Not “your mamma”

So the interesting thing about language is we often fall into the vernacular of our communities, intending to be understood, to show we belong and communicate in a way our community understands.

This is why I totally understand how doulas use some phrases without thinking.

Because if we take the time to think about it, some of the language that has developed among doulas is problematic.

I’m talking about doulas referring to clients as “my mamma”, or “my woman” or any of these variations. “I have a woman in labour… My woman is at x hospital… I have a labourer …”

Women don’t belong to us. We can’t claim them.

As doulas working in an industry that strips women physically and metaphorically of their autonomy, we must be vigilant about the language we use. When a large part of our work is creating scaffolding around women, supporting them to maintain autonomy and agency, it makes no sense that we use language that is patriarchal and paternalistic in nature.

Women’s bodies have been claimed over time by fathers, husbands, churches, governments and doctors. Let’s not add ourselves to this list.

Please be mindful of how you discuss women in your care. If you are debriefing or talking about clients and trying to maintain anonymity (so not calling them by name) try out a few phrases that you might use instead.


Are you a doula interested in exploring the intricacies of the maternity system? Do you find yourself examining women’s care, the maternity system and (often lacking) maternity choices?

‘Women, the system and the illusion of choice’ is available exclusively to doulas undertaking We Birth’s Mentorship Pilot Program, in addition to 1 to 1 mentorship and an absolute cornucopia of advanced doula education.

Enrollments close August 20. For Australian doulas only.




Why having a doula present when there is meconium stained liquor is a good idea!

Blog post by Jacki Barker

It is crazy, but current obstetric practices are actually increasing the chances of causing fetal hypoxia and possible MAS or Meconium Aspiration Syndrome.

On Jan 14, 2015, Rachel Reed posted “The Curse of Meconium Stained Liquor” in Midwife Thinking. Rachel says that it is not meconium alone which is a problem, but meconium plus an asphyxiated baby that can create the possibility of MAS which may result in infection and also death in some babies.

So, is it that obstetric practice is out of date?

We are still:

  1. Inducing labour,
  2. Directing pushing to speed up labour,
  3. Performing artificial membrane rupture (ARM) to see if there is meconium present

It seems that we appear to be fear driven and acting upon the presence of meconium alone without considering the risks of fetal hypoxia which is linked to all of the above as stated by Rachel.

What should we be doing instead? It would seem that monitoring the baby would be essential looking out for signs of distress. Then of course act and make decisions on those babies with thick mec and showing fetal distress.

However, like Rachel suggests, we should be creating a calm environment so the mother is not frightened and we should be avoiding all obstetric interventions associated with fetal distress.

This is yet another highly positive reason to have a doula at birth ensuring the calm relaxed atmosphere that is necessary when meconium is present.

Coming soon… Emergencies in childbearing for doulas and birth workers course. Be the first to know when this course is available by registering your email address here.



The conversations we need to be having more often.

words: Jen Hazi

The problem I find most about being somewhat introverted is that I can’t abide small talk. I am sure this is what suits me well to the world of birthing and women’s spaces. I tend to dive in and talk with people about the more intimate experiences in their life.

So spending a morning with independent midwife Sheryl Sidery and Women’s Mysteries Teacher Jane Hardwicke Collings (in truth these descriptions barely touch the surface of who these mighty women are and all that they do), discussing birth, our maternity system, women’s choices and power struggles was my idea of a perfect day.

Of course, these conversations are important and best shared around. Fortunately, Jacki and I were prepared and managed to film some important and powerful dialogue that we can’t wait to share in our upcoming course: Women, the system and choice the illusion of choice.

If you are not yet on our email list now is the time to add your details and be the first to know when this is course is available.

In the meanwhile, we have put together the sneakiest of peeks for you to get a glance at what we are creating.  drop by HERE

Nice to meet you.

Ethics and standards. Not the most glamorous topic. But it is important to know what drives us and this is a great way to know. We do have 2 particularly wordy documents that really outline the ethics and standards that underpin We Birth education and other events. This is a brief yet hopefully clear overview of what we stand for.

Our ethics and standards pertaining to the Doulas that we educate

A doula is hired to provide emotional, spiritual, physical and mental support to childbearing women and their families.

The woman and families personal needs and preferences are always the centre of the care provided by the doula.

The doula/woman relationship is a professional one, although deeply personal and connected. Boundaries are mutually decided by the woman and the doula and made clear at the commencement of the personal relationship.

The doula does not provide medical care or advice specific to the woman even if she has been trained to do so in a different capacity. Contracts between Doula and client must clarify this.

The doula may use other professional services in the service of the woman she cares for however is subject to the professional guidelines and codes of those professions.

Where possible doulas should take professional indemnity insurance.


What do you think? We really value feedback and we love connecting with heartfelt, passionate doulas all over. Feel free to drop us a line and let us know.

What is all the fuss about poo?    

At almost every vaginal birth you attend, there comes a time when the whole poop discussion raises its head.

Women deeply in touch with their birthing instinct, briefly come back to the room and look you in the eye and whisper they are worried about a little poo escaping with the contractions. Some try and move towards the toilet from the birth pool despite being very close to birthing in order to avoid the embarrassment of opening their bowel. It seems crazy that we seem perfectly fine with liquor running down our legs for hours and blood and mucous strewn across our clothes, sheets and towels but we can’t accept a little poop.

I was told years ago  “Just tell women they are only feeling baby’s head and there is no poo there and not to worry”. If we were to talk about it, we were encouraged to play it down and say “it was only a tiny bit, and it is gone now”.

I believe, however, we should be educating women in the antenatal period that this sensation will occur in labour and not to feel embarrassed but acknowledge it as an important part of labour. Now we know, emptying the rectum creates more room for baby to descend, and when baby’s face passes over the perineum, baby ingests a little faeces. This colonises the baby’s gut with flora helping with immunity and even future mental health.


So let’s help women forget anxiety and embarrassment and accept this as another of nature’s miracles. Embrace poops in labour – well figuratively anyhow, and tell women it is all normal and vital to baby’s good health.

words: Jacki Barker

Miwi Prints

aboriginal placenta


Minmia is an aboriginal senior woman, healer and educator. She is also a custodian of traditional women’s lore/ law of the Wirradjirri people.

In her book, ‘Under the quandong tree’, Minmia stresses the importance of burying placentas in birthing ceremonies. The purpose of placing the placenta in the ground or into our Mother Earth or Nungeena-tya is to ensure the miwi print expressed within the placenta itself is safely kept there until the child hits puberty.

A miwi is a soul. Souls according to Minmia, are reincarnated many times and each time they return to learn more about life. Each time a soul reincarnates or a baby is born, the lessons of the previous lives are recorded within the miwi print which is found on the surface of the placenta.

When the child reaches puberty, their ‘seed’ falls onto the earth’s surface and is instantly recognised by Nungeena-tya who links it to the child’s miwi print and she guides the young person through their physical life.


If we are to dispose of a baby’s placenta in a hospital; where they are incinerated together, Minmia explains that their miwi prints melt together and this causes confusion for those children at puberty. The melting together of the maps means Miwi prints will have more than one map and so it is impossible to connect with one journey. The spiritual maps of those children are lost.

Fortunately, A rebirthing ceremony can repair this. Oh yes! Another good reason for delayed cord clamping… The baby will receive the miwi essence instructions. If cut too early the cord only retains this information. A rebirthing using the cord clamp can be the solution.