Education and Workshops
I offer a range of informative and inclusive parenting workshops, whether this is your first time having a baby or not.
Antenatal Education and Speed-Dating for Parents - #ifyouknowyouknow
I often joke that when expectant parents book onto group antenatal classes, it’s as much for the opportunity to meet other local parents as it is for the education itself. So yes, feel free to come along, learn a thing or two to get informed about your pregnancy, birth and beyond and meet some prospective parent friends while you're at it.
Using my knowledge as a parent of four children including twins as well as the experience I have gained through supporting parents for the better part of a decade through my work in the early years, through the sling and nappy libraries as well as a Doula and Birthkeeper supporting dozens of families navigate their way through pregnancy, birth and beyond, I wanted to create a workshop and atmosphere which felt informative, empowering and relaxed.
This is not the type of antenatal education which will involve presentations and slideshows! This is the type of antenatal education which will leave you feeling more confident in navigating the maternity system, your rights within it and how to give yourself the best possible chance of having a positive birthing experience.
You will be given the opportunity to discuss your thoughts and ask any questions. There will be a strong emphasis on consent and informed decision making during this course; if you don’t know what your options are, it’s very difficult to make an informed choice about your care.
I will not prepare you to be a passenger to this experience and although yes, we can all experience "white coat syndrome" whereby we feel like we should automatically defer to the healthcare professional in front of us; together we will work out what is important to you and how to advocate for yourself.
“A healthy parent and a healthy baby” is the base line – it is the absolute minimum that we should be aiming for after birth; there is so much more to strive for such as a traumatic free birth; an empowering birth; a healing birth.
Please come into these sessions with an open mind and leave whatever preconceived ideas you have about what birth “should” look like at the door; this is a safe space to learn and explore.
As a Birthkeeper, I have seen far more physiological births than I have emergency belly births and instrumental births. This is not down to a luck of the draw; I have supported many “high risk” parents who have gone on to have beautiful births. Last year in 2022, I met a 3rd year student midwife who was about to qualify; she had never witnessed a physiological birth; that blows my mind in the worst way possible.
Education is key. Yes, life absolutely throws us a curveball sometimes and that’s okay; we cannot plan for every eventuality but I strongly believe that it is not necessarily what happens during our birth that can leave us traumatised or with negative feelings; but how we were made to feel at the time that it is happening. We’ll focus a lot on the things that we can control and how this can increase the satisfaction that we feel around our births, even when they go "off-plan".
Please note, this is a LGBTQIA+ safe space; inclusive language will be used throughout these sessions, and I make no apologies for this. Birthing people come in many different guises, and all deserve the right to safe and inclusive antenatal education. If you are a surrogate or intended parent(s); if you have had IUI, IVF or other assisted conception, you are absolutely welcome here - this is a safe and inclusive space. This also extends to other marginalised groups such as Black and brown birthing people; I see you and how daunting it can be to birth within the system given the evidence all around us about systemic racism and the MBRRACE report.
I am not here to make you feel scared, that is the last thing I want to do, but we will not shy away from instances of iatrogenic harm (medically caused harm) because you're adults and will be treated as such.
We will discuss;
Homebirth, freebirth and hospital births. We will look at the local hospital stats regarding birth so that you can make an informed decision about your chosen place of birth. Creating a birth space which gives your oxytocin the best chance to thrive, regardless of the setting.
Tests during pregnancy; offers of care and declining recommendations if you choose to do so.
Baby choosing their own birthday; waiting for labour to start; hormones and the time of Zwischen.
Vaginal examinations; electronic fetal monitoring; freedom of movement; positions for labour and how to support as a birth partner.
The three stages of labour and birth with a strong emphasis on not forgetting the third stage; when the placenta is born and why it matters.
Induction of labour; different types of augmentation; why they may be offered; “the cascade of intervention” and the statistics behind them.
“High risk” labels and what that may mean for you.
BRAIN; a tool to helping you navigate your care antenatally, during your labour and birth right through to when baby/babies is/are here.
Belly birth/Caesarean birth and discussions around vaginal birth after caesarean.
Pain relief options; from floppy face, floppy fanny to TENS machines, hypnobirthing, pool births and epidurals.
Creating birth preferences and/or a birth plan.
The golden hour and the immediate postpartum.
These sessions are open to all families, however yours looks.
This is a safe and inclusive space; LGBTQIA+ families are not only catered for but are enthusiastically welcomed with open arms.
Where applicable, you're welcome to bring one person along with you such as a birth partner (so long as they're not also pregnant and trying to get a free place!)
This is an inclusive and safe space for all parents, including those from the LGBTQIA+ community of which Abby is a member of. If you are a surrogate, you and the Intended Parent/s are of course welcome. These sessions tend to be mostly attended by those who identify as women and Mum's but pregnant trans men, Dad's and my fellow nonbinary folk are absolutely all welcome. Please feel free to email me if you wish to check anything firstname.lastname@example.org.
Racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism or any other form of discrimination will not be tolerated. This is a safe space for all birthing people.
Upcoming workshop dates for 2024 to be confirmed; please contact me to discuss in the meantime.
Optional extra workshops for your specific requirements;
Preparing for a homebirth or freebirth – the practical tips and what you need.
Vaginal Birth after a Caesarean; a deeper dive into the recommendations and the evidence (or lack thereof) behind them.
Biomechanics of labour; additional comfort measures and help with labour dystocia.
Multiples; additional considerations and your options; spoiler alert – you still have options!
The fourth trimester; normal infant behaviour; slings; bonding; bathing; sleeping; feeding; changing relationships.
Fancy a natter?
You are welcome to pop me an e-mail or Facebook message at any time. After your initial enquiry, I'm happy to contact you by phone at a mutually convenient time.
"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."