NEW – Supportive Caregivers Training!

Are you a midwife, obstetrician, doula or other professional working with pregnant women?

I know that the support you offer pregnant women during their pregnancy and birth can make a huge difference to their birthing experience and outcome.

We are all working with the same goal in mind – to help birthing mothers and babies achieve a safe and positive birth experience.

If you would like to learn more about the philosophy and tools of hypnobirthing so that you can best support parents who choose to use this method of birthing then this is the course for you!

This intensive training does not qualify you to teach the Hypnobirthing Australia Program – it is designed for support only.

This course is endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives as CPD Recognised Activity (10 CPD Hours).

In our Supportive Caregivers Training you will cover:

  • Introduction to positive mindset of hypnobirthing
  • Causes of fear and how it affects labour (psychological, emotional, physical)
  • How caregivers can best help and support hypnobirthing parents
  • What is hypnosis and how it is used through pregnancy and birth
  • Re-programming the subconscious – conditioning techniques used
  • The importance of a calm birthing environment
  • The language for empowered birthing
  • Releasing endorphins through touch
  • Introducing our toolkit for birth – breathing, visualisation, relaxation
  • Self-hypnosis techniques – how parents use them through pregnancy and birth
  • The power of triggers, anchors, suggestions and self-hypnosis during birth
  • Prompts that can be used during birth
  • Birth Preferences – the importance of open communication, negotiation and respecting women’s choices
  • Special circumstances
  • Releasing our own fears and reservations
  • Techniques and tools to manage stress. Deep relaxation techniques for caregivers (caregivers need nurturing too!)

This course will be running at regular intervals, to register your interest for the next course please email me at kerry@thehypnobirthingmum.com.au

The beautiful baby Freya – welcomed to the world in 3 pushes!

Mum Maria tells us about the quick labour of her baby and how “The birth was not what I expected but I wouldn’t change it, it was a magical experience in the end“….
“So we’ve had our baby girl, Freya!
freya dagh
On Sunday the 7th I lost the mucus plug at 5.30pm. At 6pm my waters broke. Went in to hospital to do a CTG scan with our midwife Lauren, all was well and we were sent home. Started having light contractions throughout the night from about 11pm. Went back to hospital on Monday at 1pm for another CTG, all was fine and was sent home again. Apparently when your waters break first they want to check that all is well as there’s a higher risk of infection.
I went from having manageable contractions (5min apart) around 3.30pm on Monday which subsided and became less frequent and irregular to out of nowhere becoming regular and 3 min apart at 7:30pm. Called the midwife but she didn’t think It was time to come in yet. At 8:15pm shit got real and my contractions were so strong and 2 min apart.
All of a sudden my body was pushing and I felt like I a needed to do a poo and sat down on the toilet. Brett was on the phone to our midwife and she said to come in straight away. So Brett grabbed my bag and car keys and tried to lift me off the toilet but at that point my legs wouldn’t move and my body was pushing (I had no control!) Not sure how he got me in to the car but I remember trying to fight my body pushing in the car and when we got to the hospital at 9pm, she was born 22 min later. She was out in 3 pushes.
Due to her speed I got a second degree tear and had to have a catheter put in for one night. Had the option to stay an extra night for monitoring (making sure I could wee after they took out the catheter) So we decided that me and Freya would stay the extra night and Brett went home to get a proper night’s sleep. It was a good idea not to have two tired parents. He picked us up Wednesday and we’ve been tag-teaming since to get some sleep. So happy to go home, two nights in hospital was too long. The midwives said that for our second baby we would have to come in straight away as it’s likely to be a faster birth as well.
The birth was not what I expected but I wouldn’t change it, it was a magical experience in the end. Hypnobirthing really helped in terms of not being afraid of the pain. I knew it was a “good” pain, as in, we soon got to meet our baby. (But boy did it hurt!) I totally forgot about my breathing techniques though, everything went so fast and I could never had prepared for that.
I think all the tools used in hypnobirthing prepared me for labour, I did a bunch of acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, hypnobirthing tracks etc. the birth just happened so quickly. I didn’t get my waterbirth or the birth centre (straight to delivery ward) or listening to my hypnobirthing track during birth. But it was all super special.”
Maria & Brett – parents to the beautiful baby Freya!

10 reasons to do a Hypnobirthing Australia course…

As a pregnant woman hopefully you are feeling excited about the upcoming birth of your baby, but you may also feel nervous, worried or even fearful of childbirth. We often hear how painful or scary birth is from TV, movies or from family and friends, but what if you were told it doesn’t have to be this way? What if you could give birth in a calm, positive and empowering manner!

 

Kerry from “The Hypnobirthing Mum” runs the Hypnobirthing Australia™ programme and is here to tell you how you can achieve that!

 

At Hypnobirthing Australia™ we believe that every woman and baby should have an amazing birth and we have several courses to reflect this – courses for both vaginal or caesarean birth as well as being able to do these courses in-person (group or private) or online.

The term ‘hypnobirthing’ is well known but you may not be aware of what it means and how it can help you in the lead up to your baby’s birth. Here are 10 reasons why you should look into the Hypnobirthing Australia™ programme:

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  • Remain calm and relaxed throughout labour and birth

 

The fear-tension-pain cycle works on the concept that if we can eliminate fear, we will feel more relaxed and experience lower levels of pain. The hypnotherapy element of hypnobirthing tackles these fears with self-hypnosis and positive affirmations. Alongside this, breathing and visualisation techniques are also incorporated so that both the psychological and physical elements of birth are covered. The result is a more calm and relaxing environment in which to birth your baby.

 

  • Benefits to baby

 

Babies born when the mum has been using a hypnobirthing approach are often said to be calmer babies who sleep well and feed better. Studies also show that they have higher APGAR scores (these indicate how well a baby is doing outside the womb) in the moments after birth.

 

  • Involves the birth partner

 

The Hypnobirthing Mum course isn’t just geared towards the mum it also places a heavy emphasis on the role of your birth partner. Whether you choose your partner, mum, friend or a doula to be your birth partner, the course will show them how they can support you during pregnancy, how to be your advocate during the birth, and gives them real, tangible things to do in a situation where they can so often feel quite useless.

 

  • Be informed about your choices

 

When a mother and her birth partner can approach childbirth feeling prepared with the right knowledge, information and tools this results in a positive and confident mindset that can lead to the beautiful births that so many women hope for. The Hypnobirthing Mum courses cover many aspects of the birthing process that equips you with the knowledge needed to make informed choices about the options you have when giving birth.

 

  • Reduced medicalisation of birth

 

More and more research is providing independent clinical evidence that a Hypnobirthing approach to birth reduces the need for medical interventions including epidurals and caesareans, less drugs used during labour and shorter hospital stays following birth. Throughout the ages giving birth has been a natural event that woman would celebrate and embrace, and it is only in the relatively recent past that we have started to use increasingly medicalised interventions. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that only approx. 10-15%% of births require a caesarean for genuine medical reasons yet statistics show its currently more than 30% and is continuing to rise. It is time to go back towards more natural methods for supporting childbirth – the act of giving birth isn’t changing, our approach to it is!

 

  • Offers you strategies for childbirth

 

For arguably the most important event in our lives, women often go into childbirth unprepared, uninformed and unsuspecting of what is about to happen. A Hypnobirthing Mum course will provide you with tangible skills and techniques that you can weave into your birth-plan and builds a strategy for both you and your birth partner to follow – “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin.

 

  • You can’t re-do the birth

 

Welcoming your baby into the world should be the most joyous occasion you ever experience. There’s no doubting once you are holding your new addition to the family in your arms you will be consumed with love and happiness, but wouldn’t it also be great to look back on the whole of your labour with fondness and affection. Investing in a Hypnobirthing Australia™ course where you develop the skills, techniques and knowledge for a positive and calm birth can help you achieve this and have the most empowering start to motherhood possible. “Childbirth education is one of the most important investments you can make for you baby. You can sell the pram if it doesn’t suit…but you don’t get to ‘re-do’ their birth” Melissa Spilsted, Hypnobirthing Australia™ Director.

 

  • Can be used regardless of how and where you give birth

 

Courses devised by Hypnobirthing Australia™ and run by Kerry at The Hypnobirthing Mum have been created to support mother, baby and birth partners regardless of how and where you give birth. There is no judgment on one of our courses, in fact, there is even a course specifically designed for Caesarean births! The techniques you learn and the knowledge you gain will be invaluable to you whatever path your birth takes.

 

  • Techniques can be used before, during and after giving birth

 

You will learn breathing techniques, positive affirmations and self-hypnosis on a course. All of these can be used to help enjoy your pregnancy, to have a positive birth experience, and then also once your baby has arrived to create a beautiful bond with your baby.

 

  • Positive and empowering birth experience

 

If you want the opportunity to have a positive and empowering birth experience with all the benefits listed above then visit www.thehypnobirthingmum.com.au for more information, course details and how to book into a course.

 

Kerry Sutcliffe is a Certified Hypnobirthing Practitioner and Childbirth Educator (HPCE) based in Sydney. She is a hypnobirthing mum to 3 gorgeous children – Hollie, Bethany and Jack – and doing a hypnobirthing course was “without doubt the best thing I did to prepare for birth and welcome them into the world!”

Three calm and positive birth experiences led her to being a passionate advocate for this approach to birth and she now runs ‘The Hypnobirthing Mum’ where she delivers the Hypnobirthing Australia™ programmes to pregnant women and their birth partners.

Kerry has a background in counselling and psychology primarily with clients experiencing anxiety and depression. She loves teaching this approach to other women and would love to hear from you if you are interested in hypnobirthing so that you too can start your journey towards a wonderful and beautiful way to meet your baby!

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Web – www.thehypnobirthingmum.com.au

Facebook – www.facebook.com/thehypnobirthingmum

Email – kerry@thehypnobirthingmum.com.au

Phone – 0451771723

 

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Gina – acupuncturist, Chinese medicine herbalist and energy healer

Introduce yourself in 50 words or less…

Hi, I’m Gina Yallamas, an acupuncturist, Chinese medicine herbalist and energy healer. I’m a local Inner Westie living in Lilyfield and practicing in Birchgrove. I’m a huge advocate for alternative therapies and anything natural as I believe in our bodies ability to heal if given the right love and care. I have 3 wild daughters aged 16, 13 and 8 that are my inspiration and joy! Nature and animals (we have a dog and rabbit) are close to my heart and combining those with family and friends makes me a happy soul!

gina

How can you support women BEFORE birth?

I assist women pre-pregnancy with fertility and preparation of the body and mind for conception. Both acupuncture and energy healing are beneficial for this depending on your concerns/situation. Our modern lives can create stress that can affect conception so allowing you to be as calm and relaxed as possible is essential for the enjoyment and success of conception.

How can you support women DURING birth?

I educate you and your partner about various acupressure points that can be accessed during labour to assist you with pain, relaxation and ease of birth. Pre-birth acupuncture is also very useful for supporting and preparing the body for the birthing process.

How can you support woman AFTER birth?

Post-birth the body is in a depleted state and requires added nurturing and nourishment, particularly with the demands of breast feeding. Chinese herbs, acupuncture and other nutritional education help to rebuild your energy and restore your body as it contracts back to its original state of wellness.

What are the main benefits a pregnant (or recently given birth) women could gain from your services? 

The main benefits are a supportive, calm, nurturing and wholistic experience that helps to empower you before and after the birth.

What do you love most about your job?

Helping people become their best in all situations and providing a wholistic experience that balances the body, mind and spirit.

If you could give pregnant women 1 piece of advice, what would it be?

Your body knows what it is doing, it was designed to give birth so focus on being calm and feeling supported.

What’s your favourite quote/mantra?

Shine bright like a diamond!

 

 

Where can new and expectant mums turn when they need a little extra help?!

Preparing for and having a new baby can be a tiring time. Meet Vanessa from Bedrest Solutions who is here to help new and expectant mums with pretty much anything and everything you may want help with!!!

Introduce yourself….

I’m a mum of a young toddler who shares my love of reading. When I was pregnant, I developed pre-eclampsia and was on bedrest for 10 weeks. I found that experience so difficult and that’s why I became a maternity concierge. Previously I used to work as an early childhood teacher and train adults to work with children. I love being organised and helping others.

How can you support women BEFORE birth? 

I’m a maternity concierge, giving pregnant women a helping hand. Our services include Baby Showers, Nurseries, Packing the hospital bag, organising baby items, household chores, babysitting, errands and completing the items on your never ending to do list. While we help pregnant women who are run off their feet, we also specialise in helping women on bedrest.

How can you support woman AFTER birth? 

We provide new mums with a helping hand while they are busy bonding with their newborn. We can mind the baby while mum catches up on her sleep, look after the household chores, complete errands and more.

What are the main benefits a pregnant (or recently given birth) women could gain from your services? 

Expectant mothers gain more time to enjoy their pregnancy and newborn, reassurance that they are prepared for the baby and they can take back control during a difficult pregnancy.

What do you love most about your job? 

I love meeting expectant mothers during a very special time in their life and helping them to enjoy their pregnancy.
If you could give pregnant women 1 piece of advice, what would it be? 

Pregnancy can be hard, so it’s important to nurture yourself, both physically and emotionally. Whether that means a pregnancy massage, getting more rest, or taking your mind of all things baby related by doing something you enjoy.

What’s your favourite quote/mantra?

Live your dream

The Hypnobirthing Mum is on YouTube!

I have created a YouTube channel – “The Hypnobirthing Mum with Kerry Sutcliffe” – where you can view some short videos about things such as what courses are on offer, the benefits of hypnobirthing, and what kind of women do hypnobirthing for their baby’s birth.

 

I will be adding videos to this at regular intervals on various topics about pregnancy and childbirth so feel free to take a look (have a laugh at the hilarious still shots next to each video – why do they stop at such unflattering moments?!) and share with friends and family who you think would benefit.

 

Kerry xx

Here are some of the videos that have been uploaded…..check out the photo for the “Who does hypnobirthing” video!!!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training for birth like an Olympic athlete!

This former professional athlete prepared for birth like she was going to compete at the Olympics! I often say that giving birth is like training for a sporting event and this mama’s training paid off. Read below what she did to get ready for birth…

 

“Lola was born on the 1st of June at 8.54am and weighted 3.4 Kg. I went into labour during the night and just 5 hours later she was born! I couldn’t even believe it myself. I was mentally prepared for a full day in labour but at 5am I was 4cm dilated and at 8.30 am I was 9! No time to even consider any pain relief. I spent the whole time repeating to myself the words “relax and down” (in Spanish) and visualising my uterus doing its job as I kept rocking my pelvis sitting in the shower, maintaining controlled breathing was the key to control every surge. It was tough but I’m very happy with my birth experience and we both are healthy and doing well. 

 

On a side note, I would like to share with you what I did in the first stages of labour before going into hospital. Maybe this can help other moms: To stay away from anxiety, I sat down on a Swiss ball rocking my pelvis and watched stand-up comedy on my computer for a couple of hours. That really helped keep my stress levels down and feel more relaxed. 

 

During my pregnancy I complemented all the hypnobirthing training along with other therapies: I did 3 acupuncture sessions through the week before my due date, on that week I also started to put some drops of clary sage in my pillow and for 4 weeks I’ve been also taking raspberry leaf tea prescribed by my naturopath. Also I used the Epi NO device every day for 10 minutes since week 37 to help me improve the elasticity of the perineum tissues. I think it all contributed to such short labour. Ah! And I took bicarb soda the last hour of labour to help me with muscle fatigue (remember the research I sent you?). 

 

For the last month I also spent every day for about 5 to 10 minutes in a deep squat position visualising the baby engaging in the pelvis and positioning correctly, I kept walking every day for an hour till my last day of pregnancy and swimming twice a week till week 39. I did gentle strength training with elastic bands up until week 40 and all my core training was based on diaphragmatic breathing involving the deep core muscles (no crutches, planks or anything similar, JUST BREATHING. After two weeks postpartum, my belly it’s almost flat and I started Kegel exercises and back to the diaphragmatic breathing the day after birth. 

 

Little Lola started breastfeeding just 10 minutes after being born and she seems pretty good at it! We are just working out the feeding routine, but that will take a couple more weeks I’m afraid. But overall I think I’m very lucky with her. 

 

Thank you Kerry for all the knowledge you provided me with to have the best birth experience I could imagine. 

 

Here’s a picture of the hairy little one!

Paula – mummy to baby Lola

lola campanero

 

 

 

“When she slipped out of me I just couldn’t believe it! That was it! I gave birth and it seemed so easy!!!” – The Birth of the beautiful Cassandra!

If you are in need of some inspiration for your birth, then read this birth story! There are so many wonderful comments from mum stating how amazing birth can be….

“I didn’t lose control for a second”

“A positive beautiful birth with no stress, no fear, almost no pain. A totally un-medicated birth that seemed like a walk in the park and I can now say we are born to do it this way! “

“Hypnobirthing classes gave me the strength to become a mother again and feel like I had the birthing experience every mother deserves!”

 

“Hello Kerry,  

I want to update you with our amazing news. So little Cassandra Anna Ingaldo decided to make her entrance in this world on Friday 25th of May at 1.27 in the afternoon.

 Her birth was calm, easy and quick! 

 I started having very soft and gentle surges around 4am in the morning. I listened to the ‘surge of the sea’ album and managed to fall asleep till 7.30am in the morning. When I woke up I was having gentle surges every 5 minutes and managed to have breakfast, read a book and play with my boy.

John couldn’t believe I was in labour – he was getting ready to go to his job. I told him better to stay home as you never know how things develop. I was right around 10am it started getting more intense. I went to my room listened to my meditation playlists, had a shower and concentrate.

I put all the hypnobirthing knowledge to use. It helped so much. I was in total control having surges that were lasting more than a minute every 3 mins, I wasn’t feeling the urge to go to the hospital!

Finally at 12.15 the waters broke and it became very clear we needed to go as surges were coming very close and more intense. Still I was in control.

I was at the hospital at 12.30 and the midwife was preparing the pool. I got in the pool at 1pm feeling the urge to push and baby came out at 1.27pm

I didn’t lose control for a second. I was able to listen and follow the midwife instructions and breath my baby out. I didn’t have any tearing. When she slipped out of me I just couldn’t believe it! That was it! I gave birth and it seemed so easy!!

John – who was an excellent partner holding and talking to me all the time – said he couldn’t believe how in control I was and how easy it seemed. He finally admitted our hypnobirthing classes helped a lot to achieve what we wanted.

A positive beautiful birth with no stress, no fear, almost no pain. A totally unmedicated birth that seemed like a walk in the park and I can say now we are born to do it this way!

Thank you very much. Hypnobirthing classes gave me the strength to become a mother again and feel like I had the birthing experience every mother deserves. Positive and empowering. Keep up the good work so many expecting mothers need to know about it.

Kind regards

Zenia & John”

cassandra anna ingaldo (zenia)

How can a doula support you before, during and after birth?

Virginia Maddock from Natural Beginnings is here to tell you more…

Introduce yourself in 50 words or less…

Hi. I’m Virginia, otherwise known as “Muuuuuuum!!!” to 2 boys (6 and 9yo) who were born naturally at home. I have been a doula since 2006, and am also a herbalist and nutritionist, so I am passionate about the natural side to everything in life. I am equally passionate about human, women’s and animal rights which infuse into everything I do.

How can you support women BEFORE birth?

I support women before birth by filling in any gaps in their knowledge about the process of birth; by making them aware of ALL their choices including place of birth, antenatal medical testing, hospital policies, and pain relief alternatives. I help them with writing a birth plan to reflect their vision for how they would like to be treated in the birthing room and what choices they have made for their labour and birth, by helping them to face and overcome their fears, giving them tools to manage pain so they can cope with the intensity that labour brings, and giving them techniques to create the space needed for their baby to engage in an optimal position for birth. By the end of their pregnancy women should be optimistically anticipating the rite of passage that will be their labour and birth instead of dreading its arrival.

How can you support women DURING birth?

I support women during birth by giving them the knowledge in my head, the compassion in my heart and the warmth in my hands. I help to create the ideal internal and external environment to eliminate fears and help women feel safe during birth, help with pain relief and endurance with warm touch, massage and natural alternatives where warranted, and help support their voice to advocate for their ideal vision of birth when interacting with health professionals. I also offer birth photography as an add-on to my package if women would like to capture their precious birthing and baby memories forever. My service is designed to give women the comfort, compassion and control they need to birth their babies with confidence.

How can you support woman AFTER birth?

I support women after birth by being an empathetic ear to listen to their birth story, by bringing my experience as a mother if they need some guidance, a shoulder to cry on when things feel overwhelming, or I can help facilitate referrals to other specialists when things feel too complicated. I also offer a ‘closing the bones’ ceremony to complete the birthing process and help the transition from a pregnant and birthing woman to mother. As an add-on to my services I offer placenta encapsulation to help women feel fantastic in those early days, new family photography to forever capture that delicious newborn period which will otherwise quickly fade into a fuzzy memory, and traditional postnatal belly massage to nurture the well-deserved, post-birth body.

What are the main benefits a pregnant (or recently given birth) women could gain from your services?

In the modern world where pregnant women can feel isolated and overwhelmed, hospital policies can be very impersonal, and birth is seen as an emergency waiting to happen, the benefits women receive from my doula service are evidence based birth education, knowledge about all her options, feeling heard, gaining trust in her body, her baby, and the choices she has made, and having the hands on support she needs to birth her baby with confidence.

What do you love most about your job?

I love watching couples change from hesitant and fearful to bold and empowered. I love seeing women make a smooth and amazing transition from maiden to mother, and the look of admiration and pride on the dad’s face when he witnesses the power that his partner has within her. Seeing new life emerge is the icing on the cake!

If you could give pregnant women 1 piece of advice, what would it be?

Know your options, face your fears, trust your intuition and find your voice. And don’t birth without a doula, especially in the hospital – you need someone to hold the space and be in your corner!

What’s your favourite quote/mantra?

This is not exactly birth related, but it applies to everything in life and is what drives me to be an activist, especially for health, birth and animal rights… “Never, never be afraid to do what is right, especially if the wellbeing of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ~ Martin Luther King

Please provide details of your business

virginia maddock photo

What is a Doula and how can they support you in your goal of achieving a great birth experience?

Doula’s are becoming increasingly utilised by women as a form of support during their labour and birth of their baby.

Here, Amanda Bernstein from Essential Me gives you a detailed run down of what a Doula does and how one could support you, and your partner, during the birth of your baby…

 

Often I meet people in the street and they ask what I do.  Often I’m met with “Oh a jeweller! Cool, are you wearing any of your work?” or “Do you mean something like fencing where you fight people?”… Alas, no.  My mum is an awesome jeweller though!

Hi, I’m Amanda Bernstein and my business is called Essential Me.  I’m a Sydney based birth and postnatal Doula, supporting mums in the East / Eastern Suburbs, Inner West, Lower North and Southern parts of Sydney.  It’s a combination of Doula services and you can choose one or the other, or both.  The word originates from the Greek language and used to mean “slave woman” which overtime became “servant woman” and is now “support woman”.  Essentially, I support women and couples during their pregnancy, at their birth and in the postpartum period, providing continuity of care in their journey to meet their new baby.  Every time I’m at a birth it’s super special to me – I feel honoured that a couple who were effectively strangers invite me into such a personal time in their lives.  It’s a privilege I don’t take lightly or for granted.  Your baby will only be born once and I do everything I can to help make sure it is the best possible experience you can have.

Amanda Bernstein Sydney Doula Services Eastern Suburbs pregnancy massage

As a Doula, I work alongside your medical team – whether it’s your midwife, GP or obstetrician – and play a very different part to them at your birth.  A Doula is a non-medical role – I’m there to support you emotionally, physically and informatively.  Usually we meet for an obligation free interview, a kind of “get to know you” chat.  I think this is really important as if you’re going to invite me to your birth – one of life’s most intimate moments – I want you to feel 100% comfortable in my presence.  You need to be able to speak your mind, share your feelings and not hold back what you really think.

If you wish to proceed from there, we arrange for at least two further prenatal meetings.  At the first one, we discuss your preferences around birth (all your hopes and wishes) and I go over with you what your options are.  I truly believe that you have choice and evidence based information is important.  From this conversation I create a birth plan (AKA birth preferences – as things don’t always go to plan!) and send it to you.  This is an important step as it means should something not go to plan at your birth, you understand why.  There will be a medical reason why things will deviate from your preferences and you won’t have trauma around them after the birth.  The birth plan is something I can use as a Doula in the hospital setting to advocate for you – for your wishes – and to make sure you consent to anything that strays from this.  You’ll take this plan to your pregnancy care provider to sign off on during your pregnancy, so there are no surprises about your requests at the birth.  It will give you a chance to discuss anything out of the ordinary with them, or anything that may clash with your wishes – like potentially hospital policy.

In the second meeting we discuss your fears around birth and address any concerns or queries that you may have around the process, and what happens next.  We’ll talk about natural things you can do to be in optimum shape and condition to birth your baby, and can even go over some positions for birth, breathing techniques and visualisations.  Though of course, you may have already done this in your independent birthing classes.  Importantly, it’s spending more time getting to know me (and me you!) and feeling more comfortable and at ease in my presence.

Then, from your 38 to 42 weeks gestation (ie your due month), I’m on call for you.  You can contact me 24/7 with concerns, queries, questions, and importantly if you think you’re in labour.  I then attend your birth with you.  If you’re low risk, your hospital may even offer you access to a homebirth or their birthing centre instead of the delivery suite – and I can support you and your partner in your labour and your birth in all of these locations.

To your birth, I bring my giant Doula toolkit (or some say a bag of tricks!).  This includes lots of things like motivation and encouragement, massage and acupressure, essential oils and homeopathy, rebozo techniques, photography and more… Most importantly, I truly believe in you and your ability to birth your baby.  As a non-biased support person, I’m there for you no matter what and will back you in your choices.  I can provide you with lots of information so that you totally understand the risks around the decisions you make.  I strive to ensure that you are 100% present for your journey, that you consent to every step of the process, and that if this deviates from your birth plan, you fully understand why.  Given in 2018 we have postnatal depression rates of something like 1 in 7 women, 1 in 16 partners and PTSD in 1 in 10 new mums, I truly believe that having a Doula is a massive step towards improving these numbers.

We’ll meet after the birth to debrief your experience.  It’s the chance for you to own your story and having been at your birth, I can help you to fill in any gaps.  Often during a birth, time is warped and it can be hard to judge how long there was between each event or even which part came first.  Debriefing is an important step to ensure you have no question unanswered or “stone left unturned” so to speak.  I can also help you with feeding and settling techniques, and go through an approximate “what to expect” for a 24 hour cycle with your newborn baby (not quite a routine).

In this postnatal Doula role, we call it “mothering the mother” and so I do whatever it is that you need to best be able to look after your baby.  I can help you fold a load of laundry, hold the baby so you can shower, cook a nutritious meal and even pick up some groceries for you on my way.  And if you don’t have much support around, you can book additional postpartum Doula sessions with me too. My role encompassing all Doula services, is varied and allows me to offer a true range of support for you in so many different ways.

 While I absolutely love this Sydney based doula support work, it does mean I need to juggle some other things in my personal life.  My children are young (currently 6 and 3.5 years old) and are at school / preschool 5 days a week.  My amazing husband can help cover the nights and weekends, and we have a demi pair (like a nanny) who lives with us who helps with the drop off and pick up times from school.  Given I have to drop everything on the fly to attend a birth, it’s essential that I have these sorts of measures in place.  It also means I don’t commit to very much personally.  When we are invited to something I can only say “I’m on call for a birth at that time so while I’ll do my best to be there, there is a chance I’ll be supporting a Doula client”.  Also, as I mostly see my clients on nights and weekends (as they work in the day and that’s what usually suits them), it does significantly limit the time I can spend with my husband and kids.  I try to keep one week night free a week to spend with my husband, and at least one of the weekend days to spend as a family – tricky when we juggle things like swimming, jiu-jitsu or dance classes – plus kids birthday parties etc…  I see this mostly as a sacrifice for loving the Doula work I do.  Every job has its ups and downs, and the “job” part of being a Doula doesn’t feel like work to me as I love it so much, it’s more the missing out on other opportunities in my life that is the down side.

In addition to my Doula services, I’m also a Ka Huna bodyworker and a Pilates instructor.  Ka Huna massage is an incredible Hawaiian style that uses long flowing strokes from head to toe and back again, over and under the body, and this underbody work is so unique and different to any other style, making Ka Huna a full body massage in one sweeping motion.  You are encouraged to relax deeply on the table and truly let go – physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I didn’t get into Ka Huna to become a massage therapist, rather it’s the personal development that comes with it that I gain so much from.  You see in Ka Huna, we focus on the flow of love energy, and if I can stay present and focused, not thinking about the laundry or what’s for dinner or any negative things that may be happening in my life, then I feel so much more positive in general.  When giving a massage, I draw on my Lomi Lomi Heartworks (another Hawaiian style of massage) techniques which makes the massage like a meditation – I imagine I’m breathing air in from my head to my heart, and love out my arms and hands into the body on the table.  I’m trained in pregnancy massage and bring a little bit of flow to each birth with me too.

 As a Pilates instructor, I specialised in pregnancy Pilates and postnatal Pilates for recovery.  I offer a unique mobile service to you where I come to your home in Sydney and help you apply functional Pilates exercises back into your everyday life.  This helps to reduce the risk of injury and allows your body to adapt as your baby grows.  This is available during pregnancy and usually as a postnatal service.

Thanks so much for reading all the way through this blog article.  I hope you have enjoyed my sharing all aspects of my busy lifestyle and exactly what’s involved in being a Doula (or hiring me).”

 

If you’d like more information or to connect with Amanda Bernstein, the Sydney Doula, please check out:

Website: www.essentialme.com.au

Phone Amanda: 0411 607 608

Facebook & Instagram: /essentialmeservices