I’ve teamed up with fellow birth-space professional Rachel Angelone from Your Birth Your Baby, to bring you an insight into her business and why it makes her heart sing.
I feel in this line of work, it’s important to know someone’s motivation to be able to know if they’re a person you’d like to work with. So, with that in mind, I’d like to introduce my ‘why’.
Hi, I’m Rachel, and I’m a birth professional living and working in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Growing up, I loved horses. I was one of the ‘horsie girls’ at school. EVERYTHING was to do with horses. I always intended to work with horses professionally, and for a short time I did. In my early 20’s I spent 5 years working on a commercial Thoroughbred horse stud, which meant I was involved with all aspects of horse husbandry. When foaling season came, we had bets how many colts vs fillies there would be that year, and we all had our favourite mares we would watch with impatience until her foal was born. Birth on the stud was viewed as a natural event. We had a small kit of equipment on hand at all times just in case of emergencies, but it was regularly left untouched for weeks at a time. The horses couldn’t doubt their ability, the process just started, they followed their instincts, and an hour or two later a healthy foal arrived.
This view of birth was backed up by my mother’s retelling of my own birth story. An elective induction, she used Hypnobirthing techniques to have an empowering vaginal birth. She always says she felt like Superwoman when I was born.
So with this history in mind, I went into my own first pregnancy knowing I wanted a birth as low intervention as possible. We did the one-day hospital birth class, and other than that, said we’d ‘go with the flow’ (a phrase I shudder at now, but more on that later).
So, completely underprepared and naïve, but trusting my body and the thousands of women who came before me, we headed into labour. If you’d like to read that birth story, head here, but basically luck had it that everything was fairly fast, straightforward, and low intervention. I too felt like Superwoman, just as my mum had described.
Over the months following my first birth, several friends and family around me had their first babies. None of them had as good an experience as I did. They all involved a lot of interventions, which left them feeling traumatised. From hearing those experiences, childbirth education became my first birth space love.
As a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, increasing a family’s ‘birth literacy’ is one thing I’m incredibly passionate about. A lack of open, honest information throughout pregnancy, birth and early postpartum is leading to a lack of choice. The old saying ‘if you don’t know your options, you don’t have any’ rings VERY true in this period of people’s lives. When a family doesn’t know when an intervention is medically necessary verses when it’s a care provider’s preference, when they don’t know things like the statistics that show interventions like inductions increase the rates of other interventions like assisted vaginal births and caesareans, when they don’t know the actual numbers when it comes to risk, then they’re not fully informed. While my philosophy on birth is that most of the time, it’s a natural event that doesn’t require medical intervention, I am not here to judge your choices about how you choose to birth your baby. In my mind, it doesn’t matter whether your philosophy around birth is a natural one or a medical one, you still have the right to know (and responsibility to seek out) all the pros, cons and trade-offs of each intervention you choose or that become medically necessary.
An American author I admire (and totally fan-girled when I met her) is January Harsh. One of her quotes sums up my feelings around how families prepare for and then experience birth:
“I do not care what kind of birth you have…a homebirth, scheduled caesarean, an epidural hospital birth, or if you birth alone next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices, and that you were respected.”January Harsh
Independent childbirth education (NOT a hospital/department of health sponsored class) can counteract the standard medicalisation of birth that occurs in hospitals around Australia, by educating families about current, evidence-based practices. My course is as much about understanding the medical system and how it operates as it is about actually giving birth. When families understand the pros, cons and trade-offs of all the interventions they may be offered or require, they can better choose the path that’s best for them or feel confident that that path was truly what was necessary.
My second birth-space love is helping families adjust and thrive in the early postpartum period. So many parents are left alone for hours at a time, days on end, while learning a new skill, getting to know their baby, and recovering both physically and emotionally from pregnancy and birth. It’s important to remember at this time that not only has a baby just been born, but also a mothers, fathers, and perhaps siblings. Everyone is learning new roles and new skills, and that’s hard work. Work we weren’t meant to do alone. I love helping to nurture and support families both practically and emotionally in the home during their first 6-8 weeks with their baby.
My third service is brand new. In late August I’ll be completing the Pregnancy Massage Australia NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioners course. From there, once certified, I’ll be offering mobile pregnancy massage services. Through my other studies I already understand how important touch is to human development, for facilitating hormone release and bonding in the postpartum period, and its relaxing and restorative properties. I look forward to bringing this service to the pregnant parents of Melbourne, Geelong and the Macedon Ranges, along with my other two services.
I hope that’s given you a little insight as to what motivates me to be in this space. If you’d like to keep up with my musings, I have Instagram, Facebook, website and an email list. If you sign up to the email list you’ll receive my free guide on how to check your birth philosophy matches that of your care provider.
If you have any further questions with regards to my services, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.
Sending you love and resilience on your journey to parenthood.