I have been passionate about childbirth since I discovered a TV program called Birth Stories, whilst living in Vancouver Canada in my 20's. Seeing birth for the first time had me sobbing with such a mix of emotions...it was so incredibly powerful, transformative and joyful and I became addicted to these shows. They seemed to light a fire inside me and touch my spirit. I had this Aha! moment where I felt like this was what I was supposed to be doing with my life, to somehow be involved in the birth process. My boyfriend (now husband Graham) would come home and see me with a box of tissues, red eyes, tears running down my face but with a huge smile. He would say "You've been watching that birth show again haven't you!"
But at that stage in my life I felt that I couldn't tell women how to birth if I hadn't experienced it myself. So over the years that followed I read anything I could about labour and birth and talked to as many women as possible about their birth experiences to fill my growing need to know more.
When it came time to plan for the birth of my first child I knew that the better prepared I was the easier it would be. With a whole lot of skills and tools up my sleeve then at least I knew I was giving natural birth my best shot, which I believed gave my child the best start to life. After attending an independent childbirth education course, prenatal and active birth yoga as well as the hospital classes I felt ready and excited about the birth. What I had learnt gave me so much confidence in the birth process and the mind set that I could really do it! I spent time focusing on the kind of birth I wanted and did everything I could to optimise my chances of that happening. My husband also found the preparation and courses extremely helpful as he knew what to say and do to support me. After experiencing a long but empowering, natural birth of my beautiful boy Malakai, I realised my success had come from being knowledgeable, prepared, confident that I had many skills to get me through, that I trusted my body and that my husband had been an effective support.
After such a positive birth experience I became even more addicted to the idea of helping couples through such an important moment in their lives. Then after my obstetrician and midwife told me that the way I birthed could inspire others and that I should be teaching birth classes, I made a commitment to myself to do just that!
The birth of my precious second son Sebastian was also amazing. I was even more informed, skilled, prepared, inspired, motivated, supported and relaxed which all paid off in an incredible water birth.
On reflection of both my birth experiences I realised that through my preparation and during labour I didn’t just use one birthing methodology or one type of skill but instead picked a variety that worked for me. It also started to concern me that so many women and birth partners around me could not speak of their experience of birth in the same positive, joyful way that I could. Many having disappointing and even traumatic experiences.
From these concepts and through studying a Diploma in Childbirth Education with Childbirth International, looking at the common elements in thousands of positive birth stories and experiences, the idea for a new birthing method was born.
The Positive Birth Formula focuses on the best evidence based practice and is structured around 7 essential elements to creating a beautiful birth: Be Informed, Be Motivated, Be Supported, Be Prepared, Be Inspired, Be Skilled, Be Relaxed. In each of the elements I help couples to discover and choose the techniques and options that resonate with them. In other words the course I have designed allows women and their birth partners to build their own formula to optimise their chances of a positive birth.
I have a background in education, dance, teaching movement as a healing tool, sales and marketing and working in the maternity wear industry but know that being part of a revolution that passes on positive messages about birth to the next generation is my life’s calling.
I truly believe women and their birth partners can have an experience worth remembering and I am honoured to share in the incredible journey of the birth of your child and the beginning of parenthood.
B Arts, Grad Dip Ed, Dip Childbirth Ed, Founder of Project Birth and Creator of The Positive Birth Formula.
CBI is the leader in global education for birth professionals.