I have worked with expectant parents since 2002, when I started my Childbirth Educator training, which took three years and which provided me with solid knowledge and teaching skills, add this to my counselling skills and you have me as a practitioner.
I began this career path after I had my first baby and I had a passion for birth. I still have that passion but, with 13 years experience and additional training, I now have a bigger passion for parents – to provide expectant and new parents with the knowledge, support, reassurance and skills they need.
As anyone who is self employed knows, it can be tough going at times – juggling the work I love doing with parents and the business side, which I really don’t enjoy as much. A couple of weeks ago I did consider jacking it all in – it was a weak moment, I was tired, my to do list was never ending and I felt bogged down with the additional stuff involved with running a business. So I thought about what else I would want to do and every thought led back to my work with parents. So I gave myself a good talking to and all was good again.
But it did make me think about why I do what I do, why do I love it so much.
When I first started working as an antenatal teacher, that was all I did with parents and it soon didn’t feel enough to just wave them off at the end of the antenatal class because, as far as my experience as a parent was concerned, the need for reassurance and information continued long after the birth of a baby. So I trained as a Postnatal Facilitator and then I started running weekly drop-in sessions for parents. And then the Birth & Baby Family Centre was born. It’s small but it’s friendly and supportive and it’s a great place to come along to for chat, information, tea and cake – which is all most parents with a baby need. Some sessions all I need to do is dish out tea and cake, other days I am there to listen, to give some information or just to give a hug because there might not be a solution, just a tired mum.
Over the last week I have been humbled to receive some incredible feedback about my work. I don’t do what I do for any glory but I know it really can – and does – make a difference to many new parents. I don’t claim to take away pain, I don’t claim to take away the challenges of labour but I do aim to empower parents, to encourage them to be assertive, to do what feels right, to prepare them as best I can for the reality of giving birth and to give women strength when they feel vulnerable in labour. And this is the stuff that can’t properly be picked up in a book or, probably, from many other antenatal sessions.
Through talking, listening and informing, I can provide expectant parents with skills and knowledge to help them feel more confident and able. Based on my experience, I provide a unique service for parents – I specialise in running small group workshops and one-to-one consultations so they are completely parent-focused. I pride myself on providing reliable, solid information and on being able to help women deal with any anxiety – and this is for all expectant parents.
I teach everyone but my consultations are proving beneficial for:
parents who work away or who work different shifts
parents in need of a birth debrief
parents who are preparing for an induction or a caesarean
parents who have previously experienced a stillbirth or neonatal death
parents who have issues with anxiety or who are nervous about giving birth
I do what I do because I love it, I am passionate about supporting parents and it makes a difference not just for first babies but second, third and fourth ones too. I guess what I also love is that I am a unique practitioner providing a unique service. It is a business, I need to live and pay bills like everyone else but I do my job well because I genuinely care what happens to people.
I’m not very good at showing off my feedback but I want to share these because they have made such a difference to me this week:
From a second-time mum who gave birth yesterday: “I wanted to say a huge big thank you to you again for your support and the way you empower people to trust themselves and their own bodies.”
From second time parents who I taught with their first baby. This time they needed an unplanned caesarean section: “We felt prepared and empowered thanks to your classes.”
From a first time mum who will openly admit to wanting an epidural all the way but there was no time: “So pleased I was prepared to ignore all my preconceptions!” She also commented: “I love your direct approach! I feel great, really pleased we came to your classes.”
You can find more about me and my antenatal/postnatal support at: birthandbabycompany.com