Why Antenatal Education Is Different With A Doula | Mama Bird Doula

It can be hard for pregnant women to know where to turn for, for support and unbiased information. Some women might be reluctant to attend group sessions, particularly if they’ve had a previous traumatic experience or could particularly benefit from one-to-one planning or support. I offer women private antenatal education as part of my services, so that they can benefit from having a doula without having me at the birth!

1.       We have been there and done it

There is a quote that I read one that said “Ask the doulas. They know the hospital culture.” And I think that is so true. Wherever you are planning to birth, in whichever trust, what a huge benefit to be able to talk to somebody who has worked in that environment or has liaised with senior midwives, who can signpost you in the right direction and let you know what to expect.

2.       We aren’t teaching a program

Although I love the antenatal classes such as Daisy Birthing, and would recommend them to everybody, there isn’t always much time for discussion of individual circumstances and specific planning. A doula can give you bespoke support tailored to YOU, to complement all your existing antenatal preparation. It also means that we provide you with the most recent material and studies on which to base your decisions.

3.       We don’t have an agenda

Unlike healthcare professionals, doulas do not have a set of guidelines to work to, we have a code of conduct. We are truly able to make you aware of your legal rights and support you unconditionally in whatever choice you make.

4.       We are available outside traditional working hours

Many doulas I know are there to answer those late night worries, we don’t have a set time (although some of us have working hours in our contracts!) That means whenever you need support, we will be there. Whether that is one to one or in the online support groups.

5.       We don’t tell you what to do

We won’t tell you which position to birth your baby in, we won’t tell you what things “should” feel like, we won’t tell you where to birth or how to feed, we are simply there to make sure you are informed and feel supported in your plans.

6.       We offer continuity of care

You can talk to us through your whole motherhood journey – pre-conception, early pregnancy, postnatally. For that familiar voice and presence you know and trust, you can count on your doula.

Many doulas I know are happy to offer a free initial chat before being booked for antenatal and/or birth support.

Feedback on my antenatal support:


“A wonderful, empowering and supportive lady. Always there to support choices and restore confidence when insecurities and anxieties creep in. She is refreshing, informative and never passes judgement. I could not have got through my pregnancy without this lady. I will always value what she brought me during a challenging but special time in my life. Thank you.”

Thoughts On Freebirth, A Year On | Mama Bird Doula

Thoughts on freebirth, one year on

When my daughter turned one I began to think more about her birth and the experience.

Since that wonderful day, I have appeared on the BBC, the radio, had awful and great things said about me (I refuse to read the awful ones!)

People were so offended by a woman prioritising her needs in birth, by refusing to follow their ingrained narrative!

I know now that my desire to freebirth changed so much for me. For me it was about proving to myself that childbirth was fundamentally safe, that the woman’s experience was paramount to its safety. That I was the one in charge. That trust has woven its way into my life and my work and given innumerable benefits to myself and clients.

My son’s birth allowed me to process a lot of the body shame and hatred I had carried around with me, he taught me that I was built for birthing. It was a euphoric realisation. I had set out to prove to myself that I could do it. I knew then that I could do anything.

My daughter’s birth helped me release all my birth hangups. You cannot work in the birth field for long without being exhausted by what you see and hear from other women. I must admit, by the time it came for me to give birth, I had lost my way somewhat. I wanted to know, once and for all, what a truly physiological birth was. And I saw it. I felt it. As the intensity gripped my body and I flushed and shook, as I felt her wriggle between contractions, slide her head into place, and denied I was in labour until the very end.

My favourite memory is hovering in that in-between space, hearing Carolyn Hillyer singing the song about giving birth to a fish with a moon between its lips, neither here nor there, my eyes wide and wondrous, seeing Sam’s wry smile and her eyes dancing with mirth.

Me, laughing, the antenatal teacher saying “Oh no” as she anticipated another contraction. Operating on instinct rather than instruction.

The way I just knew that I needed to change the position to allow her to slot into my pelvis with ease. But didn’t realise until later.

Her birth taught me the deep connection that women have during labour, I recall how acutely aware I was of everything. I can still remember the amazing feeling of sinking into a birth pool that is the perfect temperature. 

I know more than I did then - and I would still choose my choice. 

The mother that was born this time is a fierce one. When you are pregnant you are watching, waiting, growing. Autumn-Violet, the energy building in my body. As she was born she awakened my protective nature, set me on a long and tumultuous journey in reclaiming my power and myself.

Happy birthday my love, my catalyst.

When I think of your birth I think

Joy

Warmth

Love

Euphoria

Release

Thank You For Breastfeeding My Baby | Mama Bird Doula

When women support each other, magical things happen!

I so wanted to do some training with women's aid to be a domestic violence ambassador, as the day drew nearer I expressed some milk for Autumn-Violet but I knew it was largely pointless, as she has never had a bottle!

My wonderful friend Pipi was having the children and I mentioned to her that if she wanted to breastfeed Vi, that was fine by me.

Both the children weren't even bothered when I left and it was with a happy heart I knew they were in loving, capable hands.

At lunch time I could feel myself coming down with a migraine and I rang Pipi to see how the babies were doing. My suspicions were correct, the bottle had been chucked aside, and my darling baby was napping after having familiar vegan breastmilk from her brother's mama.

It meant the world to me that she was able to do this for my baby.

Thank you for breastfeeding my baby.

Thank you for looking after her like your own.

Thank you for giving her comfort when I could not.

Thank you for supporting me to reach my dreams.

Thank you for helping me to help others.

In some Arabic cultures they believe in "milk siblings" where if you have fed another woman's baby they become siblings to your own children, it warms my heart that they are now siblings twice over!

Story Of A Good Girl | Mama Bird Doula

Dolls lined up, all in a row.

Fairy girl, bright hair, wasn’t to know.

Told I was a flirt with my big eyes and lashes.

Two years old.

When I got older, my imagination burst.

Animals and princesses as I turned and turned.

Heart hungry, heart shy.

Pinning my hopes on those boys that I liked.

If I only knew how vulnerable

I looked on the outside.

#

When I grew older, the horses arrived

I learned magic with my hands and healed them

With my mind.

Hours in the stableblock, whispering

Hauling hay

Sweating in my good body, girl body,

Woman’s body

That threatened to turn bad.

Dangerous in my knee socks

And my skirt

Thigh-high.

And now it was drink and endless nights.

Told I loved the drama

Instead I tried to hide.

You’d find me under tables and in cupboards most times.

Overwhelmed from the pain

I carried

Inside.

They didn’t want to know—

Thought that my instability

Was an affront to their ability

Every mouthful I denied

Mocking their sacrifice,

Sometimes I still feel the choke

Where food symbolised

The food of love.

#

Painted patterns

On my skin

Needles pushed through cartilage.

A different kind.

As a child I worshipped

At the stain-glass walls

Now I worship

Under artist’s scrawls

The sound of the gun can penetrate

Through to the bone.

Pressing to become more real, more real

More.

I found a man

Who called me home

That irresistible emptiness

So familiar

Beckoning forth.

#

Body rounding, what is this?

I know I dreamed of you

Little fish

You wriggle and thrive

And all I have to do to keep you

Is survive

And birthing you could be

The hardest thing in my life

And I did it,

And you’re here

And you’re telling me that it was all lies.

Look how the pretty one

Can be bloody and wise

Roaring her child earthside

#

Unlearning takes time.

The labyrinth to traverse

The lessons so hard

You have to learn twice.

I am not the dancing girl

But the woman

In her fortress.

The warrior

Even when my voice trembles.

Those hands for healing

Now used in birthing

The power that I find in words

Come together

Weave

A magic web around my world

#

You will attempt to cross

At your peril.

What I Learned From My Son This Week | Mama Bird Doula

Today is a big week for us as it's Judah's first week in reception class at school.

I have had so much going on with work and other stresses, and I recently was recommended to purchase a piece of Kyanite, a gemstone which is said to help with psychic boundaries and emotional wellness. I was so happy when it arrived last week and I have been wearing it daily, and hanging it up on the bathroom door when I go to sleep at night.

When I woke up yesterday morning I couldn't find it anywhere. Judah always gets up before me. I searched in the laundry basket, in my bedroom, anywhere it would have logically been and it was gone. I felt so upset as I felt like this necklace had been a proactive step for me in restoring some harmony and balance.

Judah is a bit of a magpie. He loves gemstones and jewellery and he has always been particularly fascinated with crystal cages and popping the crystals in and out. I asked him if he had seen it. No, he hadn't. I asked him again. I told him he wasn't in trouble I would just really like to have it back.

He heaved a deep sigh and went to the coffee table, where he opened one of the drawers to reveal my necklace, crystal out of the cage.

I didn't reprimand him, I just reminded him - Judah, this is mummy's special necklace. We don't take other people's special things.

"Well..." he said "You take my kitty and give it to Autumn-VI"

I was stunned. Judah has had this orange cat beanie baby since he was two, when his father and I separated, it was a good way to keep the comfort and continuity when he went on sleepovers. He loves this orange kitty. It gets packed dutifully in the front pocket of his suitcase and is clutched to his chest at night. 

Autumn-Violet is in the stage where she wants EVERYTHING. Anything that she perceives to be of value she just plain WANTS and she will kick up a fuss to have it. I will admit if I want five minutes peace to get stuff done it has been easier to give her Judah's kitty. She loves the privilege and babbles at it while I get on with something else.

Judah would sometimes snatch it back and I would gently remind him that she is a baby.

But obviously to him - this was not okay. I was giving his treasured possession to the baby and invalidating his feelings. I had been doing something really wrong without even realising it.

It made me really think about the importance we adults place on our possessions versus our children's. How my necklace that gave me emotional comfort I had automatically attributed greater value than his long-standing kitty. 

I felt awful.

It was a good reminder to me that for little ones, their experience and autonomy are just as important if not more so than ours. 

I apologised sincerely and told him that he was quite right, and I had been very wrong. Good thing they are more patient and forgiving of us as we learn.

Doulas Are Not The Fluffy Bunnies Of The Birth World | Mama Bird Doula

Lately I really think some people have this misconception that doulas sweep in with our essential oils and our birth pools, selling a dream, that we give false expectations to women, that we tell them to ignore any attempt at medicalisation of their birth, that we are the woo woo fluffy bunnies of the birth world.

I wanted to set something straight.

Doulas are often the only ones telling it like it really is.

The doulas I know blog about stillbirth, abuse and birth trauma. The things others would rather not think about.

We urge our clients to make not one, but three birth plans, to consider every eventuality to make sure their wishes are followed whatever happens. Because we know that it does and we aren't afraid to admit it.

For educating our clients about things like assisted delivery ahead of labour, we are told by medical staff that we are "scaring" women.

The doulas I know spend hours combing through guidelines and evidence to make sure women know exactly what their rights are.

We manage microaggressions in the birth room and try to keep the peace.

We support women through terminations.

We help to pick up the pieces afterwards when the medical staff go home believing they have saved the day.

From where I am standing, doulas are the ones with enough respect for women that we make them aware of the whole spectrum of birth - from the dark to the light - in all its beauty and its pain.

We don't try to hide it or use it to scare women into compliance.

We may look fluffy, but we are fierce.

You Might Be The Last | Mama Bird Doula

You might be my last baby.

You might be my last everything.

You might be the last mysterious rounding of my tummy.

The dwelling and dreaming and kicking inside.

You might be the last flush of my cheeks as I rock and dance to the rhythm of your birthing.

You might be the last triumph.

You might be the last snuffling, rooting and wide mouth looking for the breast.

You might be the last giggling, round baby putting your fingers up my nose.

So you'll forgive me for wanting to hold on a little longer.

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My Body Is Not Shameful | Mama Bird Doula

"We live in a cultural climate that makes women feel perpetually guilty for simply being women." - Lisa Lister

I sat this evening reading “Witch” by Lisa Lister and she has a fantastic chapter about the witch hunts. Lisa says that after women were persecuted for their skills, knowledge and life-giving power, we were now told that our bodies were places of sin and shame and we were supposed to be obedient under patriarchy.

It made me think of the photograph of myself feeding Autumn-Violet. Years ago I would have never dreamed of putting something like that on the internet. Not because I mind personally, but because I cared very greatly what other people thought. 

My body is not shameful, at least not to me anymore.

It has taken so long to get to this point. It is a lesson I learn, and re-learn, with deepening awareness. It’s something that takes me by surprise every now and then, as I worry my dress is cut too low or I’ve left it too long without shaving my legs. It leaves me gasping for air. I think, shit, I thought I dealt with all this before. Why is this coming up again?

Wounds run deep.

Trauma leaves epigenetic markers on our bodies – we are scarred by the trauma of our grandmothers and all that came before. It literally lives in our skin.

But maybe you are the one who has been chosen now.

What we are dealing with is layers. Peeling back layers of deepening awareness and truths. Learning is not linear, it is cyclical.

I look back to the days where I couldn’t leave the house without a product used for every part of my body. Where I thought I needed a bra that dug into my ribcage, left red welts and compromised my breathing to make me look decent to the world. That myself, unaltered, was something that was not fit to be seen. Shame, shame.

When I couldn't stand to even acknowledge the body I lived in. The plastic wrappers of menstrual products rustling, then hidden in the waste paper bin.

I look at myself. Soft stomached, face lightly lined.

Myself and my daughter, belly to belly, hand in hand. Born through me and of me. She will have inherited some of my trauma, some of my truth. She will have lessons to unravel and my own mistakes to contend with. I am in no doubt of that. I can do one thing for her at least… what I hope more than anything is that she will know her female body is a safe place to be, in its unaltered raw form. I hope that anything she chooses to do with her body is done through joy.

I hope she knows that she is the Goddess personified.

Photograph by Lillian Craze Birth Photography (click the photo!)

Freebirth Is A Feminist Statement | Mama Bird Doula

I have long mused over my reasons for freebirthing, some even I was not aware of at the time. There was a sense that I wanted to prove to myself – birth is safe, women’s bodies work. My choice to freebirth was my own personal desire to live everything that I believed to be true.

I have heard it said before that home birth is a political statement, something I completely agree with. Women taking agency over their bodies and rejecting the norm and what is expected of them. Not being processed in a hospital setting. But freebirth as a feminist statement?

When I did my interview for the BBC I tried not to read the comment thread. I knew that the people commenting were so far and away from the type of people whose opinions I valued and respected, so knowing them was not necessary. But I did manage to glance at one which said something along the lines of…

“All she keeps saying is MY birth, MY birth, she doesn’t talk about the baby at all, so selfish”

Perhaps that comment was intended to hurt, but I was actually thrilled that somebody had picked up on something I wasn’t even consciously doing. I was thrilled that anybody watching or listening was receiving this message that yes, their birth DOES belong to them! It is a message I completely stand by.

I am a feminist. I would say I am a matricentric/radical feminist who believes that women’s sexed bodies are the reason for our oppression, and that mothers are most forgotten about and maligned by the feminist movement. I choose to be a mother and a homemaker but that does not make my voice and my opinions less valid than a woman who dons a suit and works in a corporate office. I prioritise mothers in my feminism as we are the ones who are changing things from behind the scenes, raising children with our values.

Freebirth, in a way that home birth cannot be, is a feminist statement because it is the radical notion that the woman takes priority over the baby.

Does that make you feel uncomfortable to read?

It should. The overwhelming message in our culture is that birthing women should be selfless. I speak to women who are considering induction, or other methods of intervention, and they tell me that they are willing to sacrifice themselves for their baby, that they are not important as long as the baby is okay. This is seen as admirable.

Nobody really cares what happens to women. As long as the baby is okay. They are then gaslit postnatally and told to be grateful. Traumatised women take longer to rise up and speak up, especially when they are shamed into silence by other women.

And even midwives, with the best intentions, will prioritise the baby over the mother, as I have seen with my own eyes as they override her refusals and bring in consultants to bully and coerce, becoming agents of the patriarchy over the women they are supposed to serve. Midwives are victims of the patriarchy, much like the Marthas in The Handmaids Tale. I feel greatly for them.

And the shame. If they speak out and something happens they will be blamed. Women know this, and the shame keeps them compliant.

Freebirthing women are not stupid. They are not blindly optimistic. They are philosophical about the risks of their decision and make their peace with the fact that sometimes the outcome of birth is death.

Is this also uncomfortable?

There is a myth in our culture that all our interventions save babies. What isn’t made apparent is that although these babies can be saved in “the moment”, there are no studies on long term outcomes and how many of those babies later pass from SIDS or other problems. There was a breech study that followed long-term outcomes and found that those babies who were “saved” often passed before age two. In those circumstances, birth intervention was only able to prolong the inevitable.

Nobody is asking "Is this long-term crippling birth trauma suffered by thousands of women worth possibly saving one life?"

There is the sense that if we create a problem and we save the baby from a problem we have created, it’s a miracle, thank God for modern healthcare, etc. etc.

Just to be clear, I respect the wishes of any woman to birth in a way that makes her feel safe. That could be hooked up to every monitor going or scheduling a caesarean. I have supported these kinds of births and will continue to do so. What is right for me is not right for everybody, I would never be so arrogant as to push my choices on to others.

What I reject is the idea that this is fundamentally more safe, or that freebirthing is less safe.

What I reject is freebirthing women being called selfish and irresponsible, when we KNOW adverse birth outcomes happen when we use things like syntocinon and forceps and yet if you are seen as choosing these things for the right reasons, “doing it for your baby”, then the level of medicalisation is not attributed the same moral value as having nothing at all.

It's only dangerous when women are in charge, right?

Freebirth is a feminist statement because it is the mother declaring that she is the expert, she is the authority, and that her need to birth trauma-free is the most important thing to her. They know their baby needs them to be well. Empowering births create confident and whole mothers, who are able to raise their children to rebel. Mothers who are energised to challenge systems and create fighters and topple patriarchy. Freebirthing women are declaring that they are not merely a vessel.

And we can't be having any of that.

Freebirth doesn't say life at all costs. It says women at all costs.

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Placenta O'clock | Mama Bird Doula

It was placenta o'clock in the Wren household and not a creature was stirring, just maybe Autumn-Violet once or twice!


I ensure my children are nowhere around when doing placenta work, which often means I am working late into the night. There are physiological benefits to placenta consumption but for me it's as much that as it is energy work and exchange.


This time is my time to serve you.


I put on the music I birthed my daughter to, I sanitise the entire area with hospital-grade products, I excitedly open the box to see what I'm going to be working with tonight.


And then I put all my loving energy and attention into the miraculous organ in front of me.


All unique and all beautiful.

Mary Magdalene | Mama Bird Doula

I feel stripped raw.

These times come cyclically and I in my discomfort I wear my hair around my face, a shielding and a feminine cloak.

Masking the darkness and the deep.

Allowing me to slip by unseen. To pretend, for a time.

Unrest hums within my soul.

The feast day of Mary Magdalene - she, the misjudged, the whore and the Holy Grail.

Feeling imperfect, feeling exposed.

How hard to be a woman when your sexuality is turned and used against you.

The gift of life made violent.

Like birth, perverted, turned against us and using fear and shame to keep us downtrodden.

How to be a good lover.

How to be a good mother.

I have walked these paths in different ways. Refusing to be a victim in birth, the other I don't dare speak of.

I bite my tongue and force a smile instead. Good girl.

Whether I do what I want with my body or not, I'm wrong.

Walking the impossible line. Do as you're told, or be forever condemned.

Mary Magdalene.

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My Summer Body | Mama Bird Doula

I have a summer body.

My body darkens under the summer sun as I share an ice cream with my daughter.

She has sprinkles around her mouth and she eats intently.

Later, she starts to pull at my halterneck and whine and I feed her from my summer body.

Her hat is askew on her head like a wilting dandelion. Or a flowerpot man.

And when she sleeps, my breast is a cushion for her sweaty head. She is perfection - rosy cheeks and puppy snores.

When she wakes, I tie her to my back, my underarms dark and fluffy on my summer body.

The legs that prickle and brush together under flowing skirts.

There is work still to do, to undo shame.

My body is not a dirty secret that I must sanitise.

My summer body digs its feet in sandy beaches, my hair curls up from the breeze and my eyes turn green.

My summer body carries my daughter on strong shoulders and dips her in the sea with loving hands.

My summer body feeds my babies and I nourish myself with good food in turn.

My summer body sweats and bleeds.

My summer body
Is
Me.

Forgetting How To Be Light | Mama Bird Doula

On being a woman who has been through trauma.

And men who don’t understand.

They joke, they flirt, they tease…

My cheeks get hot, because I can’t respond like that.

We women—

Who have fought tooth and nail to survive. Making breakfasts and lunches while our blood hums and our minds reel. Our standards lowered to just safe, just safe.

Our laughter, when it comes, is raucous… finding comfort over the miles that separate us as we trade witticisms on those we once considered captors. Late nights whispering and wondering. Relishing the little comfort, the secret betrayal of the looming dark shadow.

I am not the lighthearted girl.

Only other women are safe now.

We check the garden before we lock our back door. We breastfeed while typing statements and making reports.

The man on the phone said don’t bottle it up, it will consume you. I can’t say that my voice is bound, my words halted… for now.

How to explain to a four year old his hiding game ignites those feelings you can’t escape.

And sometimes you cannot stand to be touched.

The onus is on me.

How was your day? He says.

I want to say something pleasant, but it’s not.

I kiss the baby goodbye, and I drive.

To face my demons, wild-eyed. I sit there with my hands entwined, hearing the words fall like knives.

My breasts ache for her and yet, yet, this is our life.

And I’ve forgotten how to be light.

To My Son On Father's Day | Mama Bird Doula

To you, the world is a world of women. Is run by women. Women who cuddle and wipe noses and go on adventures. Of grandmas and nannys and auntie Julies and auntie Pips. I see the baby's wide eyes as a man speaks, those rare times we encounter them.

The way we live is not wrong.

Still, my heart does hurt somewhat when you speaks of going to your "children's mummy's house" when you are a man. You have no idea that things for other children are so different.

My darling, the most wonderful men I know were raised by single mothers.

What sort of dad will you be, my son?

When you ask me why I did not birth you at home, when you laugh at the baby latching onto your nose confusing you for boobies, when you tell me you just love her too much, you can't cope.

I want to preserve your sweetness.

My son, you who I poured my love into in those crucial years, wanting you to be safe and whole.

To be a man who loves women.

There is a mistaken belief that a man can mistreat women and still be a good father. Children and women are intrinsically linked, two vulnerable groups, biologically entwined, inseparable...

I cannot show you how to be a good father. 

My greatest wish - I want the mother of your children to feel safe with you. To feel respected by you.

That is how you are able to be the man your children need.

Autumn-Violet

Autumn-Violet. I dreamed of you before I knew you. My daughter hidden in my subconscious. Nobody peeked into your womb-home, you lay there undisturbed and grew in strength. On the day of your birth, you were so keen to come, you dropped lower and brought a flush to my cheeks and sweat to my palms. It was all I could do to rock through the sensations that were breaking me open. For the light to shine through. And when you freebirthed into my waiting arms and it was you - it was always going to be you.

Women Don't Fail At Breastfeeding | Mama Bird Doula

WOMEN DON'T FAIL AT BREASTFEEDING

The odds are against them before they even begin.

Feeding their babies in a culture that is not conducive to optimum infant care.

For breastfeeding to happen, we need a culture:

⭐ where women aren't stressed about going back to work

⭐ where feeding a baby hourly isn't seen as spoiling them

⭐ where men don't complain about the mother-baby dyad taking over the bed

⭐ where birth interventions that affect breastfeeding rarely happen

⭐ where breasts aren't sexualised

⭐ where women see other women breastfeeding from childhood

⭐ where women's mental health after birth is prioritised

⭐ where people don't insist on "helping" by removing the baby from the mother rather than removing her responsibilities so she can care for her baby.

It's a wonder anybody manages to breastfeed under these conditions.

My heart hurts for those who wanted to feed and did not have the support and the information.

We can turn our anger towards other women (like the media encourage) or we can turn it at the institutions that divide us and fail us.

I will always champion choice but our choices do not exist in a vacuum - there is no doubt in my mind that many women never stood a chance.

The Motherhood Pause | Mama Bird Doula

It starts when I don’t get my period. Like a boat on a tumultuous sea, the waves now settle, and my little boat now tethered, bobs dreamily in a gentle breeze. A blessed reprieve.

I am calmer, more introspective. I contemplate more, think before I speak, watching my body expand.

With no cycles to mark the time, no ebb and flow, I see the days stretch before me in a line as I keep dreaming and growing.

I feel beautiful.

Then the placenta is birthed and my friend prolactin arrives, and now I am ruled by the anticipation of a baby’s cry.

Oxytocin, the hormone that washes you in peace so that the little one may feed.

I gaze into eyes that hold more magic than the stars.

With babe carried on my chest, I pass unseen amongst men.

That too, a reprieve of sorts.

And all this to last, until my baby moves forward, they stumble and crawl.

Only then will I feel the elements in my womb begin to stir again. And I move into my next incarnation.

Farewell to the motherhood pause.

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My Son | Mama Bird Doula

My son, my son, my son. Entered the world into water and sank. Held in my new mama arms as I begged him not to cry. Sleepy baby. After that first parting after birth I never let him go again. Spent two years of his life strapped to my body in one way or another, then found his legs, learned to run.

My son. The boy who faces demons and comes out still fighting. That spirit unwavering in the face of darkness. The magnificent will. Those clenched fists and the tilt of his chin and his sheer determination and then oh... the softening. The cuddling. The sweetness and structure and beloved habits. The fading orange kitty clutched to his chest.

Until he goes running off again.

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Motherhood And Self-Esteem | Mama Bird Doula

I had a picture come up on my memories yesterday of me before children. Round faced, glowing and optimistic. It's funny how then I had quite low self-esteem when looking back I can see there was nothing the matter with me. Part of me envies that girl (and her freedom! She even had a bike!)

Before my pregnancy with Autumn-Violet I had gone to my smallest ever size but still didn't feel right. The life I was living made me feel insignificant, like a drab peahen. The truth is that how we think we look is often not based in reality.

Today was a good day and I was feeling beautiful. I hadn't changed anything, maybe my hair had fallen a little better than usual. I had on a new summer top that made me feel cute. But really I was feeling so good because for the first time in my life I wasn't looking for any external validation, not reliant on anybody else for my self-esteem. My feelings came from an inner sense of achievement and conviction and that feeling showed.

I've often handed my power over to people for them to decide and to judge. I've been told I'm not special, that my nose is big, that my hair is frizzy. I've compared myself to others and found that I'm lacking. I've been made to feel inferior by those I loved. I've worried about what a man thinks of my changed body. I've cried in the mirror at the postpartum lumps and bumps.

The beautiful truth is that we are not meant to be static beings, we grow and evolve. We were never meant to go back to how we looked before - we are women in our power. We have grown and birthed humans. We are creators. We are magic makers. Take action instead of allowing things to happen to you. I am seriously done with being a victim. Buy the dress, change your hair, do that course. Rise to the challenge. Lose the toxic people in your life who bring you down. The rest will follow.

Today was a good day and the sun was shining and my babies were smiling and they saw me as beautiful and I did too.

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Babywearing On A Budget | Mama Bird Doula

My passion is making sure babywearing is affordable and accessible for all - sure I love having a try and a feel of high end wraps (fabric geek here) but that's not realistic for everybody.

This Little Frog you can get new or second-hand for under £50 and you know what? It's so comfy and easy to wrap with!

This base size 6 covers all my wrapping needs so you can invest in one and it will last you through your babywearing days at a fantastic cost per use. Invest in your babywearing education, either at a slingmeet or private appointment and wrapping will become second nature.

Remember when you buy new to wash first and then play around with it - make hammocks, play tug of war, sleep with it and you'll end up with a soft wrap that feels like an old pair of jeans.

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