Aileen's Story

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Picture of Aileen and her family smiling

Aileen’s story

There are so many My Birth stories I want to share with you.  Including what I have learned through my own parenting journey and unique approach to supporting you in your own birthing, pregnancy and parenting experience. Instead of writing a traditional blog post, a friend offered to interview me so I can tell my story in a Q&A format. 

Here’s something of my birth story. I was actually tokophobic, so I had a morbid a fear of childbirth! I didn’t realise it was a phobia at the time, but after getting  married in my twenties, people started asking me when I was going to have a baby.  This question made me feel very panicky and I never wanted to discuss it. As I got older, the idea of giving birth made me want to run away. It was actually my boss at the time who said to me your fear of childbirth seems to define you. Whenever it comes up in conversation, you look absolutely terrified!” I had the growing realisation that I saw childbirth very differently to other people and I saw it as endless suffering. I quietly asked myself “why would anyone put themselves through something like that?” I didn’t know childbirth doesn’t have to be like that at all.

Looking back, I think I combined various movies scenes of women screaming in labour, and merged them with some of the stories I’d heard from other family members about long labour and births. Back then, I didn’t know contractions ebb and flow. I didn’t know that hormones help birth progress. I didn’t know it’s possible to have a gentle, wonderful birth. I didn’t know what I know now.

I went to see my doctor when I was 31 and asked about the possibility of having an elective caesarean if I ever got pregnant. In my head, a caesarean didn’t sound anything like as bad as the screaming agony of childbirth I’d imagined. The doctor was very caring and kind and said, “has no-one ever told you that you’re actually designed to birth well and there are loads and loads of things to help you to do that?” I remember feeling really taken aback and surprised. I didn’t know about all the techniques and the books and the people who could help you give birth. After that appointment, I went on a long journey of discovery and read many pregnancy and birth books. I learned just how amazing the human body is. I learned about how hormones and positioning and physiology can help you give birth gently. It was absolutely life-changing.

I know people still have horror story births and bad experiences. But I now know that there are lots of things people can do to have the best possible experience on the day, even when something unexpected happens. I know that although birth can’t be controlled and isn’t  predictable, there are things expectant mums and pregnant people can do to help childbirth become an empowering and nurturing experience.

I was in hospital with my daughter for six days before her birth. I did not want to be there and that time in hospital was very difficult for me. Due to a number of complications, my husband and I felt it was safer for her to be born by caesarean. Thankfully, she was born at 37 weeks by caesarean very joyfully. After all the challenges and fear, it was a really wonderful, exciting experience.

I love to help people learn by discovering things for themselves and using creativity.  I found the transition into motherhood both wonderful and world shattering. I had a real identity crisis, so helping parents navigate the transition into that new world is really important to me. A big part of what I offer is giving people the space to be heard, to listen without fixing as that is what I needed at the time. I have a teaching background, but my approach isn’t about transferring head knowledge, it’s about helping people learn for themselves in a safe space. Often, people already know what to do, they just need the space, tools and confidence to work it out in their own time.

I will provide you with the space and guidance to learn practical strategies that will help you grow in confidence, resilience and flexibility.   Each time you have a big transition in life, the tools we learnt together for birth can be used to help you in a new context.  I look forward to seeing the transformation in you as you integrate what you discover into your everyday life.,

Birthing from Within is a holistic approach to birth preparation that sees birth as a heroic journey and a rite of passage.  Created by Pam England, a midwife in the US, inspired by her own very challenging childbirth experience. It’s very creative in its approach and uses a mixture of teaching and learning styles using all the senses, including birth art, visualisations, hypnotherapy, role play, games as well as excellent physiology teaching.

My Birth is inspired from the Birthing from Within approach and uses this as the foundation of all I offer. I support people to really ‘own’ their birth and show parents to-be, whoever they are, that they are the central characters in their birthing journey. My Birth empowers birthing parents to become resilient and flexible so they can cope with whatever birth – and parenting – throws at them.

Having overcome tokophobia which was such a big fear in my life, I love helping others overcome fears in their own life. There’s real joy in seeing people becoming free of fear. I can’t stop you from having bad experiences, but I want you to know you don’t have to be crippled by it or suffer alone. I can help you overcome previous traumatic experiences (whether you wish to have more children or not) and help you prepare if you are embarking on a new and wonderful birthing journey.

Aileen’s qualifications and experience include:

  • BA QTS Qualified teacher (27 years)
  • Experience – Supporting families and pregnant people on their birth journey (12 years)
  • Birth Art Cafe Mentor (12 years)
  • Certified Advanced Birthing from Within mentor (11 years)
  • Trained in infant and pregnancy loss support through Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss Course at The Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath and Death – (7 years).
  • OCN Level 2 Certificate Perinatal Mental Health Peer Supporter (2 years)
  • EFT Certified Practitioner level two (2 years)
  • Highfield Level 2 Award in Introduction to First Aid for Mental Health (2 years)

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