Category Archives for "Birth Confidence Summit"
Interviews and resources to support you to feel more confident about giving birth
Interviews and resources to support you to feel more confident about giving birth
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.
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.
Find out more about the healing tools The Journey here. and download a free ebook. describing the technique.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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:
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'ss Bio
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, thebirthhub.co.uk 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.
Experienced clinical psychologist Dr Emma Svanberg works with parents and parents to be, as well as professionals working with parents. She brings over ten years of academic and clinical experience to offer evidence based support and guidance to help you through your journey as a parent or a parent supporter. A published author, speaker, campaigner and researcher, Emma lives in London with her partner and children. She is also regional coordinator for the Positive Birth Movement
The pressure of the two extremes of stories, scary horrible birth or the 'Gold Standard' and how all nuance is lost.
4.20 The different dialogue that happens for men and women and how pregnancy can be considered a 'weakness; particularly in the workplace.
Starting point of what do I want for this baby now.
6.22 A vulnerable time where we are bombarded with information often from unqualified people who know nothing about pregnancy but have an opinion all the same. We are in a different mental space with different hormones and need to understand and accept that and honour where we are at.
11.05 All about Make Birth Better including crib sheets to support and inform
18.25 How do you respond to stress in ordinary life will inform how you do in pregnancy and help you be prepared. Your partner can take on the role of your prefrontal lobes so you can keep your brain switched off.
21.30 The importance of stories and noticing that sometimes the older generation can be negative as they had to power on and cope and pack away their own challenges.
24.49 Emma's vision for the future with trauma informed support for all including compassionate support for staff trauma.
30.00 All about the 'nice girl' and how she shows up as 'doctor knows best' in a maternity setting. But in birth we are not unwell so it is not the same as seeking out a doctor for an illness.
34.45 Conditioning that means women trying to be assertive are often considered to be aggressive that can prevent women from speaking up.
36.00 Urgent need to challenge the idea of not raising your head above the parapet. the irony of disappointment when we didn't aim high to not feel disappointed and the trickiness of learning what our needs are when we have suppressed them.
38.00 Learn what our body is telling us. Mindfulness is a good tool
Know that what you do has value.
Often heard saying 'Stand like you mean it' and 'You don't get this moment twice', Jo is an enthusiast. About dance and about life. A dancer, choreographer and dance educator with experience from across the globe, spanning film, TV and live performance. A writer and former children's talent agent. Creatively Jo is particularly recognised for her signature unique styles of lyrical, jazz and jazz funk but known for her work with dancers to unleash powerful presence and connection in each moment.
She takes this effervescent energy into international conventions, intensives, choreography, lectures and classes for teachers, professional, pre-professional, competitive and recreational dancers across the USA, from Washington DC to Denver, Canada, England, New Zealand and for various high profile studios, institutions and workshops in her hometown of Sydney, Australia.
Jo discusses her particular fears as a 'reformed perfectionist' feeling responsible for a tiny being inside and being hyper aware of her choices and consequences for her health.
She booked a midwife to see her during pregnancy who supported her to continue doing what felt right for her body - ie continuing to dance until 8.5 months.
The mismatch between the risk she was assigned being or 'advanced maternal age' and her actual health and the positive attitude of the actual caregivers and consultants she saw.
11.00 Using walking as a moving meditation that worked well for Jo
Challenges of a system that felt corporate and being determined to find the right people for her and her wife and baby to support them on their journey within that system.
18.00 Having faith and determination those people existed and would be found
A dramatic start to labour but being informed about choices and what they would be offered made all the difference to how the birth story went.
22.25 Negotiating a non invasive method to help the birth along. Why are non invasive methods not offered first?
29.50 Utilising skills as a dancer and counting through the contractions
35.18 holding the vision through all challenges
Adjusting to life as a mother - a whole new universe opening up even though it is also hard at times.
38.34 Using healing and clearing tools such as The NPA Process and The Compassion Key. and also just being present with her body and emotions and letting them move through. Women's circles that have given her strength to be vulnerable and transparent.
46.00 Start by finding your people to support you. Know they are out there and then go about finding them so you are not alone with your fears. Fears spoken out loud in a safe space dissipated.
49.00 How it has all been worth it even though until recently didn't even know she would want children. It deepened her connection with herself and she has learnt that hard and glorious can coexist in the same time and place and that is ok.
I'm Debs, I'm an independent midwife in the North of England. working with the Yorkshire Storks Midwifery Collective I came to independent midwifery 16 years ago, after the birth of my first child, supported by independent midwives and after feeling utter disillusionment while working for the NHS. I thrive on relationship-based midwifery with honesty and authenticity and helping women enable themselves to make the right choices for THEM without fear or coercion, be that a freebirth or an elective caesarean.
Here is Debs Guest blog - The Oxytocin Quandary on Blood to baby website that I reference in the interview. An interesting comparison of our natural oxytocin and artificial oxytocin as used in the induction process.
Here is a video about the Fetoscope as Debs didn't have hers to hand.
Debs started working as an independent midwife whilst on maternity with her first son.
3.32 Postnatal care is invaluable and Debs really appreciated this with her independent midwife.
6.00 Debs shares her reason to choose home birth and how the birth went.
10.00 Fascinating to experience birth from the other side and to feel what was going on insider her body.
11.08 Debs shares her second child's birth story.
15.18 Trusting your own intuition and knowing what to do. Debs actually broke her own waters!
17.30 When do you call the midwife? Debs tells you might get it wrong and that’s OK as there is no hard and fast rule. Don’t go by the numbers as there is lots variance in numbers and in women and in different pregnancies
24.30 Debs explains what a fetoscope is and how she uses it to check babies including their position. A skill that we are losing that is very useful.
33.40 Debs shares her bafflement that half of women are not deemed capable of starting their labour spontaneously and how this is not what she sees in her own practice where induction is rare. Plus striking a balance on having important nuanced conversations to support a woman to make choices.
43.45 Supporting a Vbac for Debs is kind of a non issue as support with physiology of birth and choices is just as important as for anyone else and if it is not going well there would be warning flags that pop up.
47.00 Debs discusses respect versus trust for birth.
49.59 We need to see women as more than just a vessel to give her the best care.
55.00 How helpful it is for both women and care providers to be very direct and say what you need and what you want.
Alexia Leachman Bio
Alexia is a mindset coach, an author and the host of the award-nominated podcasts Fear Free Childbirth and The Head Trash Show, which, together have been downloaded over 650,000 times in over 180 countries. Alexia overcame her extreme fears to have two fear-free home births and she now helps women to overcome their fears and anxieties so that they can approach their birth with confidence.
Alexia has helped thousands of women worldwide to lose the fear and claim their positive birth experience through her private sessions, her online programmes and products, and, of course, her podcast. She is the author of Fearless Birthing and Clear Your Head Trash.
Alexia appears regularly in the press, TV, radio and online including the BBC, SKY and ABC and has been featured in Huff Post, Mail Online, Psychologies, Red, Easy Living and Mother & Baby magazines.
The Fear Free Childbirth is an award-nominated podcast to help pregnant mamas prepare for a positive, fear-free childbirth experience. It’s a mix of positive birth stories, birth experts sharing their wisdom and Alexia sharing advice on mindset and tackling fears.
Despite her stress and grief Alexia was able to pull her fear clearance skills and as a coach together and changed her plan from c-section to a home birth. This led to changing career from working mostly with men to helping women to clear their fears of birth and a popular podcast.
Book fearless birthing and many products on website for all budgets
6.30 Women are not always speaking up as their fears get minimised. It is acceptable to say we are a bit worried and then put up with it.
9.42 Starting motherhood with a birth you enjoyed that you wanted even if it wasn’t the way you planned it sets you up in a good place for mother hood. Set yourself up for a great birth experience and stack the cards in your favour as birth can be a defining moment for you as a mother.
12.22 All about tokophobia- a pathological fear of birth and/ or pregnancy including primary and secondary tokophobia. Trauma is usually at the root of tokophobia even if you can't remember it.
14.00 Alexia's personal story of tokophobia including her fear of seeing bumps, fear of delivery and wanting to be knocked out. The impact on women who cannot release including multiple abortions of wanted babies and relationship breakdowns.
18.32 It is OK to be scared and OK to ask for help. Seek help now to give you enough time to process emotionally and know that the fears can be released and usually more quickly than you may think.
20.43 Should I wait until I am tryingfor a baby to clear my fears? You may hit fertility problems due to the fears , for example the stress may cause inflammation in your tubes. Living with fear on a daily basis which doesn’t feel nice so don’t wait.
22.51 Can't change the past but can change our relationship with the future. Phobias are defined as irrational but actually the reasons are rational to each woman and calling it irrational dismisses that woman's lived experience.
27.30 The Vision is to be in control of your destiny and the one making the decisions. Nonsense to eradicate like not supporting home birth ( Alexia has just moved to France and contrasts the two systems in UK and France)
Make a difference in schools, you can ask teachers what they teach about birth in schools.
34.00 Women who have babies early e.g. as teenagers are more likely to have a positive experience with zero preparation and no classes as they haven’t encountered all the negative narratives round birth.
Birth is different for everyone but we can change how we think about it as it changes the experience for us.
37.00 We are more than only the motherhood part and birth can enable a lot of the other parts to come out. Reclaim the value of mother as well as other roles in your life.
39.31 A simple place to start is to read positive stories and maybe watch good births on youtube. Caveat: Women with tokophobia can’t do that , this is too triggering. If this is you , you may need to start with therapeutic support.
42.23 Discussing all the ways women get undermined including feeling vulnerable, listening to doubts from others and not knowing that you can put your foot down and you do the allowing. Getting clear on what you want in time to set in place especially in the US. Make your decisions from an informed place.
47.00 You can sail through obstacles if you are getting the right support There are groups out there if the one you are in is not supportive find one that is. E.g. fb forums and local groups
50.00 Know that you have everything in you to have this birth even if you cannot access it straight away. Self trust is not easy to learn but you can learn it and birth can help you learn to trust your body. It is all within.