10 years ago, I was pregnant with my first baby and looking for a midwife. I found my midwife in the form of Vicki Chan and we formed a strong bond. A daughter was born… simply, beautifully, gently… at home.
Photographs of baby Caitlin’s birth were taken by my brother-in-law, Chris.
The photos were stunning… and as Vicki and I sat together looking at them for the first time… we could feel that magic was afoot.
Birth was so often portrayed as something too frightening, too messy, too painful for the modern woman to endure… and yet here were the images that told the truth. Birth can and should be a rich and wonderful experience.
Putting the photos in presentation format, firstly as slides, and then as a video montage set to music, I created an audio-visual display portraying birth and midwifery as acts of love.
Vicki’s love of midwifery and enthusiasm for birth was not new… she had long been a passionate advocate for the birthing woman and better birth, as a midwife both in and out of hospitals, and as a voice on matters of birth. With her words and my pictures…our work together began.
Over the next few years, Vicki and I shared our work, including new videos, with small groups and at the occasional seminar or conference. Life was busy on the home front with me giving birth to a son, and Vicki two more daughters.
In April 2001, we presented at a conference that was to change our lives. The response to our combined work was powerful. The magic that first danced at the birth of Caitlin was spinning wildly.
Janet Balaskas, founder of the Active Birth Movement and keynote speaker at that conference had this to say…
“Here is a strong new voice to inspire us and remind us to believe in the power of the birthing woman. Vicki Chan’s talks get to the essence of what it means to be with a woman during an active birth. Her words are uncompromising and come straight from the heart. In a unique partnership with Nic Edmondstone, who has created powerful video presentations of birth, they move the audience to tears. Birth is about love. No one who sees this presentation can be in any doubt about that. A great contribution! “
Within two months, Vicki had left home with her husband and children in tow, travelling Australia for six months, speaking of birth and sharing the videos. Halfway around Australia, Vicki flew from Perth to meet me in Singapore en route to London and the States where we received standing ovations for our presentations. This trip saw the launch and sell-out of our first for-sale video “In Union” a stunning compilation of images set to original music, capturing those amazing first moments of a child’s life.
Last year we worked with both birth-workers and birth-givers in the “Intuitive Midwifery” workshops we facilitated in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Melbourne and Adelaide as well as presenting at conferences.
Under the name of “Women of Spirit” we seek to inspire a return of birth to the sacred, to renew faith in a woman’s ability to birth her child, and to recognize the importance of this most precious time. Although we firmly believe the vast majority of women can birth their babies without intervention, the main issue is not whether the baby was born at home or in hospital…drug-free vaginal birth or caesarean…but… Did the woman have true choice? Did she have all the information and support she required? Did she birth with respect and honour? Did she come through the experience feeling stronger and more confident? Was the baby born into love?
To this end, our latest venture has been the creation of a set of greeting cards “The Birth Collection” which is about to be released. We are very excited about the cards which feature black and white photographs in combination with beautiful words celebrating women on their journey to motherhood, honouring the family, and welcoming the new baby.
With me now living on the Sunshine Coast close to Vicki, we are looking forward to moving on in our quest for better birth bringing more of our ideas to fruition including the release shortly of at least one new video.
We can be contacted on 0402 140 769 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org