My original interest in birth was ignited during my Arts/Anthropology Degree through Deakin & Murdoch Universities, when I chose to focus on Australian Indigenous subjects, and began to develop awareness about the inequity & inequality of Indigenous women, people, families, communiGes focussing on birthing rights. I was further inspired by Ningali Lawford-Wolf, a Wangkatjunka woman from Christmas Creek Station in far-north Kimberley, whose solo powerful live performance, ‘Ningali’, heightened my awareness and learning of this ongoing disparity for Indigenous Australians. To this present day, what stands out to me, in Ningali’s story is of how her mother was unable to access her family’s land & birthing tree to birth her children as her generations had done before, for tens of thousands of years.
I was to become pregnant with our first child not long after. Under complex circumstances of birthing within ‘the medical system’, I randomly found myself supported by an unknown midwife at 42 weeks pregnant. This deeply experienced midwife supported & empowered me with such fierceness, honesty, skill & trust in birth & my capacities as a first-time birthing woman, that at 2am that morning after birthing my first child at 9pm, I walked out of the hospital, baby in arms and headed home to my own bed. To this day I am indebted to her for further igniting this birthing fire and creating a template for myself as a Mother. This was the year of 2000, in Western Australia, it also happened to be the final year of midwifery learning occurring in hospitals.
We returned to Victoria in 2001 and as our family grew I began to engage with volunteering for Maternity Coalition, supporting and organising antenatal education & classes, our family expanded and I also began to engage in circles & learnings of Homebirth & Doula work with both The International College of Spiritual Midwifery and with Birthing Wisdom.
From 2006 – 2019, I operated a solo Doula business on Waddawurrung country in Geelong and surrounds, whilst home educating our children, running a small organic herbal tea company and in 2016 took up direct entry Midwifery studies through ACU. As a pregnant/birthing woman and Doula, relationships were woven with local homebirth midwives, who took me under their wings in learning the richness and diversity of birth.
I began listening and paying more detailed attention to the stories and weavings of these rich red threads of a midwifery community on Waddawurrung country and began to observe the connections and influences these midwives had and have upon each other. Not in a linear pathway, but in a woven matrix, involving, relationships, connections, community building, empathy, compassion, listening to the birthing body & listening to the birth giver, truth, mentorship, families, shared and learnt midwifery skills & wisdom, midwifery intuition & embodied knowledge, the act of being in sacred service to birth and families
During the last five years I have begun collecting and recording the oral histories & wisdoms of these midwives who have come before me, with a focus upon their intuition and embodied knowledge in midwifery decision making. I feel deeply in my cells, that it is of vital importance that we do not loose these stories and more importantly we continue to learn from & share these skills in our own complex midwifery repertoire.