The Positive Birth movement is a global grass roots network of free to attend antenatal groups that aim to connect pregnant women together to encourage each other and share stories, expertise and positivity about childbirth positivity about childbirth. The organisation aims to challenge the epidemic of negativity and fear that surrounds modern birth, and help change birth for the better. In this interview, Kat and Florence from Worcestershire Doulas talk about the Positive Birth Movement and why they love to run groups to encourage all women to plan for a positive birth experience and why this is so important and effective.
0- 4 Introducing Kat and Florence and why they are so passionate about Birth and how they became birthworkers. For Florence her first experience as a 'Doula' was at 6 years old! and it grew from there. Talking about the importance of women's voice and making sure women know their rights.
4.15 Introducing the Positive Birth Movement- putting a positive slant on birth and moving away from the common negative ways it is portrayed. That this positivity is possible for all kinds of birth experience. The groups are for all women and not run by experts and this is beautiful as everyone has a voice and can ask questions and share their knowledge and experiences.
8.24 The enormous amount of goodwill and passion by the volunteers who run the groups who all want women to find their voice in birth and experience a positive experience.
9 What is the difference between the Positive Birth Movement Groups and standard antenatal classes: No formal structure and content to get through, rather open discussions following a theme. Following what the group needs with no agenda and a lot of flexibility.
12.14 The importance of no judgment in the groups , all are welcome. There are many places for women to meet up but these groups are very specific not just coffee mornings and supportive of all experiences.
14.20 In the groups you learn that noone fails at birth. You can hear different perspectives that help you find postivty in your situation and find courage and feel supported.
16.23 Witnessing the transformation and seeing women come back into the groups to share their stories and how lovely that is for everyone. It is also great to have that space to share the story and for women who have questions who can ask anything without feeling stupid. They feel like the group has their back and is with them throughout their journey like cheerleaders.
17.50 Moving from passivity to empowered and active in what happens to you. Sometimes this shows in even subtle ways like body language, how a woman sits or walks in the room.
19.50 Learning how to be empowered and stand your ground and other ways to make your positive birth happen. Think about who is in the room with you and where you are getting your information from as you prepare. Invest in yourself and remember to inlude the postnatal period in your planning. Fill in for the missing village! Create support around you at all stages.
25.12 Getting away from the pressure of trying to be perfect. There is no one perfect way and it comes back to empowerment again and finding what works for you.
25.52 Loving how powerful women are in birth and seeing the huge transformative process no matter how it happens and Kat speaks of how she will never grow tired of it. Florence agrees and how amazing our bodies are and the mechanics of how it works. She thinks we put obstacles in our way when nature and instinct is so amazing and powerful.
28.20 Feeling heartbroken hearing the same stories over and over about how I wasn't allowed and the disempowering lanuguage that is used with women. Feeling frustrated after ten and more years that the same scnearios where the system is not supporting women as it should. Women should be at the centre and not made to feel doubting or themselves and so fearful ( If this is you have a read of this post which has practical tips on how to stand your ground and get the birth you want.
Would love to see the medical expertise used appropriately at same time as trusting in birth and women's bodies.
Focusing on numbers and measurements when that time could be spent on preparing emotionally and physicall on what a healthy pregnancy looks like and what will happen when the baby comes. So the system does not allow for these parts and they can be missed. Infantilising of women is still happening - Thiink of Monty Python clip!
32 What really matters- it is more than 'just' a healthy baby. Women remember every birth is different and there is noone more expert than you. Parenting also different every time. Remember you are enough and you are going to do it no matter what and that is also enough
BirthEssence was talking to Worcestershire Doulas who comprise of Kat Galbraith and Florence Etienne-Jackson. They also have co founded the Birmingham South Positive Birth group.
Kat Galbraith is a birth and postnatal doula, a born to carry peer supporter and is actively involved in her local Maternity Voices Partnership. She is a mum of three and grandmother to two and when not working loces to walk her dog and is a keen photographer.
You can find her here