In depth podcast and photo blog sharing birth stories, transformative journeys, people and information to better our understanding of the wise traditional wisdom of pregnancy and birth. Australia & worldwide this podcast shows the intimate and ancient patterns of our stories and how birth ultimately transforms us and those around. Dive in to our journeys and seek the rich wisdom of how birth can shape you. Teamed up with resources, photos and links to keep you informed and surrounded by a supportive group of contributors.
Great resource for mothers, fathers, birth partners, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and especially birth workers, midwives & doulas or people looking to heal and create more awareness in their own personal journey.
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E53 – Birth With Joy – Midwife and Birth in a Bus
Midwife Joy and I recorded last year I actually got sidetracked with this track and took me a while to get it all back together, and what a delight to finally find it again! This conversation was so amazing. Joy become pregnant at the age of 19 and at the time was living the ideal nomadic life in a bus. We talk about her bus birth, her steps into midwifery and how she trained with traditional midwifes. She lives on a boat! She is amazing and I need to write no more, dive into the podcast! Its a long one but such a beautiful journey to share….
The Birth Attendants youtube video: https://youtu.be/P1Ngtl_x0go
Connect with Joy
E52 – Elective Caesarean to Home Birth, Jessie’s Story of Finding her Autonomy and Safety
What if we looked at the birth experiences so graciously shared with us in absolute awe of how amazing women are in birth? Jessie’s story is one of these incredible experiences, where she tuned in to her safety and autonomy.
For the next hour you will be podcast blessed with Jessie and her family’s journey, finding out how birth does not always have to be something we endure, survive and see as a painful event that should be over with as quick as possible. During this podcast Jessie talks about her conception and prepping for the birth. Look at the resources below – you will be gifted with the most beautiful video of Jessie birthing her baby in a way that makes her feel safe and nurtured.
What happened with this video? The media got to it! One of the most obvious issues we are facing at the moment is the suppression of women and their right to have the pregnancy and birth within which they feel ‘safe’, ‘supported’, and in tune with their bodies. Birth is not a ‘one size fits all’! The media reaction to this video was full of many so called ‘experts’, so much talk about unnecessary things and distraction from being able to view this birth with absolute pure elation and non-judgmental awe. We don’t talk about any of this, mainly because I don’t subscribe to that stuff and also because I had so many better things to explore in Jessie’s story than what interpretation the media wanted to make.
Here is the most important part: Jessie’s message from this experience was the equal importance of the mental and physical health of the mother. That resonates so clearly! How many times have women been left with “at least’ you have a healthy baby”? Jessie wanted to share this video with the world because she felt so empowered by watching other women share their experiences. This is Jessie gifting back.
So so much gratitude to you, Jessie, as you are gifting back so much inspiration to us all!
All Photos: Port Douglas Wedding Photography & Designer Portraiture Australia
Musings from Jessie
“It was just like the stars aligned, everything was happening and we trusted the process.”
“The respect, appreciation, trust and gratitude you receive in your body during pregnancy is life changing.”
“I really felt like I was listening to my baby during the whole pregnancy.”
“’It was really important to surround my birth space with everything that made me happy.”
“For women to have access to watch birth videos is such an amazing resource.”
“Empowered women, empowering women – this is such an important support circle to have.”
“Women are amazing, we are capable of so much more than what we may believe.”
Book – Down to Earth Birth – Jenny Blythe
Full Birth Video: https://youtu.be/ZsFlwJMwkm0
Our Right of Reply to the Media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01vg1F0CfGg&feature=youtu.be
E51 – Why Im Not Celebrating Homebirth – Katherine Eden’s Story
Welcome to an epic and absolutely essential podcast to listen to. I decided not to split it up and you can enter in and out of this beautiful journey with Katherine and I. So why are we feeling that home birth is no where in a space to celebrate in Australia and worldwide? This story will unravel some of the mysteries of why women are still subjected to an absolute barrage of political, business and oppression driven birth culture. This story is a hard reality of a woman that wants to be supported by her midwife and birth team and how the system takes charge to make sure there were as many hurdles as possible. Katherine is a beautiful connected soul, and her story now is a gift in ours. Take the time to read her blog if you can (links in the show notes) She has compiled a list of amazing resources. Now the audio dips in and out of some parts, yet the story and Katherines beautiful articulation trumps that! So with that welcome to the story and be open to the medicine.
THIS IS KATHERINES BLOG BELOW – Find it at – http://katherineeden.com/speaking-the-unspeakable-not-celebrating-homebirth/
Speaking the unspeakable; why I’m not celebrating homebirth.
If this post triggers you or brings up any strong feelings please reach out and speak to someone.
You could call Lifeline , PANDA or Beyondblue
Today I need to be very vulnerable with you. I started writing this post during homebirth awareness week. But I was not, and will not be celebrating. We have since seen some incredible speeches from some inspirational women about the crisis of birth, both in this country and around the world.
I NEED TO GET THIS OFF MY CHEST AND SHARE SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN BUBBLING WITHIN ME.
My heart hurts. It aches. It aches for me, for my baby, for my family, for my fellow birth workers and for all the women and babies who have been affected by the current climate of homebirth. I want to say something controversial to you;
I AM SICK AND TIRED OF CELEBRATING HOMEBIRTH
Don’t get me wrong, homebirth is, and has always been, my only choice for how I want my babies to enter the world. To me it just feels like my complete natural instinct to support the physiological birthing process and birth where I feel most safe. For me that is at home with a Midwife. Homebirth is incredible and we know from countless stories and an abundance of evidence that homebirth is both safer in terms of physical safety as well as providing increased emotional safety and birth satisfaction (more info here). It is our biological norm. When you tell me homebirth and continuity of care are amazing and worthy of celebration you are preaching to the converted.
This is not to discount women who have had wonderful experiences in the hospital. It’s just that at this time we need to start getting more serious about the reality of birth. We know homebirth is safe and incredible and yes we need to continue reminding those who don’t know. We need to remind, and take more action against those who disempower or take away a woman’s control or experience because they are not evidence based or because they work from a place of fear. Yes, we need to continue to have this discussion. Yes, we need to celebrate the amazingness that is homebirth. BUT this CANNOT and MUST NOT be the ONLY discussion!
E50 – These are My Hours – First Documentary Filmed Entirely During Labour – Emily’s Story
Could you ever imagine your whole house set up with cameras? A film crew sleeping near by and all anticipating the moment they are called in? Coming into a space so sacred, so intimate and so powerful to a primal woman’s right of passage…. Well Emily has gone above and beyond with gracious love to invite this whole experience of the birth of her fourth baby. I am so excited and so deeply honoured to bring this podcast to you before this film’s release on Mother’s day, 2018. What is the film all about? What was it like for Emily? This is your scoop here! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this story and you will too! I have no doubt you will want to watch this epic and beautiful film!
We begin our podcast with Emily talking about her own birth: We can see here how Emily has grown into not having fear of birth. All of Emily’s babies have been birthed at home. We talk about her first birth with a midwife during which baby was born in around 6 hours; This was not what Emily was expecting for a first birth! We navigate to Emily’s next birth: same house, pool and midwife, and an epic quick birth at 1.5 hours. Emily describes how she navigated this next transition into her motherhood. During these conversations, we talk about the birth climate in the area.
Emily’s third birth was a different location, a longer birth this time, and Emily wanted to cultivate the longer transition moments. She worked and learned from Whapio and the holistic stages of birth (see resources). This baby was born with a nuchal hand and Emily recalls reaching down to baby as he was coming out and feeling her baby’s little hand hold hers!
So from listening to Emily we have a good understanding about how powerful this woman is and how powerful this film will be to many.
We then speak about Emily’s fourth baby and the film, and Emily speaks so honestly and beautifully about her miscarriages in between. The calling was there for her next baby, the film was agreed upon, and this brought up many interesting and intense feelings for their family. Listen to how Emily navigated this with the upcoming film and what it felt like each time she went through the experience of miscarriage.
We talked about the film now and it was exciting for me to ask so many questions about what it was like to have so many cameras and people present during the birth, how it started, what Emily recalls; My questions went on! I loved how the whole crew of mostly men were in absolute awe of this process, not trying to fix it, wanting to be a part of it and letting it happen; Does not sound common practice, right?
This episode is a beautiful dive into something so intimate and sacred that Emily and her family have so generously shared with the world. This is the voice we need. This film is the healing we want.
Musings from Emily
“I was my mothers first baby. I was very wanted and consciously created.”
“I never had the concept that birth was something to be feared.”
“As my baby was coming out I reached down and I could feel his little hand, it held onto my finger.”
“’I have the most wonderful women come into my life.”
“During all of my births I never had anyone reach in and bother me. I never really knew what a huge deal that was until looking back and hearing other women’s stories.”
“My film crew were in no rush for the birth to happen; This made them perfect witnesses, as they were just happy to let it be.”
“My fourth postpartum was the most blissful that I ever had.”
“If everyone could be this excited about a birth happening, what it could do for women!”
“One of the best parts of the film is the birth / after birth scene. This part has a strong potential for changing the philosophy of what we think about birth.”
E49- #MothersForMidwives -Homebirth Consortium Australia -Continuity & Mothers Supporting Midwives
Homebirth Consortium Australia [HCA] is a newly formed working group made up of representatives from local homebirth groups around Australia. HCA’s aim is to show their support for homebirth midwives and fight for changes to government policies so that midwives can return to working more autonomously and within their full scope of practice. By supporting our homebirth midwives, we support home birthing families and accordingly aim to protect homebirth within Australia.
Media Release for Mothers For Midwives March on May 5th2018
With International Midwives Day on May 5th, it is an opportunity for women around Australia to thank the professionals who held their hands during the most important day (or night) of their lives: their baby’s birth day.
It is estimated there are over 32,000 registered midwives, with around 28,000 midwives employed by public and private hospitals in Australia. However, there is also a seriously shrinking population of midwives who assist women to birth at home. Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that in 2014 there were 287 midwives attending homebirths as a primary carer – this not only includes Privately Practising Midwives (PPMs), but midwives attending homebirths that are publicly funded by the government through the 14 hospital-led homebirth programs. The latest data shows that in 2015 that number fell to 241and that number has certainly shrunk dramatically since then as regulations have stifled the health professionals who work in private practice, and who home birthing women rely on to maintain safety.
Amantha McGuinness from Homebirth Australia had this to say:
“Ever increasing regulation and the relentless vexatious reporting of PPMs has led to a decline in the number of midwives supporting homebirths, with those remaining in practice often feeling marginalised, unsupported and unable to practice in a way that aligns with the midwifery philosophy of being “with woman”. Many women, particularly those in regional and rural areas, are unable to access homebirth at all. Despite the extra regulation, women are still birthing and midwives are still working without intrapartum insurance for a homebirth with no valid solution in sight. The new requirement for two midwives at homebirth is also impacting on women and their birth options. Women in many areas of Australia who want a homebirth with a midwife are now faced with the choice to travel great distances to access midwives, or birth at home without a midwife at all. This begs the question: are all the regulations actually making birth safer, or are they just reducing and restricting the options of birthing women?”
With a decreasing chance of “normal birth” and an increasing caesarean ratein Australian hospitals, the choice to homebirth is not one that is going away. But with less and less homebirth midwives to assist women during the prenatal, birth and postnatal period, there is a danger that these women, many of whom are casualties of an underfunded, understaffed, fragmented and broken hospital system, will choose to birth at home anyway, but without the safety of a midwife in attendance. Indeed freebirth is said to be on the increase.
Professor of Midwifery Hannah Dahlen says “We have undertaken several studies into the issue of freebirth and it appears to be increasing in Australia. Women tell us the main reasons they freebirth is they are unable to find a midwife in their area or can’t afford to pay for them. More and more women are fleeing mainstream maternity care after previo...
E48 – Forced Adoption in Australia – 15 Years a Doula – Walking the Birth and Death Paths
Wise women are all around the place in all stages of the life cycle and in all forms of nature. Vickie is one who I was deeply honoured to have on the podcast. This story from Vickie is quite an amazing story of strength, love, hope and possibility where Vickie speaks about walking and navigating the birth and death paths. Vickie’s life has been a colour of experience and has guided her to grow into the exemplary woman she is right now. The story begins when Vickie was the young age of 18, when her first daughter was removed in Australia’s forced adoption program in the 1970’s. The story continues on from here…..
Vickie and I head back to when she was 18, she had her first job and a trophy of a boyfriend. She then discovered that she was pregnant in the year 1969; those were not the times for someone unmarried to be pregnant. A wedding was arranged yet her husband to be disappeared. Vickie was moved into a convent for unmarried mothers, but she was unaware at the time that there was a government policy forcing religious organisations to coerce girls into giving babies up for adoption. Vickie was looked after in this place, however she was pressured into adopting out her baby. Vickie was amongst many young girls at this time and birthed and saw her baby only briefly before she was taken away. Vickie was nursed at the convent for two weeks and was then sent back home where she pushed all of her feelings aside.
Vickie was told to, “Get on with life.”
Moving on, Vickie talks about the birth of her son Jake which resulted in her becoming very interested in the mechanics of birth. She birthed during the time of women being shaved, having enemas and birthing on their backs. Vickie devoured books from authors including Grantly Dick-Reed and Leboyer, however nothing prepared her for her next birth experience two years later when she birthed still-born twins. Upon leaving the hospital, a nurse said, “There, there, plenty more where that came from.”
Again, Vickie was told to get on with life.
We talk about Vickie’s other children, how her life traversed around and how she came to the work she is doing today. We talk about the adoption and process of Vickie reconnecting with her daughter, Gillian, and especially connecting with her children while knowing they had a half sister. During this process, Vickie was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder; the unpacking begins. Let’s remember that there was a government policy in place in Australia at this time that would practically force adoption of babies on young mothers like Vickie.
We then talked about Vickie’s reunion with Gillian; this part is amazing… Listen..
Vickie’s work in birth and death shines out in this story and we shine on some of this amazing, wise woman wisdom. The last 20 minutes of the podcast involves the beautiful interpretation of the collective gifts that Vickie brings into being a Doula.
Musings from Vickie
“Let me see my baby.”
“Birth has to be better than this.”
“What is a long labour?”
“’When does labour start,’ will be forever a fought question.”
“Holding Jake for the first time was amazing, I never wanted to let him go.”
“Dealing with grief, not just the individual events.”
“When you get to the top of the ladder, you need to make sure the ladder is against the right wall.”
“Acceptance and understanding of the uniqueness of each woman and her birth.”
“There is no cookie cutter approach of being a Doula.”
“Having the wisdom to really understand what a woman wants.”
“When I work with women I always ask them what their own births were like.”
“I see that birth and death are the same door, you are just going another way.”
Customer ReviewsSee All
An interesting listen
Really interesting stories and information on this podcast around childbirth. When you’re pregnant it is so important to gather all the information you can get as knowledge is power 💪
Thank you aly for sharing these stories! I listened to the birth story of Julia Ayla and found it to be full with empowering information and resources. I loved hearing all the details, what to expect from beginning to end - thank you for your honesty and for sharing your story. Grateful that this show exists and excited to listen more.