45 Simone's viral video on You Tube Many parents choose to show this video as on some level they recognise that the setting is easy for children although the video is graphic and a real birth with challenges.

34.50 Many watch her video in nature and then feel empowered and have a positive hospital birth as the possibility has been opened up.

37.35 Listen to intuition to know where to birth and if to change plans.

40.26 Some commented she was selfish but it is absolutely not selfish to want a good birth experience as it affects you and your baby so strongly.Motherhood is hard enough without having to process trauma too.

43.48 Hospitals have the energy of sick and dying and worry and stress of those visiting and this is not ideal for birth so Simone would like this to change. How we treat the earth and animals and how we birth are all reflected in each other and changing how we birth will change many aspects of life.

49.12 The current medical establishment is like a machine but there is another way.

53.24 To get confident start with education- basic education of how birth physiology works as we are missing this. Knowing about transition helped Simone as when she was ready to give up she knew she was at transition and it gave her understanding and strength to continue.

Secondly do your emotional inner work. If you have fear you need to clear it. We are open and porous in pregnancy so this is an ideal time to do it.

Women are amazing, seek out other women who have overcome challenges and are strong to encourage you.


Rachel Elizabeth – Birth Confidence Summit

Links to resources mentioned in the Interview:
( Scroll down for Bio and Time Stamps)

Midwife Thinking is a great site by Dr. Rachel Reed with evidence based articles for example on The Nuchal Cord and Big Baby and baby positioning such as OP - back to back babies, which are really useful to reassure you on facts and options. Rachel Reed has also written a book called Why Induction Matters

AIMS- Association for Improvement in Maternity Services also has some great books including Am I allowed?

Information about the healing tool called Non Personal Awareness including a Free Process sheet to download and have a go yourself can be found here

Bonus content on Sweeps: Check out my previous interview with Independent Midwife Janie Al Alawi and her analogy of what sweeps are and why they are the bane of her life. The part about sweeps starts at 15.30.

Rachel is a Doula and Hypnobirthing Instructor at Creative Birth, sharing the message that birth can and should be a positive, empowering experience for mothers. Currently on maternity leave with her fourth child and with her two eldest children now teenagers on the autistic spectrum, she has a wealth of experience of parenting and supporting other parents. 

Her family life has taught her that with the loving support from those around us , our toughest challenges can become our greatest achievements and she is particularly passionate about supporting women who wish to regain confidence is themselves and their bodies.

Time Stamps

Trusting our bodies through a physiological birth experience. Rachel learned to take responsibility for her health and then birth from living with a woman who cured her cancer through diet.

5.01 AT 21 her midwife thought she would want an elective c section and scared her by telling her she was too small to birth physiologically but Rachel was on a mission to inform herself and learn about positive birth including discovering hypnobirthing before it was  well known ( 16 years ago)​

Having a real person to meet and chat with who understood and trusted birth was a game changer for Rachel.

8.42 The fast and painless birth story of Rachel's first child.

13.44 Talking to her son about not getting his cord tangled and knowing it was around his neck without seeing it physically at birth. ( Link to Midwife Thinking article on Nuchal Cords.)

18.00 How different people can change the atmosphere of the room and asking for people to leave or choose a different person to support you.

20.00 Breast feeding support and how the physiological approach that is more current helped Rachel with feeding.

22.56 Recreating the skin to skin after the first hour particularly if you missed out on that time.

25.34 The birth story of her second child, much longer in back to back position  and how her child communicated that she needed to dance and spin for her to come out.  Being upright and being aware of your deal breakers.

Being supported and valued as a mum makes so much difference.

33.40 Third birth story with PROM - Premature rupture of membranes  11 days before she was born.  Knowing what is right for you and when to ask for help. 

39.10 We are not there to entertain the midwives.

40.41 We really do know what is going on with our own bodies and should be confident to call out when we need help and to wait when we feel like we need to wait.

41.10  Birth Story number 4, Rachel's five week old son. A gentle straightforward 'text book' birth with some meconium staining. Visualising the placenta coming out whole to help with the fear of a PPH.

47.00 Giving birth to the placenta and the oxytocin rush that can happen. What to do with your placenta, some options that we have experienced.

57.10 A discussion about sweeps.  This has changed since Rachel had her first children and is now standard and routine and women are accepting this as just what we do. Encouraging women to question and make own choice. This is an intervention.  (Bonus Content Janie Al Alawi explains why sweeps are the bane of her life. starts at 15.30 in video.) Sweeps are a symbolic handing over of your body to the establishment and can subtly undermine your confidence

1 hr 04  Rachel's vision for more women centred care that is not one size fits all 

1.05 Trust yourself and if you have a wobble then find someone with no agenda to support you to explore.
No agenda being a key stone of the NPA  teaching  - link. 

Samantha Nolan-Smith – Birth Confidence Summit

Samantha Nolan-Smith is the founder and CEO of The School of Visibility. Through its classes and programs the School supports women to speak up and be seen and heard in the world.

After studying at the School, women find they're able to:

  • - recognise their own worth and feel confident in sharing their unique perspective with the world
  • - put themselves forward for opportunities they'd previously shied away from,
  • - confidently speak up about topics that others might consider controversial, and
  • - step forward as a new type of leader in their industry.
 You can find out more about the School of Visibility here.

Time Stamps

Women have a huge amount of conditioning about not using their voices. Samantha shares how for her this was strong conditioning against questioning authority.

5.20 Being confident in one area doesn't mean you are automatically confident in another areas such as birth.

8.00  Coming up against the system and how it can knock your confidence and send you into Good Girl Mode.

10.00  The Good Girl in patriarchal systems must be nice, do as she is told, be kind and compliant and all of this can work against you in birth.

12.50  The rise of Caesarean sections and the link to that being the way doctors have the most control over the process.  When you challenge this you are challenging an entire professions ethic and way of managing risk and the human body and we tent to be very hesitant and it doesn't get heard correctly.

15.56  Doctors are unused to be questioned but they are providing a service.

18.22 You are the epicentre of whole universe and everyone else is there to help you. Samantha created this atmosphere for her second birth.

21.20 The key to making the system working for you is to have your own navigation system finely tuned. Be clear on what you want to be feeling throughout the process.

24.20 Samantha's empowered Caesarean birth story  including how she navigated the change in birth as the labour progressed.

30.14 Defining confidence -  The embodiment of self worth.   Live your value in every cell and every moment , there is no question of your value in this place.

34.31  Exposing the Good Mother Archetype and how we can learn from our own mothers and let go of a lot of conditioning that may have been passed down our family lines this way. 

42.15 Transferring your life skills to the birthing room. You have gold in your experience to now that you may be overlooking. Draw on it.

44.30 Is this a jail or a hospital? Samantha advocates for herself about when to leave the hospital and other decisions she made for herself.

50.40 Samantha's vision for the future of birth and motherhood. where our wisdom is respected, acknowledged understood ,shared and that everybody understands the most important person is the woman.

57.00  Find confidence by learning to love your own body and overcoming this particular conditioning of the patriarchal society we live in.

Finishing with a discussion of sexual assault and if this is in your history it is important to have healing work and check your conditioning as you may be living the story that you do not get to choose what happens to your body.  You can give yourself permission to be the one to choose and to set boundaries around that.

Maddie McMahon – Birth Confidence summit

Maddie McMahon'ss Bio

After careers teaching English and in publishing, Maddie retrained as a doula in 2003 and has gone on to support thousands of families not only as a birth and postnatal doula, but in her work as a breastfeeding counsellor and is a founder trustee of two breastfeeding related charities. 

Time Stamps.

Maddie describes the exceptional support she had by her mother in law for the birth of her first child which was so beneficial as she had not known what she needed and contrasts that with her second child where the element of a quiet unassuming woman in the corner who had her back was missing.

Why and how birth is a feminist issue.

6.51  Birth is not something that happens in isolation in your life but is culmination of hundreds of threads that start in your childhood roots in how we were mothered.    Having learnt in childhood the birth was quick and easy  when her first birth was long and hard she still had no doubts she  just assumed that I needed to carry on what I was doing and the baby would come out and that is what happened.  

Second advantage is my generation was  which can inundate us with fearful stories.

11.43  the need for more than innate confidence, need information.  How failure to wait can lead to a c-section and is also failure to believe that she can do it and failure to provide loving consistent continuity of midwifery care with midwives who have compassion, and empathy in a safe warm and private environment.

14.30 Why a stiff upper lip as we often have in the UK is not a good example of how to support ourselves and Maddie's advice to her younger self for how she would have supported herself through a challenging postnatal period.  Take time to heal psychologically before 'the wheels fall off.'

18.44 Maternity system  in the UK is not fit for purpose. Being pregnant is not an illness and not something that needs fixing and needs to be lovingly nurtured because it is growth and if we want a flower to blossom, if we want vegetables to grow in our allotment we can’t just blindly follow steps so we have to adapt to individual circumstances and care for those things.  What is lacking in maternity care is the care, the time to ask someone how they are.

23.44  Gather your clan,  you need women around you that believe in you, this is  how we've played this since the dawn of time where older women who've been through it  share their wisdom. and walk alongside you in your journey.

27.30 if you have fear then that  fear needs addressing and this is slowly starting to happen in the NHS. The whole spectrum and not just primary tokophobia needs to be treated  so if birth gives you the cold shudders it is worth unpicking that and getting to the root of where that came from.  Your aim is to build a sense of awe in your capabilities and know you can do it psychologically.

31.49 Even tiniest fear is still worth unpicking  as it may affect the physiology and holding it back takes energy you need. Sometimes all you need is acknowledgement and a cuddle.

35.25 If we want to change society the place to start is at the beginning with birth. If  women are bathed in oxytocin and feel loved and supported then birth is going to go well and she will feel strong and capable. It is not rocket science.   

37.35 Motherhood is a feminist issue and  Maddie would love to see women stand up and come together and demand better better support, be less invisible.  She would like politicians to understand that we are a brilliant resource. Invest in mothers and amazing things can happen.

3949 Maddie is  passionate about women understanding that we are worthy to be supported and worthy to be seen. She wrote her books   to remind you how awesome you are as a mother.

Maddie also serves on the editorial board of The Practising Midwife Journal as part of her passion for building trusting relationships between doulas and midwives. Maddie loves to write, primarily on her blog, but has also published two books; Why Doulas Matter and Why Mothering Matters.  In her spare time she works on the AIMS helpline and has also held a number of voluntary roles in Doula UK. She is passionate about supporting all birthworkers to work together to change the face of birth.
Maddie lives in Cambridge but has aspirations to live by the sea. She is stepmum and mum to 3 grown or nearly-grown children. She will always swim in wild water if given half a chance and always has a book in her bag.

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