I would wholeheartedly recommend Birthzang’s Active Birth Workshop to EVERYONE who is expecting!

Why wouldn’t you do it? It’s a hugely informative, helpful, practical workshop, and an enjoyable day to boot.

Eleanor is exceptionally knowledgeable and passionate, which makes her a very engaging teacher. So although it sounds like it could be a long day, it doesn’t feel too much at the time because it is all so interesting.

I did the course when I was 38 weeks pregnant so getting to the “pretty big and uncomfortable” stage – but I coped absolutely fine because the structure of the day was organised and manageable, and the room is extremely comfortable with a variety of seats/balls/beanbags/rugs to make yourself at home on.

My husband and I both came to the workshop from quite different places of preparation. I personally had done a huge amount of research on labour, the stages of labour, what to expect, etc; he was very supportive but hadn’t really done that much learning! But the workshop was fabulous for both of us in spite of our different starting points.

We both learned a huge amount and the result is we came out of it feeling completely on the same page, and both feeling far more prepared for what is to come.

From my perspective, even though I felt I already knew a fair amount, I learned far more about the key elements of each stage of labour, and most importantly how our choices as a couple can impact those elements: choices about the environment we create, the positions I adopt, the way I use my breathing, and all sorts of other practical things to do at the time.

I feel far more practically prepared for what is to come than I did from just the textbook reading I had done before. This has given me far more confidence in having the natural labour and birth that we are both hoping for.

From my husband’s perspective he feels more prepared for what to actually expect, which means he feels far less nervous about what it is to come.

He also has a much better understanding of what it means to us as a couple for him to be my “birth partner”. Before the workshop he didn’t really understand what would be expected of him (and I didn’t really know either). But the workshop encouraged us to think about this together, and gave us all sorts of helpful and practical roles the birth partner can fill. Now we both know what will work for us, and he understands how important his role is – and feels much less nervous as a result, and therefore more able to support me.

At the time I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to remember everything about which positions are good, but the handouts have alleviated that issue as the drawings are great! I’ve been going through them, and they are packed in my birth bag just in case I need a prompt 🙂

I personally think all women should do everything they can to be informed about their choices during pregnancy and labour, particularly because there are many more choices than we often think!

And the information provided by the Active Birth Workshop is seriously advantageous – everything you could possibly need to know about the stages of labour, all the different elements of those stages, what external influences can impact how those elements perform, the choices you have about what positions to adopt, the reasons for exploring different positions, breathing, environment, birth partner role … the list goes on and on.

All packed into one excellent day. It’s a truly enlightening workshop and we hope many more women and couples go on to benefit from it.

Thank you Eleanor!

Georgina’s Birth Story (Dec 2016)

Our birth story was the most amazing experience and wonderful birth. It was pretty short from start to finish (4.5 hours from very first light twinge to Olive’s appearance) and we were at home for most of it – only getting to Wallingford Birthing Centre 35 minutes before she came. There are 3 things that jump out to me every time I think back over the birth, all of which felt natural at the time but also were directly from your workshop.

(1) DIM LIGHT! From the very first twitches it felt natural to me to have the lights very low, and that helped so soooo much. We had the lights off at home and the fire on in the sitting room where I had plenty of space to be on the floor in a nice dark, warm environment.

The only time there was bright light during the whole labour was when I very first arrived at Wallingford and went into the room and the lights were on … I got down on all fours and was very specific to the poor midwife and Ed to TURN THE LIGHTS OFF NOWNOWNOW! As soon as they did it just made such a huge difference to how I was feeling.

(2) ON ALL FOURS! Because the whole thing happened so quickly the contractions ramped up pretty quickly, I didn’t have much respite between them even early on. The most natural thing felt to me to be on all fours on the floor. We made a nice little nest for me on the floor in our sitting room with a cushion for arms and I just had my head kind of buried in my forearms if that makes sense. We had the gym ball close by ready to use too but mostly just being down on my forearms felt best, and I did the same when I got to Wallingford too.

They have a bed thing that isn’t really a bed in that it isn’t a lie-flat thing, it’s more upright with handles and stuff. I just got straight on it and got into my all-fours position and just used one of their pillows for my forearms and to bury my head in, like I’d used the cushion at home. I would’ve been in exactly the same position on the floor and it would have felt the same to be honest – it didn’t matter that it was on a bed, it’s just that’s where there was the most room!

And I stayed like that the whole time, and that’s the position I was in when she was born, so I could reach forward under my legs as she came out and bring her up to me.

(3) MAKING NOISE!!! Do you remember we did the noise bit at the workshop and I said that was the bit I had been sort of obsessing about?! It’s a good thing we did it! From early on my whole thing to get through the contractions was deep breaths in and deep low noises breathing out. I did that the whole way through and didn’t end up having any sort of pain relief or intervention.

It’s a good thing I’d abandoned my inhibitions about making noise at our workshop. I was aware I was making noises and knew they were very animalistic, but knew it felt right and natural, and knew it was best to keep them focussed and low and part of the breathing.

The whole thing was truly amazing and I still relive it in my head almost every day.

I feel really lucky to have had such an amazing experience, but also know that it isn’t all luck and a large part is down to the preparation Ed and I did, and what we learned at your workshop just helped so much and gave me the confidence to know the things that felt natural to me were indeed the things I should be doing, and it was right to listen to my body and not worry about it being “different from what we see on TV”.

As I type this email my daughter is on my chest in a sling, and just next to us on my pinboard by my desk is the green card affirmation we wrote at the workshop saying “My baby sails out of my body”. And she did!

Thank you for everything!

Georgina & Ed, November 2016