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  • Abby Hopewell

As part of Ruth Dennison's (121 Doula)'s Breastfeeding Cultural Safety course, I was tasked to "be creative" and took the opportunity to write a blog about what I have learned.


In January I bought Ruth's course and in March I attended a Cultural Competency course by the wonderful Mars Lord and Nicola Mahdiyyah Goodall.

As a birth worker, but more than that, as a person and specifically a white person, it was so important to me to be an ally and to also be as safe as I can be for people.


There's a lot of unlearning to do and discomfort, too but as Mars Lord said when I heard her speak at the Milton Keynes breastfeeding festival a few years ago "You can sit in your discomfort for a few minutes because I have had to live in mine all of my life" - or powerful words to that effect!


If you're a white person reading this, as white people, we cannot let our discomfort and anxieties around getting it wrong stop us from doing the work. We can support someone by treating them politely and going down a check list of things they may need help with - and yes it can be done with respect; however, if we go into these situations with preconceived ideas and assumptions and without listening to the person in front of us and we do not make a connection with that person, then they are not going to get appropriate support. We cannot leave people without access to support because we as the people supposed to be helping them aren't adequately equipped to do so.


One way which I keep my biases (we all have them, don't fool yourself into thinking you don't) in check is with these visual prompts by "Play the Race Card" (images taken from their etsy listing).

These prompts are really useful for anyone working with birthing people as they make you challenge your own thoughts.

We owe it to all people to be competent and confident enough to treat those in our care (and in general!) by taking their unique cultural needs into consideration. We need to acknowledge that there may be specific cultural barriers and we need to understand how best to overcome them and education is key to that, as well as being anti-racist.


I really would encourage all birth workers, but especially white birth workers, to complete these courses. It's an ongoing process, it's never finished; but we all need to start.


Abby <3

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  • Abby Hopewell

Over the weekend, the very first Pregnancy Cake Club happened and it was fab - absolutely soaking wet through, but fab all the same 😂

weather forecast showing rain

I spent the week leading upto the Pregnancy Cake Club checking the weather; we were forecast thunderstorms all week which didn't materialise. On the Friday I e-mailed everyone with a warning that we may have to postpone and that I would message on Saturday to confirm. On Saturday the forecast was much lower and so I decided to go ahead... However, our wonderful British weather had other ideas in mind and it absolutely chucked it down! Thankfully everyone took it in good humour and we got through.


It was a really lovely group who all started chatting immediately. It was wonderful to listen to their conversations and it really cemented in my mind the reason why I was doing this; pregnant people need to speak to other pregnant people who "get it", who understand what they are going through and experiencing.


Some of the topics that came up during the afternoon were; pre and postnatal depression; hyperemesis gravidarum (severe vomiting in pregnancy which is highly debilitating); frustrations at attending scans alone; breastfeeding including difficulties and where to find support; hypnobirthing; SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) and PGP (pelvic girdle pain) as well as chiropractic treatment as it IS treatable and of course slings which was our topic of the month.


I demonstrated stretchy wraps, close caboo's and a buckle carrier at this session as well as going through positioning and safety.

cakes

We ate a lot of cake. The beautiful cupcakes were courtesy of Libby's Kitchen and the other goodies were from M&S.


This months goodie bags included Weleda samples courtesy of Nikki from Doncaster Wellbeing; badges from Doncaster Mumbler and doTERRA essential oil samples courtesy of B Carried. There were other goodies, too but I don't wish to spoil the contents for any future attendees.


All of the attendees provided positive feedback (despite the weather!) and agreed to join a WhatsApp group which was specific to them so that they can stay in touch and continue to support each other throughout the rest of their pregnancy and beyond.

"Loved it! Thank you" "Brill, really enjoyed, thanks"

If you would like to join us for the next Pregnancy Cake Club, the September event is now live and can be booked here.


If you're a business and would like to donate samples or services for our goodie bags, please get in touch.


Abby ❤




Yellow wellie in water
It pretty much flooded...
Beautiful but soggy rag rugs on tarpaulin
Beautiful but soggy rag rugs on tarpaulin

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  • Abby Hopewell

I had a chat on BBC Radio Sheffield again this week, this time with Simon (what has happened to my life that I'm speaking on the radio!?) about "push presents".


I haven't been able to listen back to it yet - it makes me cringe


Can we come up with a better name?


I asked the above over on my facebook page and the general consensus, like I said during the chat with Simon was - it's an awful name but can be a really lovely thing to do.

From sentimental gifts such as a bunch of flowers including the birth flower (each month has its own); a piece of jewellery with the birth stones in it; a special photo frame of the first moments together right through to diamond earrings, an afternoon tea or a hamper packed full of their favourite food and drinks - I think "push presents" or rather birthing gifts, are as individual as the person giving and the person receiving the gift.


Did you get one? Have you ever heard of one?


Push presents are the thank you gift that someone buys for their partner for giving birth to their baby/babies.


Abby <3


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