My Love Story

Three years ago on top of a mountain in New Zealand I met eyes with my gorgeous man Silver. We met on the dance floor in the Coromandel Peninsula. This is my love story. 

In December 2014 I left Australia to pursue my Midwifery career in New Zealand. I knew I could not be a part of the medicalization of women and childbirth in my homeland.

I knew that New Zealand had one of the best maternity systems in the world and had often joked during my midwifery training, saying things like

When I finish studying midwifery, I am moving to New Zealand!”.

As a new graduate midwife I knew the time would come where I would have to leave my home to work away from home. There were very few jobs in Mullumbimby!

I had told my daughter and she was adamant she was not moving. I raised a tiger with voice, teeth and claws intact. No convincing her otherwise; I was heart achingly aware that this would mean leaving my teenage daughter behind with her father. (note – not my abusive ex)

I felt that a year away would do us both good. Her father had always said he would have her when she was a teenager. I didn’t fancy working out in the bush or in any other city in Australia.

A male friend suggested I go to New Zealand for a year.

At first I thought, “I can’t leave my daughter!” But after sitting with it for a while I knew I couldn’t leave myself where I was.

I had to go.

It was time.

Although this was difficult to do, I had to do it for me.

I had to walk on, I had to honour my soul, I had to say yes to me. As a mother it was hard to say yes to me yet the truth was that martyring myself to my child was not working.

I was worn out and I needed to heal and reclaim parts of myself.

I packed up my home and belongings and on the 1st of December 2014 I flew into Auckland airport. As soon as my feet hit New Zealand ground I felt a deep peace in my body and heart.

I felt safe.

I still feel this way.

My old friends Andy and Claire lent me their van so I could explore the Coromandel. A friend had told me about Mana Retreat and I knew there were dance classes there.

I headed alone into the soft green healing mountains. I felt vulnerable navigating this new land alone, yet exhilarated too. Bravely, one breathe at a time I ventured into the unknown. I knew I could not be the sort of midwife I wanted to be in Australia. I had to find another way to work and live.

I let go of everything to start over, little did I know that so much magic awaited me on top of that mountain.

Early one morning in the cold and mist I navigated the van through the windy mountains up to Mana Retreat in the Coromandel.

Hours later, through rain and summer fog I found myself on top of a mountain on the dance floor, my happy place, with around 20 other beautiful light filled souls.

Mana Retreat is a holy and sacred place on my soul pilgrimage.

While I danced freely around the floor a moment came that would change the course of my life, but I didn’t know it at the time. Out of nowhere he suddenly appeared, bright dark blue eyes, a man of courage, beauty and passion, wide awake. He looked straight into me. It was a moment of wonder.

In a single moment I had been penetrated by a man whose energy would soon go on to change my life. I wasn’t looking for another relationship. I wasn’t looking for a man.

I wanted to follow my calling, and it seemed the universe wanted to support me in that in mysterious ways too.

In matters of the heart I was most gravely wounded. For the two years prior I had grieved the loss of my whirlwind first marriage, which although passionate was cruel, destructive, painful and thoroughly unsustainable.

It wasn’t kind and it wasn’t safe.

I had to get out. I got a divorce.

Seeking a new path I threw myself whole heartedly into Midwifery studies. It was a rigorous journey for my spirit but I completed it.

Throughout the sad times I had a picture stuck on my desk that made me feel wonderful. It gave me hope. It was a small hand painted card by Annie Haywood, a brilliant New Zealand artist featuring a man and a woman together in a garden.

The image was one of peace and kindness.

As I studied and wrote essays I decided that I would never be abused again and that one day I would have a kind and loving relationship. As tears poured out of me like rivers I looked at that picture by Annie Haywood.

I affirmed to my heart and soul that I would never again settle for verbal, physical or psychological abuse of any kind.

I drew a line in the sand, and I dreamed of a better life.

Little did I know that I had invoked a King.

Looking back I can see that in the steaming compost of my marriage heartbreak, loss, pain and grief …. I surely planted a seed for myself.

I had no idea or concern for when it would happen. I was thick in a challenging career path with a teenage daughter to support.

I was not looking for love.

I forgot about that picture, packed up my house and got on a plane. Lo and behold my seed of hope sprung up unexpectedly in the Coromandel, a place of peace and extreme beauty. Heaven on Earth.

If we are courageous enough to face what isn’t working, what stinks, what is broken, what has failed, and what hurts like hell, from this place of dissolution and despair we can make wonderful compost and then go on to plant new seeds of hope. It’s fertile dross, grist for the mill.

Our seeds of hope will grow and sprout in divine timing. The process cannot be forced or controlled in any way.

Three years on I am softened, humbled and blessed by the presence of my divine man Silver by my side. It has in no way been easy, with my daughter in Australia and my relationship hurts… er… baggage.

Yet love has prevailed. Silver has sustained my heart, body and spirit through good times and bad.

I even left him for a year to return to my daughter and we did the dance of long distance love, flying back and forth across the Tasman.

Silver is by far the strongest, kindest, deepest and most wonderful man I have ever met.

The journey is still as mysterious and magical as it was when we first met three years ago today.

I am reborn in love.

I am softer, because he is so kind.

I am kinder, because he is so loving.

I am happier, because I am seen and truly accepted as I am.

I am more myself, because he is so patient with me.

He is my Man Angel.

This is my love story and I am truly blessed.

This is what I love

Illumined Angel in Crystal Stream

As the year comes to a close I pause to reflect on what I love. I love this river. She is a pristine sanctuary that delights me with her enchanted emerald green pools. 

I love dance. I love dancing in costumes. I love dancing in comfy clothes. I love dancing naked. I love dancing in community. I love dancing in my back yard. I love dancing with kids! I love wild anything goes dancing. I love dancing in gold threads.

I love Nature. I love soft grass. I love my rose tree. I love swimming in the sea. I love swimming in rivers. I love the change of seasons. I love flowers. I love bumble bees. I love sunsets. I love snow on the mountains. I love the sunsets near my home.

I love my daughter. The child who came through me, who is of me but does not belong to me. I honour the journey we’ve shared so far. Thank you for being my greatest teacher. It really has not been easy, yet I am in awe of you, how you change and grow. I miss you near. I hold you dear.

I love cooking. I love cooking curry and bliss balls and cake and apple pie.

I love celebration. I love parties and countdowns and fireworks and concerts.

I love travel. I’ve been to India several times, West Coast of USA, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Canada and New Zealand… and I’m only just warming up. I love the new smells and foods and sounds and faces. I love the different things to wear and see.

I love berries. Strawberries, cherries and raspberries. I love squishing the berries and seeing the colours all mix over my hand. Perfect water colours. Perfect ye olde lipsticks me thinks.

I love colourful spirited art. I love women’s circles. I love men’s choirs and monks singing. I love bird songs and dog songs. I love whale songs too.

I love water colours. I love how it flows and it cannot be controlled.

I love conversation. I love a good ole cup of tea and a chat with young and old.  The lady at the end of my street. Hester’s Mum. The seventy year old woman I met on the dance floor on Sunday, an earth Goddess!

I love singing.  Mantras and eighties songs, the themes of my youth. Your true colours are beautiful and ‘Wake me up before you go go’! are etched in my bark.

I love the experience of being alive. Each day a new creation. Each day a new expression of self flowing through this soft body.

I love my man. My magic Silver Moonlight.

I love my friends, rare gems, sparkling and golden.

I love myself, always here, always near.

Starlight, spiralling life, shining through me to all tonight.

What we say to ourselves matters

When I first met Silver I had to go through a lot of fear to even allow myself to start over. My heart felt broken after my divorce. I was crushed, yet after a year and a half of grieving life was moving me on to a wonderful new partnership.

Fear and pain tells our brain to put off or avoid anything associated with suffering… sometimes even to never go there again.

When I began my new chapter in New Zealand and met Silver a voice in my head said,

   “No, don’t go there again – you’ll get hurt.”

And at the same time another voice was saying,

   “Do this. You are different now. He is different. Trust yourself.”

I am so glad I did. Three years on and I am a more peaceful woman because of him. He has softened me.

In the throes of my divorce I made a decision that one day I would have a wonderful relationship.

Dreams do come true.

Three years on I now have a beautiful, peaceful and passionate partnership with a divine man.

I had to face my fear. I had to walk through a ring of fear. I made a decision to put myself first and follow my heart.

I had to let go of what wasn’t working for me too.

I’m so glad I faced my fears and manifested my dream man.

It can be the same with wanting to have another baby. It can be really, really scary. And no, that fear isn’t going to go away by itself.

Our body remembers how it felt last time and our soul remembers what we said to ourselves, even if our mind has forgotten.

The words came from deep inside me.

I remember the day clearly.

I was standing on the front lawn, holding my newborn in my arms, as mum was getting into her car after coming down from Queensland to help me for the first few weeks.

I was so lucky. I didn’t wash a cloth nappy for weeks because mum was there diligently soaking, washing and hanging them out.

But even the care and support of my own mum wasn’t enough to erase the feeling in my body.

I found childbirth a thousand times more painful than I thought it would be.

I wasn’t afraid giving birth, I was terrified.

I was in shock for months afterwards. I had stitches. I felt broken by birth.

I remember saying to her,

   “I am never doing that again.”

I told my soul that I am never having another baby again.

The years rolled on and I totally forgot my spoken vow to myself.

Looking back I can see that I spent the next ten years yearning to have another baby. To ‘get it right’. To make it good.

Yet all the hoping in the world could not overrule the words I laid down in my brain after my first birth.

   “I am never doing that again.”

I didn’t.

I became a doula and a midwife seeking to find answers to understand birth. I helped women ease their pain and not feel as alone as I did during childbirth. I spent ten years learning about what works for labouring women and what doesn’t.

All the trying, all the prenatal yoga, all the reading, all the classes… none of this can take away what your body and soul experienced the last time around.

Yet you can still transform what happened. You can heal from your birth.

If you’re willing to take a peek into what happened and how you felt, you can create a new vision for yourself and you can birth again in a new way.

Do you remember the words you said to yourself after your child was born?

Are your vows stopping you?

Now I live in New Zealand with the most wonderful man and the most wonderful relationship of my life.

I faced my fears and let go of the words I said to myself.

You can too.

You can re-write the birth story you are telling yourself and create a new birth experience.

You can.

7 protective tools for Women Birthing in the system

Wild Wolf

During pregnancy I lived by the sea. I swam daily, admiring the beautiful crystal clear green waves. During childbirth I became the ocean.

In labour it seemed there were only two choices, surrender to huge waves and trust that my baby would come to shore with me, or be consumed by fear.

Alongside a tremendous amount of fear with the help of an experienced midwife I gave birth to my daughter at home in a birthing pool.

It was monumental and magical beyond belief.

Birth set me on my path.

Birth became my teacher.

In 2007 I became a Doula and in 2014 a registered Midwife. Soon after graduating I moved to New Zealand to avoid the horrors of  medicalized birth in Australia.

I know in every cell of my body that healthy women can birth naturally given respect, support and an environment they feel safe to let go in. If we are free of fear labour can flow brilliantly.

As a student midwife I experienced a record number of normal births. I was guided by something bigger than myself especially when things got intense. I found deep stillness and calm within many medical dramas, where my point of intention was connection with and protection of the mother and baby.

Moving to New Zealand at the end of 2014 I thought my career as a midwife was set to go.

I was in for a surprise.

Although I tried to convince myself,  I was not aligned with clinical midwifery within the medical birthing model. Reluctantly I followed inner guidance and surrendered the career I worked hard to attain.

Surprisingly, in its place a new path opened up.

I began listening to women’s birth stories and helping women heal from unexpected and disappointing outcomes of childbirth. This act transformed their lives (and mine too).

A woman’s birth story takes me straight to her soul. I discovered that within her birthing experience there is deep medicine for her life on planet earth. Nobody taught me this, I didn’t study trauma healing. Like attending women in labour I sat and listened and listened to hundreds and hundreds of birth stories.

There is much you can do to protect yourself and your baby from unnecessary birth trauma.

You must have a voice, you have to be fierce. I don’t mean aggressive, I mean fierce the way a mother lioness is fierce.

If you are pregnant for the first time or planning your next birth after a disappointing experience here are my top 7 tips to prevent unnecessary birth trauma.

1. Reclaim your Body

If you conceived and grew your baby you can birth it too.

You can.

Be discerning about what you read. Just because a pregnancy book is on the shelf at the book store doesn’t make it good for you. Read true birth classics such as “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” by Dr. Sarah Buckley,  “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin and “Birth Goddess” by Katrina Zaslavsky.

You don’t need your thinking brain for birth.

You need deeper wisdom, your instinct. Although we have been socialized this still exists within us.

Surrender your mind, sink back inside your softness, melt back in with your womb, go with your body.  Your body, like the moon and the ocean has her own flow, her own timing and her own divine rhythm.

Women in a coma can birth a baby. Your body knows what to do if you can give her a chance to do it.

You’ll need a safe space to birth, one where you can tune into yourself and let go. You need privacy and to be undisturbed. A good midwife knows how to support a woman in labour without interrupting her. It’s a fine art, being there but not getting in her way.

Remember that your baby doesn’t come out of your head.

He or she comes out of your body.

So come back to your body. Go offline. Unplug and switch off from social media in pregnancy. Tune into your body. Tune into the earth. Get yourself onto the grass or by the sea or into nature.

Walk in the park, dance, swim, sway and rock. Pregnancy is a time to just be. Yes, you can just be sometimes. Enter into the realm of the Feminine, with nothing to do, but enjoy being in a pregnant body. You are like a glowing and radiant full moon. A Goddess.

Take care in pregnancy. Protect your baby and yourself. Protect your energy. Stay away from negative people.

Be safe.

Do what makes you feel alive, free and happy in your body.

Garden. Breathe. Make love. Rest.

Feed yourself delicious food.

Be in your body.

You are made for this.

You can do this.

You got this.

Nourish your body.

Enjoy.

2. Reclaim your Sexual Power

The energy within you that got the baby in will get the baby out. Your sexual power is key. Let it flow, let it open you. Let it heal you. Let it wash right through you.

Labour goes in waves. It can start slowly and build up or it can just be there full on and cranking.

If you are uninhibited and open to your waves of sexual energy and flowing it through your body you can open and surrender to the waves of labour with ease.

Let each wave expand your pelvis and your consciousness. Let each breathe take you further inside the ocean of bliss within you. Let sex and birth expand you, not frighten you.

Breathe. Seek support from someone you love and trust.

You’re not lost, you’re just going wide and wild, stretching further than you ever have before allowing something new to come through you. Hop out of your own way, let the ocean come through you. Let your child be born. Open.

Pleasure yourself in pregnancy. Massage your breasts, your belly and your Yoni (your vagina) and your perineum (space between vagina and anus). Get to know your Yoniverse.

Experience your growing sexual energy. Flow it through you, share it with your partner if you have one and enjoy it.

Heal sexual blocks and traumas.

Free your heart.

Circle your pelvis.

Make love, even if you’re the only one there.

Open.

Open your mouth.

Make a sound… Aaaahhhhhh!!!!

Open your arms and legs, stretch out.

Open your voice.

Open your heart.

Open your soul, a new one is coming to earth through you.

Reclaim your sexual power.

Take up space.

This is your time.

You open and close the space.

Thou art Goddess.

3. Reclaim your Primal Voice

Be like wildlife, make animal sounds. Let your energy flow freely through you with sounds. Get down on all fours and sound. You can do this through pregnancy when you get stressed and in labour too.

Let it be easy.

Howl to the Moon.

Purr like a cat.

Grunt like a pig.

Moo like a cow.

Meow like a kitten.

Scream like a banshee.

Moan like a sex Goddess.

Release Sound. Deep sounds.

Express the sounds of your womb, your yoni, your hips and your thighs.

Let it out.

Sounding will help you release stagnant energy and take up space for yourself in pregnancy and birth.

Birth is not a time to be small and cute and play dead. You will be challenged at times on many levels and you can breathe and sound though it.

You can do it.

Practice having a voice in pregnancy, not just the voice of your head, include the deeper voice, the voice of your bones and your womb and your blood.

The voice of ancient feminine wisdom.

You’ve got this.

Your body. Your baby. Your birth.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Become comfortable with saying both yes and know and don’t betray yourself. Ask for what you want and say no to what you don’t.

You will be tested. During pregnancy and birth you will be offered things you may not want so practice with your body yes and your body no.

You know what you want.

You know what you don’t want.

Trust your belly.

Trust your wisdom.

You’ve got this.

Have a voice.

Go Wild.

4. Release your Fears

Fear is the enemy of birth. What we resist persists. Fears don’t go away, they wait. Face them and they disappear.

Sit down and write all your fears about giving birth down on a blank piece of paper.

Example.

I am afraid of…

write your fears here… i.e. hospitals, tearing, exhaustion, blood loss, male doctors… whatever your fears are.

Look at each one. Face it. See it for what it is. Look it in the eye. When you are ready you are going to release all the energy of this fear from inside you.

Write each fear on a separate piece of paper.

Create a safe space for this ritual, such as a fireplace or an enclosed fire pit outside.

Burn each piece of paper one by one.

Ask yourself, have I let go? What do I still need to let go of?

You may need more support with this from a midwife, birth healing coach or counsellor.

When this is complete and you feel ready return to your writing tools.

Affirm what you want instead.

Energize your new beliefs.

Bring it to life. Paint it. Write it. Speak it. Dance it.

Drop the drama. Energize what you want instead.

Write positive affirmations.

Stick them up in your house where you can see them.

Alternatively you can also… dance or paint out your fears.

Do hypno birthing.

Fear holds us back in labour and in life.

Release your fears.

Express yourself.

Write.

Paint.

Sing.

Knit.

Crochet.

Cook.

Create.

Dance.

Get them out, out out!

Release your fears.

5. Hire support people you trust in every cell of your body

If something feels off with your care provider, investigate your feelings. Too often women tell me they didn’t really like their doctor, midwife or doula. It’s too late after your birth to fix this problem. Pregnancy is the time for choosing care providers very very carefully.

It is important that you like, love and trust your chosen care provider with every cell in your body.

Birth is intimate. You gotta feel right about your support team.

It is important you like them. You are going to have a baby with this person.

Think about your main care provider for the birth of your child and answer the following questions as honestly as you can.

Do you feel respected?

Do you feel safe?

Can you be yourself?

Do you feel heard?

Do you feel comfortable with the idea of going wild and getting naked with them?

Do you trust them in every cell of your body?

If not, move on.

Start again.

Next.

6. Trust

Trust yourself. Trust your baby. Trust the process. Trust your Midwife. Trust your Doula. Trust Birth. Trust Life. Trust. You can do this.

7. Surrender

When labour begins, there’s nothing left to do. Let go and enjoy it. Let labour wash through you and take you to the motherland.

Dance it.

Sing it.

Sound it.

Move with it.

Shake it.

Swim with it.

Love Birth.

Let go.

Let Goddess.

Surrender.

Taking a Stand

It was on a plane in 2015 on one of my many flights across the Tasman between New Zealand and Australia that it happened. I was watching a film called “How to Save the World” – a fascinating documentary about the founders of Greenpeace.

Greenpeace, an organization founded by activists and volunteers, has done a phenomenal job of protecting whales and seals and other wildlife since its inception by a handful of courageous eco-warriors.

Whaling has been stopped in many countries.

Greenpeace did change the world.

Watching this film I thought to myself… “Who is going to protect the mothers and the babies? Who is going to stop birth trauma?”

Unlike the slaughtering of baby seals, violence towards women and babies at birth is hidden from the world.

It is not about anger, but rather compliance and control. It is about fear and how fear is applied in a controlled way to a mysterious process that is unique to each birth.

From a midwifery perspective, birth trauma in big hospitals is predictable with poor outcomes and life long consequences for women.

To avoid it we must not be afraid, nor must we be naive and pretend it does not exist.

Violence against women and babies during labour and birth goes on in subtle and direct ways across the world.

Medicine expects compliance. It is carried out by those who don’t know any other way. They are doing the only thing they know how to do with the linear cortex, medical perspective and surgical skills they have.

It gets the baby out quickly, yes.

And it makes Birth look like drive through.

It goes like this.

As part of normal labour women experience intense pain in birth. They can feel very vulnerable and they sometimes want to go home or give up or die or all these things.

Hospitals provide a smorgasbord of options which, from a position of intense exhaustion, pain or suffering can sound like a very good idea at the time.

Vulnerability + Pain + Hospital + Fear + lack of Autonomous Midwives = Massive Intervention = Unnecessary birth trauma

This doesn’t happen in midwifery led environments, in fact maternity care from a known midwife means 50 – 80% fewer medical interventions during childbirth.

I listen to women. I hear their stories of birth. I hear how healthy women feel about their caesareans, and their forceps and their vacuum. I hear about their lost dreams. I see their tears.

And I know that so much of this pain can be prevented.

Unnecessary birth trauma will end when women and midwives reclaim their rightful place as guardians of normal childbirth.

When Midwives return to their respected and important role in society as the guardians and protectors of normal pregnancy and birth we will see Birth come home.

We can turn the tide.

We can restore our sacred rites.

We can and we are.

Women are the experts on themselves, their bodies and their baby. Midwives are the experts of normal birth. Medicine can be called upon IF, and only ever if it is truly required. Most of the time, it isn’t required but because we take a normal healthy life giving process into a medical environment much is lost, we create problems, lots of them.

The medical model sees birth as an accident waiting to happen and treats it as such. Every step of labour is charted, women are questioned, prodded and poked.

Surveillance goes against Birth and creates problems.

Unnecessary birth trauma is then created, it is a by-product of being caught in a net and hoping that something outside ourselves will help us escape it.

When we listen to our inner guidance above all else, and go with it, birth trauma can begin to end.

There are many ways to help a woman get her baby out. Instruments and surgery are one way.

Midwifery is another.

When we heal the soul of midwifery Birth will begin to come home.

The seal fur traders probably thought they were doing the best thing for their communities by supporting the baby seal fur trade back in the day. Perhaps the fur industry supported their families and communities for generations.

Not any more.

Facing our fear of death during birth is a long forgotten aspect of spiritual midwifery.

When we neglect the spiritual and shamanic dimensions of birth we have to resort to machines and instruments.

The inner doors open through an alchemical process that is a mystery. Midwives hold the space for this and support women to release whatever holds them back. When we let go and trust, our baby comes earth side. Sometimes it means we die to something internally. This is an aspect of birth that is overlooked by those who think their way through maternity care with only linear symbol processing. Much more is going on beneath the surface, and the inner workings of women contribute to the outer workings in birth.

Many maternity care providers feel they are doing the best thing when they introduce a monitor, fetal scalp electrode, an episiotomy (cutting a woman’s perineum between vagina and anus) an epidural, forceps, vacuum or caesarean section into a woman’s birth.

It’s often the only way they know how to get the baby out. Yet from a midwifery perspective, creating the right environment and honouring the woman and her process is how the babies emerge naturally.

This happens spontaneously, without force.

Too often these things are introduced because they are seen as the only option. It’s sort of like being hungry and the only thing open is McDonald’s. Just because it’s everywhere doesn’t mean it is good for you.

We can Birth in a natural and humane way. There are too many cuts, too many machines, too many drugs and too many interventions. It all can stop. It can stop with you.

Many women say they want a natural birth, yet birthing in a hospital means that pretty much everything in there goes against that outcome. For instance, driving to a hospital to give birth, bright lights, strangers, sanitized clinical environments that don’t smell familiar, operating theatres, beeping machines and throngs of medical staff peering at your body is not natural.

Far from it.

It’s a jungle in there and there are traps. Traps that you can walk into without even being aware of them.

Birth can be straightforward. Birth can be spiritual. Birth can be Wild. Birth can be empowering. Birth can be sexy. Birth can be intense. Birth can be whatever she is.

Natural birth happens when women are undisturbed in labour. If we disturb the mother, we disturb the delicate chemicals of love and safety required to expand enough, to trust enough to let the doors of life open and let babies be born. If we don’t feel safe enough to let go, the doors of life won’t open no matter how much they tell you to push.

Women aren’t made to be hooked up to machines during birth. Women are not made to birth on white sanitized sheets lying on single beds in the middle of medical rooms.

Women are not made to be told how to birth.

We’ve got this.

We know how to Birth.

If women are healthy, prepared, protected and feel safe, most can birth well.

We know. We know. We know. We just have to remember.

So many women tell me they want a natural birth, yet they walk themselves into an environment that offers the opposite.

Some have tried to capture Birth and diminish her. Women were not meant to birth in captivity. We might need to roam, we might need to rest. We might need to go quiet. We might need to get fierce.

There is no animal on earth that would agree to the kinds of intervention women agree to during childbirth.

Show your teeth if necessary.

And be sure to heal from your previous birth if you are birthing again. This is a must.

Don’t play dead. Don’t be compliant.

Get in alliance with your birthing powers.

Seek out an experienced Midwife or Doula you trust to support you.

Birth is the big work and we need Midwives, autonomous and fully supported to do the work they are so good at. Controlling women, birth and midwives in institutions is not working.

It isn’t.

Midwives need support, they work all hours of the night and day. Women need support and both need freedom.

Since Birth went to hospitals women’s outcomes improved for many decades but between 2000 and 2013 the number of women who died of child birth related issues nearly doubled in USA and Canada. (World Health Organization, 2008)

I am making a stand for something else. For the capacity of women to birth without a whole lot of machines and equipment.

Birth in most big hospitals has become like drive through. You go in, you get your baby and you come out with some kind of cut or wound.

Women and Birth are not drive through. Something important is happening.

Our bodies and our baby belong to us, not to hospitals.

I have seen violence towards women in hospitals and every midwife who works in a hospital knows exactly how, when, where and with whom it happens.

It has to stop.

Violence towards women during childbirth is hidden because women birth in private behind closed doors where they are expected to be compliant. Grrrr …

97% of women in Australia birth in a hospital. From 2007 to 2014 I worked in these hospitals as a doula, student midwife and midwife.

Midwifery today would require me to partake in practices I believe are dangerous. Practices that have no evidence to back them up.

Surveillance in the form of continuous fetal monitoring (which has a woman tied to a bed) as well as routine vaginal examinations contribute to unnecessary birth trauma.

It’s not humane. It has to stop.

The medical model disturbs the natural birthing process. It then has to introduce instruments or operations to get the baby out.

Continuous fetal monitoring, Induction of Labour, Episiotomy, Vacuum Extraction Forceps delivery and Caesarean section are not enjoyable experiences for many women.

The accepted cultural myth is that the hospital is the safe place to have a baby, but I disagree. Personal safety is a subjective concept. I think we have gone too far into the illusion that the hospital is the safe place.

Birth today is like an endangered species.

She is being hunted.

She is being captured.

She is tied up in ropes and wires.

Too many women are birthing in captivity.

It’s time to free her.

Birth was never meant to be drive through.

Hands off the Mother.

Hands off the baby.

Hands off the process.

Hands off her womb.

Sacred Woman.

Sacred Earth.

Sacred Birth.

My body.

My baby.

My choice.

Do you believe in Angels?

Angela and Michael Close Up

I am talking about real life angels. Human beings that come into our life for a moment, a chapter or a life time. Beings that change our life forever, filling us up with goodness.

Angels are beings that ONLY want to love and support us.

I’ve been surrounded by real living breathing Angels all my life. This makes me feel emotional because the story I used to tell myself about my childhood was that I felt all alone, but actually I was never alone.

In grade four my primary school teacher Mrs. Allcock told my mum she thought I would benefit from having a dog. She worked at the local animal rescue and knew of a dog that needed a home.

Mrs Allcock was an angel for me. And so magic happened. At nine years old I received a soul gift that would see me through my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, my red dingo cross kelpie dog Georgie girl.

I was an extremely sensitive child, although I didn’t know it at the time. It was before the time of sensitive children! That dog meant the world to me. It was a profound experience of love. I felt joy with Georgie that I never knew existed. I did not feel that sort of love for the adults around me at the time.

Georgie howled at the moon and followed my every footstep. I felt completely one and connected to all of life with her by my side. It was pure joy.

My theory is that there is always an angel for us and we are an angel for someone else too, at the same time.

When my daughter was born I was the Angel for her, as her mum, and Michael, her father, was an Angel for me. He built me a birthing swing to hang from, filled up the birthing pool, stocked up on food and stood by me through milky days and nights of breastfeeding, making sure I was well fed and protected.

Angela and Michael

I’ve noticed there is always an Angel behind us supporting us and in front of us as we move into the unknown.

WE ARE the angel sent to love and care for someone or something today. We are put on the path of those we can serve. This is how the angel network works, it’s an inner-net connecting the hearts and souls of people, animals, places and things.

It’s my angel theory.

I’ve been living with a human Angel here in New Zealand. I met Silver when I needed a friend. God gave me more than that.

I was diving into the unknown, driving around the mountains of New Zealand. I went to a sacred place called Mana Retreat in Coromandel to dance and there he was holding out his hand, inviting me to join him on life’s big adventure. What I got was sweet love and three years of soul healing.

As I said before, there is always an angel behind us and in front of us, and WE ARE that angel sent for someone too.

Everything is sent to us by source. Our money, our friends, our pets, our loved ones, our helpers, our leads, our homes, our cars, our new swimmers, our connections. It’s all sorted by the Angel network.

Yesterday I happened to be in contact with my friend Justina, who happened to be traveling in LA, and happened to be looking for a place to stay. I immediately got in contact with my friend Jo who lives in LA so now Justina has somewhere to stay. And that was all from my place in New Zealand!

In this example I was the Angel for Justina (who needed a place to stay) and Jo was the Angel for me (helping out a friend).

This world so needs our love.

The good news is that we can always give something. A smile, a flower, a kind word, a car park, an opening of a door.

Who needs your help today?

Give it now.

And with that, all your prayers are answered too, in advance.

Loving this world back to health is what we are all here to do.

We are all in Angel School.

We are all Angels.

The Womb contains the Cure

I truly believe that womb health is connected with mental health. I know what it feels like to smile to the outside world while privately living with deep seated mother grief, mother guilt, mother rage, and mother shame.

It held me back for years.

It kept me isolated, stuck and feeling invisible.

Twelve years ago I had an abortion which seriously impacted me.

I thought I was fine, the procedure was straight forward and I had some support from my partner, but it wasn’t enough. On the surface and medically speaking everything went smoothly. Inside me, however, was another story.

I can still remember the tears streaming down my face as we lit a candle and prayed for our loss. Despite this I knew that the termination was the right decision for us both.

What I wasn’t aware of then was how I felt deeper down.

Underneath my smile for the outside world was a rage that wanted to be seen and felt but was hidden.

My anger was held in my underbelly, in my womb.

Back then I had no way to articulate what I was really going through.

I was comfortable with grief but actually I was furious.

I really wanted to make a family and to have more children but my partner at the time didn’t.

Six months later we had ANOTHER abortion.

This was the final TIPPING point.

One day a current of rage rose up from deep within me and impacted the only person truly by my side back then, my five year old daughter.

My shadow self rose up and hurt a vulnerable and innocent child.

I was frightened and horrified and the shock of this day took me years to come to grips with.

I needed womb healing. I needed deep listening. I needed a shame whisperer.

I had no idea how to access myself or the support my soul needed.

This is why I created Birth Your Truth.

It’s what I needed back then when I was all alone.

I grew up catholic and somewhere inside I felt I needed to be punished for my behaviour, so after this I went on to attract a punishing husband.

We live in a culture that barely recognizes the womb and women’s truths . As women we have collectively been socialized and over educated up into our heads.

We tend to ignore ourselves from the waist down, period.

We ignore our womb and pretend she isn’t there. We even medicate her in an attempt to control her. Lest someone become overwhelmed by her power!

Womb healing is essential for women and highly protective for our children because supported, loved and nurtured mothers are safer, happier and better mothers.

Our children don’t really go with what we say as much as they go with how we act and how we behave. Our children not only feel our wounds, they carry them in their heart soul space.

Our children live in our vibrational field.

Back then I was unable to cope with how I really felt deep down. I know now that that which we cannot be with, waits for us and essentially runs us; it owns us.

If we bring ourselves forth, if we have the courage to be with our true feelings, if we can face the carnage we feel in our underbelly, we have a chance at healing and creating a real and authentic life.

If we ignore our shadow selves they can potentially rise up one day and hurt us or others or even fester away slowly and destroy us from within.

Unmet pain can implode internally into lumps, bumps, cysts and illnesses or externally it can explode hurting ourselves and those we care most about.

I am passionate about creating a better world for mothers and their children.

I do my work for women, our children and the generations to come too.

Back then I was unable to deal with the enormity of my feelings, it was too big and too scary. I was a single parent living alone in a big city and I felt ashamed.

As a daughter of patriarchy I was trained to soldier on and keep going. The modern day version of this is to carry on and ‘suck it up’.

Hiding and sucking it up only led me to hiding my truth and exploding it out later hurting my child.

After my tipping point I was totally driven to heal. I had to do something that mattered to me, something that honoured my body and women’s life giving powers.

I spent five years in body based psychotherapy and began offering women’s circles. I started Sacred Woman Gatherings in Sydney in 2005.

After years training and working as a doula, child birth educator and eventually becoming a registered midwife in two countries I now have something unique to offer.

From my journey into the depths of personal darkness, new light and new life has come.

In 2015 I created Birth Your Truth to hold space for women to heal from unexpected or disappointing experiences of childbirth, miscarriage and abortion.

This work has been full of light, wonderful and life changing for me.

I have seen deep miracles take place, however I am not a healer.

I am a midwife.

I am with woman, holding space for her energetic, felt truth.

Many of the women I have seen have been hurt by the comments and actions of well meaning and highly trained health professionals who themselves do not have the personal experience, sensitivity, compassion or awareness of the real issues women face behind closed doors after procedures are done.

Every front has a back and oft times some health professionals are only trained to see the front issue (and treat it with surgery or medication) blind to the real issue underneath.

My gift is to see and feel the deeper issues.

I’m with Rumi when he said, “The Wound contains the Cure.”

I go a step further.

The Womb contains the Cure.

The Gentle Force

This week at the primary school where I work I spotted a policeman in the school grounds. I felt a brush of fear ripple through my fur, my ears pricked. I wondered what was up.

Surprise!

Constable Josh had come to talk with the kids. Relief! It was good news. The kids were squealing and squirming with excitement to hear what this man had to say to them.

A good man in uniform stood before us. I was touched by his kind presence. He was beaming gentle energy. The children were attentive, bright eyed and bushy tailed to hear what he had to say.

Constable Josh had come to speak to the kids about his role in the Police force. His role is to be there for children who need him. His role is to protect them. He answered lots of questions and dispelled many myths about police for kids and teachers alike.

He told the children what he does and doesn’t do and assured them that a lot of what they see on television and in movies isn’t real. For instance, he doesn’t carry a gun, and his baton isn’t for hitting people with, it’s for getting people out of cars and places if they are stuck. I felt deep relief to hear this.

He then took off his 10kg vest and showed the kids his torch, bullet proof vest, radio, taser, handcuffs and pepper spray. He answered lots of questions. He talked about choices and prison and jail, then he came out with something truly beautiful. I was so touched I had to write about it.

He asked the children if they knew the best tool the police have? He told them that the best tool the police have, they have too. He said that we are all born with this tool. None of the kids or the teachers could guess what it was.

Josh went on to say that the best tool the police have is their voice. A light went on in my head. I have been saying for years that the most protective and powerful tool a birthing woman can have is her voice. And here I was in another country hearing it from a policeman!

Our voice as mothers can protect us and our babies in pregnancy, birth and beyond. If we have our voice we can speak up and perhaps ask more questions and say no to anything that doesn’t feel right for us. If we can speak from our womb (from our deepest intuitive feminine), we can move confidently through birth and beyond it.

The image of the human voice coming out and forming a protective shield in front of a person now forms in my mind as I sit here writing this.

Yes!… our voice is protective. My spirit knows this to be true. It’s been a long and slow journey for me to find my voice.

When I saw acts of violence towards an Aboriginal man out the back of my family hotel business as a teenager, I said nothing. I froze because I witnessed a family member being brutal. I locked it inside a secret vault. I knew the family line was “If you see something bad, don’t say anything”. This message went in when I was five years old, it was here that my true voice went into hiding.

From a young age I kept many feelings hidden inside. I learned that there was no point speaking up because it wasn’t going to make any difference. I gave up. I developed a socially acceptable false self to survive my early environment of family, school and growing up catholic.

When I first experienced domestic violence at age 30 I said nothing. It went underground packed on top with shame. Silencio. Sitting in the classroom looking at Josh the policeman took me back to the day I took out an AVO, a violence protection order against my ex husband.

Josh reminded me of another beautiful policeman that came to my house many years ago when I needed it. To this day I can only describe it as a direct experience of the Divine Masculine. I felt a calm but palpable transmission of divine light emanating from every part of this man. It was ebbing out through a body of quiet strength.

There is an authenticity to the peaceful warrior that makes him truly powerful. This is in contrast to so much of what we see in the media and in movies growing up. I was not experiencing the divine masculine in my marriage at the time. The energy I felt from my ex husband was sharp, cruel, controlling and it hurt my soul. I was frightened and walked on eggshells … living in the hope he would change.

I stayed because he wasn’t like that all the time, however I was sexually hooked and hypnotized by his charismatic charm and generosity – when he wasn’t putting me or my friends and family down in some way. I was called a slut and filth. One day I found myself shaking in terror as I ran from my house to sit on the ground a few streets from my home.

Friends helped me pack up his stuff and change the locks. I give a big sigh of relief when I realize how different my life is today.

Today I live with a gentle, kind and generous man. A truly peaceful warrior. An awesome companion. My man is kinder, deeper and more patient than anyone I’ve ever met before. I am grateful for his presence every day and night. For the first time in my life I feel safe and protected in a partnership with a man. I am never harmed. I am held.

I used to have a lot of shame that I experienced domestic violence. Not any more.

I forgive myself for being unable to speak.

I forgive myself for staying too long.

I forgive myself for taking so long to leave.

I honour myself for getting out and staying out. Studies show it can take 17 attempts for women to leave an abusive partner before they leave for good. I really get this from my lived experience. I have no judgement. I’ve been there.

Somewhere deep down I believed that if I stayed and loved more it would all come good, it would get better.

Wrong.

I got a divorce.

Today, six years on, I live with a Divine Man. There is no abuse, no anger, no pain, and hurtful words are not said, ever. The trauma of living with the dark man is over. I have healed something inside me.

Over time, once I felt safe again I came to see the root of the abuser experience was my deep feeling of unworthiness and the hope that I could receive love by struggling for it. When my abusers were out of the picture I took up the mantle myself. At the heart of the matter was my own self abuse. I was cruel to me. And my pain spilled over onto those I loved. I was overflowing with pain and needed healing. Silver and New Zealand has been my healing.

Today, and every day, I am increasing my love for myself, saying kind things to myself and holding myself. Although I grew up in what looked like a loving family, I didn’t feel loved. The hardest part has been forgiving myself and finding compassion for myself.

I am grateful for Constable Josh, my AVO hero and my Divine Man Silver today because they have all been men who have shown me the face of the Sacred Masculine in this world.

The best part is that The Gentle Force is now inside me too, protecting me, staying by me and loving me no matter what. I woke this morning from a dream of a long train ride that was coming to its final destination. I looked out the window and the sign read God and Goddess.

As within, so without.

Nice and Good

One of the themes I grew up with growing up catholic and going to an all girls private school was that girls should be ‘nice’, ‘good’ and ‘clean’! Ha! I was a nature loving ‘tom boy.’

I was supposed to be ‘clean and good’ but in truth I was ‘wild and dirty’ from playing in the creeks and the wet mud after the rain.

I was awake early and off like a thunderbolt on my bike around the countryside on the weekends before Mum and Dad got up.

As a young girl I was curious, adventurous and very physical. I was an outside girl. I rolled down hills and swam with tadpoles. I learned when it was safe to be wild and when it was not. I learned when to smile sweetly and when to show my teeth.

I played in trees and travelled huge distances in my local terrain on foot and later on my red bicycle with my dingo cross kelpie dog Georgie Girl.

Consequently when it came to birth I was not compliant and I had a voice. I even said to my midwife as my daughter was coming out, “Don’t you pull my baby out of me!” She didn’t.

I was one of the lucky ones.

Too many women are still playing nice, good girl roles. We are too bloody compliant.

We apologize for everything, we mute our true voice and we are concerned about looking good.

We do what we are told and cannot ask for what we want and need.

I sometimes fall into this trap too, I have to admit.

What ideas about being a girl did you absorb growing up? Can you ask for support? Can you say NO? Can you tell someone to go away? Ask someone to leave the room?

The early patterns from childhood play out big time in our lives as women giving birth.

Early ideas from parents, TV and teachers may have submerged deep into us, and we have forgotten about them.

These old ideas can be controlling us without our awareness.

We have to stalk these predators. We must eliminate anything that no longer serves us today. It’s okay now to finally show our true colours, our grass stains and our deeper voice.

It’s a journey and I still sometimes struggle to say NO. I’m not perfect. I’m still learning.

As we mature we have the task of sorting the gold from the dirt.

We have to determine what we truly value.

We have to determine what we think and feel.

We have to determine what we want to protect and what we do not mind losing or giving up.

One thing for sure, as women, as mothers, we have to protect what we love.

Allowing ourselves to carve out our own ideas and values is an important part of becoming ourselves. Allowing everyone else to have their views is important too.

We are our own person and we can live, birth and parent the way we choose. In fact it is essential we do.

The world is starved for our truth, our long silenced loving, hot, deep, soft, wild, wet, fierce truth.

Yours and mine.

You matter.

Be heard.

Be real.

Be you.

Birthday Gifts

Birthday Past

When I look back into my experience of childbirth I can see how I was being during birth is often how I am being in my life now too.

Birth is an initiation into the feminine, into being.

That’s why all the study in the world doesn’t really help us in childbirth. Our baby doesn’t come out our head. Birth is a dance of wild waves meets wild sexuality, meets earthy passion, meets divine, meets soul. It’s sweaty, it’s wild and messy.

Birth is primal, it’s about surrender, allowing and letting go.

It’s deep, it’s fierce, it’s feminine.

We are all daughters of patriarchy, and the culture we live in has trained us well in achieving and doing. Birth is not a doing, it’s more like waves in the ocean, tides, waterfalls, floods and earthquakes.

Birth’s roots are in Mother Earth and the Laws of Nature.

Nature, she is powerful, so best to surrender to her. Nature always gets her way.

For birth, I was ‘prepared’ and ‘organized’. Things were ‘all good’ up until things got really fucking intense. I felt lost at sea. This is Nature’s plan. She wants us to grow. She wants us to expand beyond our wildest dreams. She wants both us and our baby to make it to shore too.

She wants us to open, stretch, let go and allow her to have her way with us.

In Birth (and life) we need to let go and be done! We need instinct, guts, perseverance, water, food, love, respect, kindness and safety.

Sometimes we have to find these things within ourselves because we are alone and there’s no one to guide us.

I was one of the lucky ones, I had a midwife, I was at home. Yet I was profoundly challenged by childbirth. For me, natural birth felt like an earthquake was doing my body. It was beyond strong. It was completely wild and I needed inner navigation, I needed spiritual guidance.

I needed to trust in myself and birth and in another human being like I have never trusted before. This challenged me.

Up until the descent of my baby through my body I’d been an independent woman who could take care of herself. In birth I needed to open up, to get vulnerable, to connect with the forces of nature within me. I was okay with getting wild and primal until I had enough. I needed a doula at my daughters birth! It’s why I went on to become one later.

This bond is set up with our earliest female carers, but to be really frank our capacity for receiving love and support is set up with our mother. If we don’t deeply and wholeheartedly trust our mother or other women, if we can’t receive from women, we may end up feeling ‘all alone’ during birth.

The bond between women has been broken by many things, maternity practices being one of them. I was born in a time when mothers went to postnatal wards and babies went to the nursery. This is not good for primal mother baby bonding! No!

During childbirth I needed to go deep within to a place of trust in life itself. For some time, around transition, I wasn’t trusting. I was absolutely bricking it. I was clenched in fear. Looking back at birth I can now clearly see the gifts that were so close yet so far.

To see these at the time wasn’t possible because I was overwhelmed and stuck in my head trying to work out how I was going to do it. I was stuck in fear. No, not fear, terror.

To receive my birth gems I needed to relax. It’s not easy to relax when you feel a watermelon coming out between your legs, when you feel you are going to die.

Yet in Nature’s terms I needed to die on some level, I needed to let go of who I thought I was and what I thought I was capable of like never before.

To go deeper, to birth naturally, I needed to trust. I needed to surrender. I needed to let support IN.

I trusted to a point, but when I thought I was going to die I clenched on, gripped with terror. The medicine I needed from within me at those moments was to TRUST BIRTH in an epic way.

I needed to trust myself, trust my body, trust in my midwife, trust in my baby, trust in Nature to bring this baby to the shore.

I needed to trust in something bigger, older and way wiser than me. Wild Woman is our ancient mother and we meet her during childbirth. So for me, trust is the first remedy for my birth healing.

Secondly I needed to surrender. I needed to stop trying to work it out in my head. Surrender means letting go and letting god. Floating in the ocean, not gripping onto the side of the pool for fear of sharks. I was afraid of sharks in the pool.

And finally, I needed a spiritual midwife, a doula to meet me at a soul level. I had offers from many natural birthing friends, divine birthing Goddesses and naively I turned them all away. I thought I could do it all myself. Neh.

I had no idea about birth, nor did I understand the natural and spiritual dimension of birth 16 years ago.

After nine years of being with birthing women I’ve learned something. There is a transmission that happens between the divine and women at birth if we are open to it, if we can surrender to it, if we can let it in.

We are the life givers, we are the gateway between heaven and earth. Life comes through us, strongly!

Women have been doing this birth dance for ever. Although much has been lost, one thing is for sure, it cannot be destroyed. It works just fine.

No matter what happened, your birth is holy and sacred and so are you.
For me, the three gems from my experience of childbirth are trust, surrender and to let support in. This is not only what I needed during birth, it’s what I need to LIVE my life. Birth has medicine for the whole of our life. Happy 16th birthing day to me!