Hello, this is me here with my second child and my mother.
I feel like I can't just put myself alone in this biography, people made me and a community surrounds me. I am not self-sufficient, I am community-sufficient, I have all that I need in my circle.
My own mother had quick, physiological births and describes pushing all the way to the hospital and quickly giving birth before her doctor could arrive. She always spoke of her births very matter-of-factly and didn't attach fear or drama to her birth stories. She raised my sister and I to be fierce, capable and fearless. She encouraged adventure and bravery. With her was born Transformative birth work.
My grandmother had 5 children, the last two born unexpectedly at home. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I experienced many bleeds, they always filled me with stress and fear. When she heard that I was bleeding she simply said 'yes, this is how it is' - no stress, no pathologising, no fear. After her knowledgable words I felt calm. These are the women who came before me. With them, transformative birth work was born.
My own children were both born at home, an easy choice for me after already being a homebirth midwife for many years before giving birth myself.
Transformative birth experiences are the norm in my chosen way of working with women. In my 10 year midwifery career I have never worked as a midwife in hospital. My only education about birth is from studying at university, experiencing birth in hospitals as a student and then spending the rest of my career watching birth unfold at home with minimal intervention.
For over 10 years I have learnt about birth from women and then also immersed myself in academic learning and writing. All my understandings about birth come either from evidence or women. I feel so blessed to not be clouded by the smoke of hospital policy and the cultural stage of a workplace that relies upon managing birth in a systematic way. I feel as though I know the truth about birth and about how far the reality of birth is from what we have been taught to believe from societal and cultural norms.
In my work as a homebirth midwife, women are transferred to hospital for ongoing care approximately 10-15% of the time (this is not always an emergency). Hospital transfers see me morph into a different role, from midwife to advocate. It's in this role as an advocate that I have seen what hospital based care is like for women and where I have developed the strategies that I offer you here in Transformative birth work.
Soon after graduating as a midwife I entered into a PhD program under the guidance of Professor Hannah Dahlen and Professor Virginia Schmied and 4 years later we produced my PhD thesis, 'Birthing outside the system: wanting the best and the safest'. Hannah, Virginia and I continue to write together to this day.
Hannah Dahlen has loved and mentored me through many a circumstance and we had a sweet start together with our academic and clinical midwifery journeys over 10 years ago. I call Hannah my midwifery mother. With her was born Transformative birth work.
Please enjoy my offering of transformative birth work.
For ourselves, our daughters and their daughters. Transformed women, may we be them, may be raise them, may we be with them.
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