Healing Hearts After Broken Births
My second birth was fast approaching, along with an unhealthy dose of fear and resignation to ‘failure’. I had to birth at the hospital again because of a medical condition. After a damaging first experience there, I felt powerless. I knew I had to get on top of this anxiety, as it would only shut down my body from what it needed to do. Talking with Carla gave my husband and I permission to be honest. She went through our previous notes and helped us understand what had happened and where things had started to turn. I thought I was just going to talk through fears, but Carla actually helped us make a practical plan too because she knows what she’s talking about! More importantly, she reminded us that this was in our hands, and the decisions were still ours. She helped restore my trust in my body. By the time my labour began, I was in a peaceful state of mind, knowing that whatever happened, it would be owned by us. My husband and I were totally in it together and both had a role to play. I’m delighted to say we had a positive, empowering, natural, HOSPITAL birth experience! It has been very healing. Thank you Carla for going above and beyond and walking this out with us.
Hannah with her two little ones
I had been holding on to a lot of grief and guilt from my birth experience for 3 years before I spoke to Carla about everything and shared my story. I had fallen pregnant again and really needed to deal with some issues before the birth. She has helped me to see aspects of my birth in a different light and allowed me to remove a lot of my guilt, and also guided me through things I need to address for the upcoming birth and how to do so, making me feel empowered and able to focus on this pregnancy. You can tell Carla is so genuinely wanting to help women in this situation, and she is so knowledgeable too.
The birth of my first child may not have been the most dramatic or, by any stretch of the imagination, the most horrible, but for me it left me broken (both figuratively and literally). Nothing that happened was in the ‘plan’ that ante-natal classes had impressed was the ‘right’ way, it was a cascade of decisions and procedures, that had flow on effects I didn’t ever contemplate. I had built up expectations of what a ‘good’ birth was supposed to be and struggled when that was not the reality, especially when comparing my story to other new mothers around me. Knowing I wanted to definitely have another baby I found myself leaning on two of the most caring, compassionate, time-sharing women I have come across in my journey as a mother. Jenni and Carla listened, reassured me and let me work my way through dealing with my birth. Perhaps more importantly than that, they helped me understand that I really needed to take responsibility for myself and my body, which meant that I needed to understand that birth was not something that needed to happen to me… Birth was something I needed to own… So in short, I needed to empower myself.I went on to have the best birth I could have hoped to have for my second child. I feel completely healed. Sometimes your inner-self just needs a little bit of kind understanding and confidence building and that is what Jenni and Carla gave me. I would absolutely recommend these two awesome ladies to anyone who has had any birthing experience that has left them questioning themselves, it is well worth the conversation.
I came across Carla and Voice for Parents 36 weeks into my second pregnancy. After what had been an emotionally traumatic first labour I had lost trust in myself and ‘the system’ to support me in delivering my second baby normally and naturally, the way I really wanted to. As this birth became more imminent, I found myself revisiting the deep sadness around how I was mistreated, how my wishes for myself and my baby were disregarded without explanation, and how misinformed, vulnerable and physically rushed my baby and I had been on this, our first labour journey. I had a healthy baby, right?! I did, and that was the most important thing, but it wasn’t all that mattered. I was deeply affected by the ways in which our birth had played out. After reading more on Carla and what Voice for Parents could offer us I couldn’t believe, after almost 4 years, I had stumbled across someone that finally seemed to “get it” - every word I read was exactly what I had been needing to hear and assured me more and more that there were others out there who felt like me, women who were just trying to ‘get over it’, with no outlet to be heard or have their feelings validated.Just 4 weeks from our due date, I had resigned myself to the fact that we were on the obstetrician bandwagon and that it was really too late to get off - any work with Carla was going to be more about helping me to resolve some of the fears I had going into my second, obstetrician lead, hospital birth. I thought I’d be doing well to get through this birth and maybe give it all a better go next time. How wrong was I. We quickly bonded with Carla - after years of being misunderstood, unheard and made to feel ‘selfish’ for mourning the natural, normal birth journey I so wanted for myself and my baby, someone was truly hearing how I felt - disregarded, isolated and like I was ‘just another number’. With Carla’s guidance through the Planning for a Better Birth series I was able to make it back to my true self and my fundamental trust of birth that had been taken from me. Carla helped my partner and I to understand our previous birth notes, work through the how and whys of our previous experiences and to better understand what our options were going forward. The sessions were in equal parts discussing and healing from our previous birth as they were helping us to prepare practically and emotionally for how our birth could and should look this time around - we didn’t have to settle for second best.We felt empowered and ready to regain control of our birthing experience. As I write this (now six days overdue!) we are looking forward to the arrival of our baby alongside Carla in her role as a doula and our (new!) midwife who is supportive of our birthing philosophies. I am thankful daily that we met Carla and were guided with genuine care, friendship and support to trust ourselves and the beauty of our upcoming birth. However things play out this time we now have the belief and power to take control of our experience and the right people surrounding us to support this.I could not recommend Voice for Parents more and am in admiration of the work they do and genuinely excited about the prospect of many more women like me having the opportunity to heal from their own experiences.
Carla is amazing! She listened to, and heard, not just what I said, but everything I didn’t say. She asked questions I never knew to ask. She empowered me to believe in myself, to listen to my instinct and trust that I can make the decisions that are right for me. Carla has the knowledge and experience that make her credible when she says, “You have a choice.” She had such a huge influence on my successful HBA2C. Thank you Carla.
Dear Jenni, I am so grateful to you for extending your advice, wisdom and kind words on what has been (and still is) an amazing learning curve. I have loved every Tuesday morning and have learnt so much about positive parenting - a skill that I will strive to continue as the years go on. Thank you for contributing to a fantastic first year of motherhood.
Meeting Carla and Jenni was the moment my VBAC became possible.Carla gave so much of her time to me and my husband, her passion was so heart-warming and contagious. She worked with us figuring out our first experience and giving us the confidence to try for a better experience where we had some control.Without her counselling I would have been instantly taken over by medical teams trying to ‘fix’ the pregnancy resulting in another cascade of intervention (end result, a cesarean). I would not have had the confidence to try for my wonderful, empowering birth. This positive journey affects me every day, with my confidence, parenting, relationship with my children and husband and my inner peace. I am so grateful to Carla and Jenni and am so glad that others are able to get the help we got.