Me pictured here with fellow Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners Kathryn Bell and Kerry-Louise Sutcliffe at a powerful event in Sydney , raising awareness for human rights in childbirth.
My experience as a mother, doula and childbirth educator over the last ten years has revealed to me that there is still a tremendous amount of fear and disempowerment that surrounds pregnancy and childbirth. Women are persistently flooded with images of difficult and painful birth scenarios via the media, where birthing mothers are often portrayed as “out of control”, helpless and in need of drugs and doctors to save them from a terrifying ordeal! Family and friends input to new mothers is often worse, where mother’s are subject to hearing Aunty Jean’s traumatic experiences of birth and often a strong message to just “take the drugs and do what the doctors say.”
As a mother who had the complete opposite experience in my own births, in fact loved giving birth! I have made it my mission to unravel this perception and through the empowering holistic birth work I do, change the understanding and vibration childbirth from uncertainty and fear to that of empowerment and love and to ignite a remembrance that as women we are strong and powerful.
I view birth as a divine rite of female passage, where maiden becomes mother and where indelible change for the woman and the family occurs on many levels. Knowing this, I believe our society needs to assist women and their birth partners to feel wholly supported, informed and confident as they prepare for not only the birth of their baby, but also the birth of themselves as mothers and as new families.
So where have we gone wrong in birth?
How can we transform the view of childbirth and instill confidence in mothers so that birth can evolve as not something to be feared but something to be claimed and celebrated?
At the most basic level for a mother to have the best opportunity to birth comfortably and without intervention, she needs to feel private, safe and undisturbed and the driving force for her desired birthing outcome. Current birthing practices are far from engendering these feelings in birthing women and the over medicalization of birth is seeing an increase in birth trauma and interventions on a huge scale. In the process, the wisdom that birth is a normal natural physiological process is in danger of being lost.
Well, this is where I come in ...
I have recently opened The Central Coast Holistic Birth and Wellbeing Studio in Copacabana. From this dedicated space I offer a range of services to women and families that support them to feel all at once informed, acknowledged, nourished, celebrated, confident and excited to birth their babies. I also teach regular classes on Sydney's Northern beaches.
I know that for mothers to reclaim their power in birth it begins with quality independent childbirth education, and this is not just an understanding of the physiology of labour, but education on how to navigate their choices and decisions in pregnancy and especially at the time of their labour .I also covey to parents how important it is to find a primary care provider and greater birth tribe who are in alignment with their goals and vision for birth, and affirm to parents the understanding that they are at the centre of their birth experience.
My key modality is the Hynobirthing AustraliaTM program. When a mother and her birth companion are able to approach their birth without fear and with knowledge, good support, and tools for the birth – then their birthing can be a positive and life affirming experience.
The combination of self-hypnosis, relaxation, affirmation, visualisation, active birth and breathing techniques as fundamental to the holistic experience of Hypnobirthing AustraliaTM are able to transmute conditioned fears and prepares the mother with confidence to birth in a calm and sovereign way. This is regardless of whether she has chosen to birth in a hospital, at home, in a birthing centre or even if she is having an elective or emergency caesarean. Expectant mums learn to trust in the normal physiological process of birth, in themselves, their bodies and their babies.
Birth companions learn how important it is to create and nurture sacred space for their partners so that they can birth feeling safe and supported. They are empowered to play an integral role in helping their partner to relax at the time of her labour, offering physical touch, positive reinforcement, asking questions of medical caregivers and advocating for their partner. Hypnobirthing Australia parents are also educated to be able to adapt and use critical thinking techniques to make informed choices no matter whatever turn their birthing journey takes.
I believe it is every woman’s birthright to be able to birth in the environment and in the manner she chooses and that babies deserve to be born in a space of love this is why I am so passionate about imploring parents to seek out independent childbirth education like this program.
The paradigm of fear and disempowerment in birth will only begin to change when women and families inform and educate themselves properly so that they can feel confident to direct the course of their own births, I am priviledged to be a part of this shift.
Elena Tonetti Vladimirova, leading Conscious birth expert has a poignant message that sums it up well…
“When the consciousness of birth shifts from anxiety and fear to love and safety, then we will truly have a chance to reach our greatest potential. We can regain our authentic power, clear the pain of our ancestors from our system, and set the stage for our children to step into their lives as peaceful, empowered guardians of Earth.”
Katie Kempster is a Holistic birthing expert, Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner, Doula and Energetic healer, co-founder of The Holistic Birth and Parenting collective and Director of the Central Coast Holistic Birth and Wellbeing Studio.