Professional Contributions

Interspersed throughout the Birth Journeys book are informative contributions from some of Australia’s leading midwives, academics, doulas, birth educators, organisations and authors. Below is the full list of these articles.

Birth Art – Stephanie Corkhill Hyles

Stephanie is the artist behind the powerful and inspiring images of “25 Ways to Awaken Your Birth Power”. She shares the benefits of exploring your creative side in pregnancy and your birth preparation. She gives practical suggestions for beginning your birth art experience and using this to address your fears and focus on the positive birth you wish for.

Preparing for Birth – Dr Shari Read

Shari is a qualified hypnotherapist and she blends hypnotherapy with meditation in her birth preparation. She outlines what women can do to prepare for a positive birth, however their birth turns out: knowing and trusting your body and understanding the process of labour, addressing your fears, and learning meditation and relaxation.

Birth Trauma – Melissa Bruijn and Debby Gould

Melissa and Debby founded Birthtalk to help women worldwide to make sense of, and heal, their experiences of birth trauma. In Birth Journeys, Melissa and Debby explain the basis of birth trauma, how it impacts on the mother, and offer suggestions for healing from a traumatic experience.

Breastfeeding – Leonie MacDonald

Leonie (Birth Journeys creator and editor) has breastfed almost continuously for 5 years; breastfeeding her first son through her second pregnancy, until he self-weaned at three, and then breastfeeding her second year old son. Over this time, the importance of a community of like-minded mothers, a supportive partner and family, reliable and up-to-date health care professionals and the support of the Australian Breastfeeding Association have been important. Leonie shares her suggestions for preparing for a positive breastfeeding journey.

Children at Birth – Assoc. Prof. Hannah Dahlen

Hannah is an academic, a mother and a midwife. In Birth Journeys, Hannah shares her experiences of children at birth and gives suggestions for preparing your children for seeing the birth of a sibling and welcoming a new baby into your family.

Doulas – Renee Adair

Renee is a doula and the Principal of the Australian Doula College. She explains what a doula is and how they can support you and your partner in preparing for birth, through labour and in the postnatal period. Having a doula at your birth has been shown to increase your chances of having the birth you desire.

Estimated Due Dates – Gabrielle Targett

Gabrielle is a birth educator and the author of A Labour of Love a guide to natural childbirth without pain and A Labour of Love II – Creating the birth you want and desire. Gabrielle explains how the estimated due date is calculated and reminds us that the EDD is an estimate only and reassures that there is a wide and normal variation in when a woman and her baby are ready for birth. She includes some suggestions for coping with pressure and anxiety often experienced after the EDD has passed.

Blessingways and the Rite of Passage – Jane Hardwicke Collings

In Birth Journeys, Jane explains that birth is a rite of passage into motherhood and she introduces the blessingway ceremony as a special occasion to mark this passage in a positive, supportive and meaningful way. Jane is the author of Ten Moons: The Inner Journey Of Pregnancy.

Learning from Birth – Jane Hardwicke Collings

In Birth Journeys, Jane provides her perspective on pregnancy and birth as an opportunity to learn about ourselves. She explains how our experiences are there to teach us the lessons we need to learn, and offers her thoughts on how we can learn and prepare for the birth we desire during pregnancy, and how we can learn and heal from our past births. Jane is a midwife, teacher and author who runs courses and retreats to help women prepare for labour, birth and mothering and for women who care for women during this time, called Pregnancy - The Inner Journey.

Men at Birth – David Vernon

David Vernon is the editor of Men at Birth, With Women: Midwives Experiences and Birth stories: real and inspiring accounts from Australian women. David shares his six steps for men who wish to be good birth partners in Birth Journeys.

Water Birth – Annie Sprague

Annie is an independent midwife, lecturer and the author of Water Labour, Water Birth, a comprehensive guide to the use of water in labour and birth based on research and years of experience. In Birth Journeys, Annie shares the benefits of deep water immersion in labour and birth as a method of pain relief, of deepening the labour and enabling the mother to feel very safe and private.

Lotus Birth – Rachana Shivam

In Birth Journeys, Rachana explains what a lotus birth means and the origins of this practice. She describes the benefits of a lotus birth and explains how to have a lotus birth. Rachana is the Principal of International College of Spiritual Midwifery. Rachana is the author of Lotus Birth.

VBACs - Evaluating Risk – Rachel Reed

Rachel Reed is a mother, a private midwife and a lecturer at University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. She is also the author of a fascinating, thought provoking blog Midwifethinking. In Birth Journeys, Rachel shares her thoughts and the research on the risks of VBAC, real and perceived. She offers suggestions for increasing your chances of a successful VBAC.

Ecstatic Birth – Dr Sarah Buckley

Dr Sarah Buckley is the author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, a GP and a homebirth mother of four. In Sarah’s contribution to Birth Journeys, she describes the hormones involved in labour and birth, and explains how, when labour is undisturbed, our hormones can give us a pain-free and ecstatic birth.