The beauty of birth – my birth story. This post originally appeared on the Nourish Melbourne blog and is written by NM’s Founder and Director, Natasha Mason. We honour Natasha’s birth story 

Before I tell you my story, I want to honour you. I want to honour you for choosing to read my story. Whether you are a mum-to-be, a new mum, a long-time mum, not a mum, don’t want to be a mum, a mum who wants to have a different birth experience next time, a woman trying to conceive, a woman going through IVF, a woman going through miscarriage (now or in the past), a woman going through infant loss or a still birth. I see you. I see all of you. I honour where you are right now, and I hope you will, too.

Before you read on, and as you read on, please honour my story. I believe all birth stories should be shared – the traumatic ones, the beautiful ones and every birth in between.

It is not a story where I harp on about natural birth. While I personally advocate for natural birth, I understand and am grateful that we live in a time where the lives of women and babies are often saved during childbirth with C-sections, and other interventions.

This story is about self-discovery and self-empowerment, which led me to having the exact birth I wanted to experience the second time around. It left me so in awe of myself and what I had achieved that this story had to be shared. My hope is that whatever your view is on birthing, you finish reading this and trust that as a woman, you have every tool within you to experience birth, and all of life’s pursuits, in the most mind-blowing way possible.

What are you thinking?

Have you ever caught yourself in the act of thinking? Thinking thoughts, and actually catching yourself in the act? And you wonder, “Wow, isn’t that interesting that I have arrived at that thought. I wouldn’t have thought like that X months or years ago.”

The path to my second birth was a series of moments exactly like that; a series of thoughts that would arrive, and with the arrival of each thought, I knew I’d just upgraded. I’d upgraded myself, my level of self-love, self-empowerment, and service to self. Each thought we have literally prints itself out in our physical body. Right now, as you read this, your physical body is built upon all of your thoughts from yesterday. It’s no coincidence that the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen, the greatest business people and entrepreneurs, and the greatest leaders of all time have one thing in common: they know they CAN.

They know WHAT they are.

They BELIEVE in their own abilities.

They TRUST in the journey.

They have NO FEAR.

When they fall down, they RISE ONCE MORE.

They do not wait to be ‘saved’ by someone else. They know they are their own SAVIOUR.

I’m not talking about business people and sportspeople here, though. I’m talking about women undertaking one of the most natural, primal and miraculous acts of life on planet Earth – BIRTH.

Conscious conception – the real ‘first’ trimester

Before I continue I’d like to write about conscious conception.

We understand pregnancy to play out over three trimesters. Although it is becoming more common to hear about the ‘fourth trimester’ (the three months post birth), pregnancy actually takes its course over five trimesters (meaning the inclusion of the three months before the point of conception). This time (and, in fact, far before this time), we can be practicing conscious conception.

Conscious conception encompasses the physical, emotional and spiritual preparation towards conception.

Physically, you might undertake a gentle detox to support your gut health and digestion, decrease alcohol consumption and add more ‘fertility’ foods to your diet – essentially foods with lots of good fats like nuts, oily fish and avocado, and those with sufficient protein, aka ‘the building blocks’ (check out Angea Womens Health for Dr Amanda’s ‘Body Baby Ready’ e-book, which includes loads of information on the ideal fertility diet, as well as a range of pre-conception topics to consider).

Emotionally, you might start to read books about conception (again, Dr Amanda’s ‘Body Baby Ready’ e-book is a great example; in fact I’d recommend you read it up to a year from the time you’d like to conceive) and you might start to talk to your friends who’ve been through this journey. You may also be having regular chats about pre-conception health with your partner, and expressing your wishes of a baby joining your family to your closest friends.

Spiritually you might start to envision your life with a baby and what that baby will look like. You might do your meditation practice and visualise the point of conception happening in your womb. You might even undertake energy healing sessions (think Reiki and Kinesiology) in order to work with your subconscious and to clear factors that may be blocking the imminent conception on the conscious level. Essentially, you are making a ‘contract’ with the universe that this is where you’re about to evolve to (i.e. the role of the Mother). And you don’t need to be practicing conscious conception to make a contract with the universe; in fact, you can do this is in any and every part of your life.

And if all of the above is considered as ‘conscious conception’, then what isn’t conscious conception?

In my opinion, it’s the ‘she’ll be right’ mentality, or the idea of ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’.

BUT (and this is a big BUT) of course, there are the ‘surprise’ pregnancies, many of which are healthy ones, with babies also born healthy and well. For example, my Mum was six months pregnant when she found out I was in her womb! My brother and sister who are 18 and 15 years older than me, respectively, tell me about how Mum thought she was simply getting fat and would go on plenty of long walks and do all sorts of funny exercises to help this so called ‘weight gain’.

It is my belief that each and every baby chooses their parents and chooses when and how they want to arrive in their Earth suit and, in due course, Earth side.

BUT (again, another big BUT), if you one day turn around to your partner and say, “I’m ready to have a baby”, then it’s a really great idea to give yourselves time to practice conscious conception. You’ll learn a lot about your body, which is about to go through such an enormous and magical process, and by doing so you’ll prepare yourself for an enjoyable and happy pregnancy, and be even more likely to experience birth in full power.

A step back in time – my first birth experience

Without giving too much airtime to my first birth experience, I feel it is important to honour and heal past experiences that leave some sort of trauma on the body. I didn’t give it much thought until six months into my second pregnancy, but as my kinesiologist discovered, I was carrying trauma from my first birth experience (more on that later). I had, in my mind, wrapped up that experience as, “Well, I had a ‘natural’ [not as natural as I thought] vaginal delivery, with no drugs, so it was fine.” I did, however, have a long labour that ended in a long time pushing – nearly three hours to be exact. I had prepared for birth number one by doing a Hypnobirthing course, and I was ready to do it on my own in a calm environment. I wanted to be on all fours, but nearly three hours into pushing in the delivery suite of a private hospital I quickly became part of their system. I was told to lie on my back. All of a sudden my feet were in stirrups. Bright lights came on and it felt like five extra people were in the room – what on earth for? Unless you have food to give me after I get this baby out, I don’t care…

All of a sudden I was told to hold my breath and then push like a mother f****er. Gosh, it felt so wrong. Did you know that this is a type of coached pushing? There’s even a term for it – directed pushing (as opposed to spontaneous pushing). I’d given my power away. I was so damn tired though, I didn’t care and I just wanted this baby out. Then out came the ventouse (like a little vacuum that goes onto the baby’s head to help suck them out) because, hey, you can’t push your baby out and it’s been far too long and we need this bed for the next birth, so it’s time for us to intervene. The Obstetrician (OB) we’d paid $6,000 to so he could be there was on his 24 hours off, so another OB was there. It didn’t matter to me. The amazing midwife who started her shift seven hours after I had arrived at hospital mattered. She happened to be the midwife who led prenatal/birth classes at the hospital a few weeks before who I’d really liked, and felt she had the ‘natural’ touch.

My daughter arrived at 10.10am after a 17-hour labour. (Care for an anecdote? 10/10 is our wedding anniversary date). She was placed on my chest and all I do is hold her and thank the high heavens that it’s all over. I am jabbed with Syntocinon (a synthetic hormone to bring on the third stage of labour – the delivery of the placenta). Out came the placenta. The cord was cut five minutes later. I was asked if I wanted to look at the placenta. I looked at it and heard the lovely midwife say how healthy it looked. I never saw it again. I felt tugging and pulling down below and my ‘minor tears’ were being stitched up. Pregnancy was over and now I am a Mum. It’s onto Mum duties and the birth was put behind us.

Referring back to the start of my story quickly, I want to say I am, and was at that moment, extremely grateful that a) I was safe and well after the birth, and b) my baby was safe, healthy and well following delivery. I shared my first birth experience so I can better explain how I changed the way it happened the next time. And again, all birth stories need to be shared, not just the incredibly traumatic. As I went to my first mother’s group this seemed to be all it was about. You don’t share your good birth story. You shut up and listen to the bad ones.

Giving birth in a hospital – you can have it your way

The speed at which my birth wishes progressed were so quick that I was already at 20 weeks when I decided that, hey, it would be nice to have this baby at home. It would be nice because I knew I could. But it seems that when you say, “that would be nice…”, it often comes with a price tag attached.

While a home birth would have been ‘nice’, I didn’t know that having a baby in the comfort of your own home came with such a high price tag. From my research, it would have come to about $6,000, which wasn’t something we could afford at that stage of the pregnancy. I even approached one private midwife practice about potentially collaborating to document my home birth and engage in some sort of collaboration with Nourish Melbourne in order to bring down the cost, but it wasn’t an option. But, if you don’t ask, you don’t get! And if you don’t ask, you don’t know.

Which brings me to talking about giving birth in a hospital.

Quite quickly I was propelled back into the fact that I would be having this baby in a hospital. Well, fine. This time, though, it was going to happen on my terms. I was going to ask lots of questions. I fully understood that I was the ‘client’ and I could deliver this baby any way I wanted.

Going to give birth in a hospital, but want to have the most natural, intervention free, vaginal birth?

First of all, if you’re in the public care system you have a much higher chance of birthing a baby on your terms. It’s also important to know that if you ever look at stats about vaginal births, this doesn’t mean they were necessarily ‘intervention-free’ births (I’ll explain more about this shortly). As soon as you bring an Obstetrician in, your chances decrease. You are automatically under their care, and therefore their rules, and you don’t actually have a say in how you want your birth to play out. For example, think back to my first birth experience, where I was given Syntocinon to deliver my placenta. Just days before I gave birth to my first child, I was told by my Obstetrician that Syntocinon would be used and it was a non-negotiable, according to him to avoid blood loss and haemorrhage.

For my second birth I felt really grateful to go through the public system purely because of the care of the midwives at all my check-ups (apart from my final few check-ups where the midwives were so busy and already booked out I had to see a doctor). I very much felt that every woman was encouraged to birth her way.

I have to be honest and say that if I went back in time, I’d choose the public system over private 100 times over. We are very lucky to have exceptional medical care here in Australia. It’s interesting when I think back to telling some friends about dropping our private health cover for obstetrics as I knew we weren’t going to use it when we had our second child. There were all sorts of remarks, about how it was almost “irresponsible”, and “if you have the money then why wouldn’t you?”. And the best one, “what about if something goes wrong?”.

That right there is a loaded statement, so let me just say this. Among my immediate circle of family and friends I have never heard of a birth that ended in an emergency C-section in a public system go any differently to ones in a private hospital. Both received the swift, immediate emergency care they deserved. And you know what? If your baby is born (home or hospital) and needs immediate emergency or intensive care, they will all end up at the same place: The Royal Children’s Hospital (here in Victoria).

There’s a lesson in that last example and there is a saying (which you may have heard of), that you “birth the way you live”. Once you choose where and how you are going to give birth, you need to back yourself 110%. You must feel empowered to openly and confidently discuss your choices, especially with those who will challenge you.

It seems to be a lesson in life: don’t back yourself, don’t trust yourself and don’t believe you deserve a particular experience in any part of your life? Then you won’t get it.

OK, here we go, this is how it all played out second time around…

When I gave birth the second time around, I:

Knew I COULD.

Knew WHAT I was – a Mother with the ability to birth my baby on my own terms.

BELIEVED I could experience the birth I wanted and planned for, no matter where I was.

TRUSTED that my body and baby would work together. We were a team.

Had NO FEAR. Why should I fear the most sacred and natural act known to woman?

ROSE once more. It was time to experience birth at its best, no matter how the story went last time.

After over 12 months of planning, it was time to meet my baby.

And the birth went exactly as I had visualised it, and intended it to.

The evening before I gave birth, I felt extremely fatigued all of a sudden. My husband and I were giving my daughter a bath when I said, “I need to go to bed.” It was 7.30pm. I knew immediately that labour was not far away and I felt a sudden surge of excitement and slight ‘happy anxiety’ flow through my body. It wasn’t enough to keep me awake though, as I fell asleep immediately and didn’t wake until 2am.

I felt my lower back ‘twinging’ and told my husband what I’d been feeling. I said, “this is it, our baby is coming today!” I went to the bathroom and I saw what is called ‘a bloody show’ or the loss of the ‘mucous plug’. It essentially looks like bloody mucous or like the first signs of your period starting. This can be a sign that labour is starting soon, or has started. Be mindful that each and every birth plays out so differently, just as differently as each of our bodies are. I lost this mucous plug four days before my first born arrived.

I knew it was for real when I had regular feelings of my lower back tightening and light lower abdominal pain. These were contractions as they were coming consistently at seven minutes apart. It wasn’t enough to keep me awake, so I lay back down and slept until 5am.

At 5am I woke and remembered what my Doula had told me to do when I knew I was in the early stages of labour – meditate and have something to eat (the simpler the better) to fuel the tank for the task ahead! It was also at this point I sent her a message to let her know it was happening. So, I sat in meditation, had some Weetbix and felt the contractions coming with less time in between and getting slighter stronger. I could still lie down and close my eyes though.

At about 7am, when my husband and daughter woke up, I had a shower and got ready for the day. Just like I would get ready for any day! The contractions were getting stronger at this point and it was time to call the hospital to let them know.

It was time to pull out the Swiss ball. The contractions were getting stronger again and closer again – roughly three minutes apart. ABC Kids was on in the background and I was chatting with my daughter. At about 9am, those contractions required a lot more of my attention. My husband took my daughter to our neighbour’s house as I now needed his support and to focus my attention inward.

I want to mention here that while I was in active labour, my waters had not yet broken. For those who haven’t experienced birth before or a natural birth/the beginning of a natural birth, it is not very often that the waters will break (the rupturing of the amniotic sac, which the baby has been held by during pregnancy) before labour begins (like we often see in the movies). It wasn’t of concern or worry to me – I knew that my waters may not break until the moment my baby entered the world. The knowledge I had acquired during my pregnancy prepared me for this.

The contractions were now getting stronger and closer together. My husband was timing the contractions and they seemed to stay the same for nearly an hour. He then said, “Let’s go for a walk.”

It was a sunny spring day, a top of 23 degrees. We walked around the block and I stopped every few minutes and needed his support as I worked through each contraction. I knew that each contraction was moving me closer to meeting my baby. We passed a few people on our walk. I wasn’t embarrassed to be seen by strangers. If anything, it empowered me more!

We returned home after 15 minutes and that walk had got things moving to the next level. Being active during labour definitely helps it to progress. Stronger, closer contractions were happening and I knew we were getting close to the business end at about 12pm. We phoned the hospital, spoke to the midwives and said we’d be coming in soon. My bags were already in the car. My husband called my Doula and asked her to meet us at the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at about 12.40pm. I walked in and we went to catch the lift to the first level. I was getting agitated when the lift doors didn’t open immediately. I gave a quick little half smile to the kitchen staff member who was in the lift with her big trolley full of food that needed to exit. I wanted to get back into my ‘zone’ ASAP. This is the point where moving between home and hospital can stall the labour process because of external distractions, but luckily with such a short drive to the hospital and those lift doors opening not too long after, I returned to the job at hand.

The midwife I had spoken to on the phone saw us in the corridor walking towards the birth suite. She said, “I’m Jackie, we spoke on the phone.” She had such a beautiful manner and I was so comforted she would be our midwife. Jackie walked us to our room.

I asked for a yoga mat for the floor, and the bed to be lowered. On my knees I went, leaning and resting my head on the lowered hospital bed, working through each contraction. The stronger the contraction, the stronger my voice. These sounds that labouring women make are referred to as ‘the song of labour’.

Tash Mason Birth Story

My Doula, Leah, arrived soon after. At this point I decided to move off the floor and go and sit on the toilet (this is a great place to labour as the sitting position naturally opens up the pelvic area and also takes a load off for mama!). My contractions grew stronger, and I knew my baby was close to arriving.

Once I’d had enough of the toilet I knew the time was close, so I made my way back to the mat on the floor. Leah had brought hot face towels that had been infused with the appropriate essential oils (these towels stayed hot inside a slow cooker. Yes, Leah walked into the birth suite with a slow cooker!), which were placed on my lower back and my lower abdomen. While my husband held the space for me on one side, I had Leah carefully placing these towels on my body and cups of water in front of me, with a straw for my mouth. A birthing woman is to be treated like a child. Do not ask, just do (and if she doesn’t like it, you’ll know about it).

 

At this point I’d like to make a special mention of the role of a Doula, as I’m sure many of you are wondering what their role is. A Doula is there to hold you (metaphorically) during the sacred act of childbirth. She is there to love you and honour you as a woman entering, or about to re-enter, the role of mother. A Doula herself is (usually) a mother herself, and while I had the love and support of my husband during the labour and birth, knowing that Leah would be present to offer support (physically, emotionally and spiritually), as a woman, and as a mother, was of comfort to me. A Doula though is not there to ‘save’ you. She trusts you, and knows that you can deliver your baby the way you have intended to.

It was now about one hour and 20 minutes since we had arrived at hospital. The time had arrived. Midwife Jackie and midwife no.2 as I call her (Jackie’s assisting midwife) were behind me, with a torch light and ready to catch. The urge to push and bear down came swiftly. I had one turn. My waters still had not broken, and I was told afterwards that midwife no.2 had asked Jackie if she was going to break my waters before my baby was born. She said no, as she knew I didn’t want any intervention and that it doesn’t affect the birth of the baby.

 

Tash Mason Delivery

 

And then with the second push my little guy’s head popped out (with my waters breaking upon his exit) and immediately made it known to me, and all of us in the room, with a huge cry! He wasn’t even fully Earth side and he had plenty to tell us! Hearing his voice made me smile/laugh/cry all at the same time. I couldn’t believe I’d just done what took me three hours during my first birth, and this time, it was all.on.my.own.

I then waited until the next contraction came to deliver the rest of my baby boy into the world. Jackie caught him and then she handed him to me between my legs. I held him close with the most utter shock (again, because this birth went exactly the way I wanted it to, and in such a different way to my first). It was 2.07pm. I held his head close to mine and whispered a special Vedic mantra (which was given to me by my meditation teacher Laura Poole late in my pregnancy) three times into his right ear. This mantra is said to tell the baby that he/she has arrived to a conscious/Vedic family, to tell him/her that they are eternally loved, and to not forget what they are as they start their journey on planet Earth (that is, an expression of the divine).

Welcome to the world Basil Edward. Basil was my late father’s name, and Edward (aka Ted) is the middle name of my father-in-law.

 

Tash Mason Birth Story

 

Cue a truck-load of happy hormones and I was in pure bliss. A place of strength, a place of knowing, a place that made me super-freaking proud of what I just achieved. All the while we waited for my placenta to arrive all on its own (I asked for no synthetic Syntocinon this time). About 20 minutes later, and while I had Basil ‘on the boob’ (this stimulates and encourages natural placenta delivery), I birthed my placenta and I kept it attached to the little guy for about three to four hours post birth. This is the beginning of a ‘lotus birth’, where the placenta stays attached to the baby via the umbilical cord. A full lotus birth means the baby stay attached to the placenta until the cord detaches on its own (this can be anywhere from two to five days).

 

I also requested to take my placenta home. Once it was detached it was placed in a bucket for me to take home, along with a set of notes from the hospital (with things like make sure to keep it cool/refrigerated – but away from food – and use gloves when you handle the placenta because of the naturally occurring high nitrate levels in the placenta). I was so happy they allowed this ritual. If I hadn’t asked during my pregnancy, I would have simply assumed it was a “no”.

Midwife Jackie performed all of the newborn tests while Basil lay on my chest and suckled away. Later in the afternoon, once Basil had been detached from the placenta and had had a little clean up and was placed in the hospital bassinet, I showered and felt the full swing of endorphins and adrenaline pumping through my body. It’s a surreal feeling.

Soon after my husband brought my beautiful young lady in to the hospital to meet her new little brother. She was besotted.

Harper meets Basil

At roughly 9pm the same evening, we were discharged from hospital as a family of four. We walked out, down the steps (I could hardly walk after my first birth and here I was walking down the steps!) to our car and took the short drive back home. We placed Basil in his bassinet, which was ready and waiting.

I was now a mother of two: excited, nervous, still shocked, but mostly excited.

 

 

(P.S. A note on the placenta and where it ended up. Three days after Basil’s birth, my husband dug a hole next to a tree in our garden. I removed the placenta from the bucket, took time to look at it closely and express my gratitude for the nourishment it provided Basil during our pregnancy journey. I returned the placenta back to Mother Earth and thanked her for her wisdom and care of both of us, while promising to always stay connected with her.)Following my second experience, I’d like to give you the ‘I am going to give birth in a hospital my way’ checklist:

 

 

Ask questions and PLENTY of them. Anything and everything goes. Don’t be afraid. Empower yourself with knowledge so you experience the birth you want. This goes for asking everyone – from hospital staff to your friends or your neighbour. Find out what you need to know.

  • Did you know? You can decline any tests such as the common Gestational Diabetes test and the Group B Strep test if you feel you don’t need them. Please, always use your intuition. I’m not telling you to do anything – make every decision YOUR decision.
  • Enlist the services of a Doula and/or private midwife. I have added the details of my Doula below. From good word I have heard that Mama Melbourne has wonderful private midwife services.
  • Write a birth plan. This is really important. Ensure that you share this with your hospital midwife, private midwife and/or Doula, and your partner. Write it early and give yourself time to read it over and edit it (you may find you change your mind about the way you want things to be). I gave my birth plan to the hospital midwife weeks before my due date so it was in my patient folder. And when I arrived at hospital to give birth I ensured the midwife on duty read this document. A birth plan should be no longer than one page.
  • Be prepared for anything. While my birth went exactly like I had planned it to, I know many don’t and I am respectful of this. I also expressed my respect for this in my birth plan, stating that if at any time my wishes couldn’t be fulfilled that my midwife on duty should discuss this with myself and my Doula and partner.

 

Your birth matters

In closing I really want you to know that your birth matters. All births matter.

If you experience birth and don’t come out the other end fist pumping thinking of the experience you just had, and if you don’t feel like the most empowered woman on Earth, then you simply didn’t have the birth you were entitled to.

And you may or may not be conscious of whether you had an empowering birth or not. For me, I thought my first birth was fine. And it really was. Baby and I were safe, first and foremost. I had a vaginal birth as I had wanted. I practiced my Hypnobirthing techniques. Although as I shared earlier, it was not until my second pregnancy and working with my Doula that I realised that I was actually quite unhappy about how it all played out. It was not until we started talking about the way I wanted my second birth to happen that I realised I was carrying ‘birth trauma’ in my body, and in my subconscious. So given this I sought to do all I could to ensure my second birth was one of fist-pumping proportions.

Also, each and every single birth story should be shared, whether like this story (and you keep it to yourself), like this story and you just give it to your closest friends to read, or like this story and you broadcast it far and wide as I have just done.

I truly feel privileged and grateful to have had the experiences I’ve shared with you. I know that by sharing my story I would have opened up a whole host of avenues for many of you to explore when it comes to the trust you place in yourself, and in the sacred act of birth.

You deserve a mind-blowing birth, and a mind-blowing life.

RESOURCES – aka things I recommend you do and use for a conscious conception, pregnancy, birth and beyond

Learn to meditate

Two words: Game. Changer.

Meditation is crucial. It really is. And not just for the five trimesters, but every single day. It is the only practice that takes your body to a parasympathetic state (rest and digest) rather than the sympathetic state, which we are often in (fight or flight). It is the only practice that gives true, deep rest and restoration to your body. And I can speak to this practice in the post-partum period I’m in now, in that I feel so much more grounded, aligned and ‘not fuzzy’ compared to the first time, when I wasn’t meditating daily.

The two teachers I recommend are Laura Poole, who is a Vedic meditation teacher, as well as Daniel Tucker Meditation. Sitting through one of their courses is the best way to solidify your practice and have someone to reach out to when your enthusiasm wanes or when you need additional support from each of their meditation communities. NM Members can use their membership with both Laura and Daniel. 

Kinesiology with Polly at Earth Star Kinesiology

 I highly recommend a session or two with Polly at Earth Star Kinesiology in your ‘first trimester’ (the three months before you plan to conceive). Polly has a keen interest in fertility, pre-conception care, pregnancy and beyond. Polly will ensure you’re aligned physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually before you welcome a baby to your womb. Many women see Polly if they have been struggling to fall pregnant too, as all too often all of the above can be out of alignment, even though you could be ‘doing all the right things’. If you’re an NM Member you can use your membership when you see Polly.

Hypnobirthing courses

Contact Jess Lowe at Path to Birth. Jess is also part of the Nourish Melbourne community, so if you’re an NM Member, you save 20% off the Hypnobirthing course fee.

If you’re on Instagram, check out these pages. I found them incredibly empowering and, yes, sometimes shocking because I wasn’t used to seeing such raw beauty shared in such an eye-opening way:

@empoweredbirthproject

@badassmotherbirther

What else did I do?

In addition to the above it was my personal preference to have acupuncture and osteopathy sessions throughout my pregnancy (and acupuncture in the pre-conception period is highly recommended, too). Instead of osteopathy, a holistically minded chiropractor is also great.

For acupuncture, see Dr Amanda Waaldyk and her team at Angea Acupuncture, and for osteopathy Dr Lena Stocks-Ramsay at Thrive Osteopathy. NM Members can use their membership at both Angea Acupuncture and Thrive Osteopathy.

Thank you to my Doula, Leah Patara. Leah walked the path with me, the path I wanted to be on. Leah is a mother of three, and it is her mission to ensure all women know their birthrights and that they fully embrace their power and capabilities as a woman. Leah also advocates for conscious conception, and you can also speak with her about what this involves and how to go about it. If you’re pregnant or planning to fall pregnant soon and know you want a Doula to be a part of your journey, I highly recommend Leah. You can contact her via her Instagram page @leahpatarabirthdoula

Finally, if you have any questions you would like to ask me directly I would love to talk to you. I’m even happy to share my personal birth plan document with you. Please contact me at natasha@nourishmelbourne.com.au