Announcement re Birth Skills Classes

I have just received news that I will be a grandmother for the first time!

I will be taking extended leave to assist my daughter Heidi with the birth of her first baby. I will not be taking any more class applications at this stage.

Classes will stop on 30 June 2018.

In lieu of my classes, please try to read the full colour version of my book with Sarah Murdoch called Birth Skills – available on this website. Books and Stress Ball Packs are dispatched daily. Simply return to ‘Online Products’ section on the home page.


Birth Skills Book

This entry was posted on March 7, 2018.


My younger daughter Heidi launched her new business last night – The Agenda Agency. It is a boutique consulting firm specializing in corporate strategy, SME growth and gender strategy.

Yes, I am one proud mother!AgendaAgency Launch 7.9.17                                                  Heidi – The Agenda Agency, Bir Riar – Client Solutions, Autonomous Energy, and Mum.

This entry was posted on September 8, 2017.

Nancy Gives Birth on Mother’s Day 2017

Nancy and new born

Nancy attended my Birth Skills Class in April and I received this lovely birth report from her in May….

“My water’s broke just after 4 am on Sunday morning, so I knew if things didn’t progress quickly enough, I might end up needing my labour augmented – and that proved to be a powerful motivator for action! On my first check about 6am I was 3-4cms dilated, so to keep things moving, my husband and I walked the neighbourhood around the hospital over and over, making sure to go up and down any stairs we came across. I kept as calm as possible for as long as possible – reminding myself that everything that was happening was just as it should be. At around 11.30am, I started using a Tens machine for more distraction, and we kept on walking. When the pain got bigger, we introduced more of the Birth Skills techniques we learned and practised in class and also some from your book – the shakers, visualisations, colourful balls, etc. By the time I was checked at 2pm. I was 7-8cms and the midwife was calling for the delivery set up which gave me the confidence to keep at it. Breathing and vocalising ended up carrying me through from 8 to 10cms in 45 minutes. After 45 minutes of pushing we welcomed our beautiful little baby into the world. The picture I have attached is in the first moments after the birth, when I got to hold our baby for the first time. I’ve never felt prouder of myself, or more admiration for my husband – and of course, we were completely awestruck at the new little person we get to call our own!

Thank you Nancy and congratulations to all three of you! A wonderful story of confidence, knowledge, self talk, distraction techniques and going with the flow with your husband, taking labour contraction by contraction and adapting to each moment together. And so you should be proud of yourselves…I’m very proud of you as well!


This entry was posted on June 11, 2017.

Sydney Women’s Group Documentary

Juju, Lucy, Heidi 3

Juju, Lucy Brogden ( The Patron of SWG ), and my daughter Heidi

June the 1st was a freezing night, but well worth the effort of attending the screening of the ABC commissioned educational documentary on domestic violence “Big Bad Love” at the Eternity Theatre in Darlinghurst. I was shocked to hear that young women aged between 18 – 24 are the most at risk of abuse. This film, which is not too heavy, should be seen by all school children simply to open the conversation about what is okay and what is not okay regarding respect and behaviour between men and women, boys and girls.

Lucy made a most wonderful contribution to the Medical Chapter in Birth Skills, and Lucy and her husband John launched the book for Sarah and me when it first came out.

This entry was posted on June 4, 2017.

Happy Mother’s Day 2017 Everyone

mums day

There is nothing quite like coming home to be greeted by a beautiful bunch of flowers at the front door. It’s always special as it doesn’t happen very often. Its always extra special when the flowers are sent by my children Marina and Heidi (and Marina’s partner Yanni and cat Puddy).

It’s Mother’s day again – wasn’t it only Christmas a few weeks ago?…how time really does fly. The flowers from my favourite florist GrandeFlora in Potts Point, are just gorgeous, but my children are the most precious Mother’s day gift of all. I don’t know what I’d do without them – our ups and downs, our laughter and tears, our talks and our opinions, our agreements and disagreements,  our rites of passage as we all get older, but more than all of this…the love and solidarity and loyalty we have for one another.

Thank you my darlings! I love them! See you for lunch on Sunday! Mum xxxx

This entry was posted on May 10, 2017.

The Annual Maybanke Lecture

I am interested in anything that empowers women. Maybanke Anderson gave her first public speech on 6th May 1891, at the inaugural meeting of the Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW. The lecture is held in May every year to mark this important historical event and this year the Annual Maybanke lecture was delivered by Ms. Elizabeth Broderick AO, lawyer and recent Sex Discrimination Commissioner for over eight years from 2007 to 2015.

The lecture last night at Customs House entitled ‘Self Care, Part of Women’s Empowerment’, was brilliant. Elizabeth talked a lot about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’ and that it’s enough just being who we are. We don’t have to be anything, do anything, strive for anything to be of value. I learned these things from someone I met years ago and have always been so grateful for his wisdom.

I think as so many of you approach motherhood, you need to understand this. You can stop all the striving that was so necessary in your careers, and take a step back as you move from public life into the more private home life of mothering.

You will be caring for your babies, but its vital that you care for yourselves as well.

The Maybanke Lecture is a model for resilience and courage, both of which we all need as mothers – my adult children are in their thirties and I still need these two qualities. Elizabeth says that ‘doing things that feed your soul is at the heart of self care’. She said ‘we all want to make the world a better place, simply because we lived in it’

Everyone in the audience resonated with her words. It was one of those lectures I did not want to come to an end. I am so glad I went. Damien's copy Maybanke

Michelle Gibson, founder YogaBowl, Elizabeth Broderick AO and  Juju

This entry was posted on May 4, 2017.

Posterior…Position, position, position!

I was so happy to hear from another woman who came to class in late 2016… who wrote to me with the news of the birth of her  baby. This mum was having her 4th baby – the first two were emergency Caesareans, the 3rd was a VBAC with epidural, and this one was delivered naturally, with no drugs, no intervention and no tears/grazes…. she wrote ‘we were all over the moon, and it was the most magical and empowering experience we could have hoped for’.

‘Our previous three babies were all posterior during labour. This time though I used the posterior prevention and turning positions during my quick labour (the first contraction was at 6pm, the birth was at 10pm) and I remained laying on my side during nearly the entire labour. This was the only real difference with my 4th labour, as with my previous three labours I had been in many different positions (including bouncing on an exercise ball) and I am convinced that my position during this labour was the critical factor in achieving a dream labour that I will forever cherish’. (Name withheld).

***I know it is the fashion to use many different positions in labour, especially gravity assisted positions, and bouncing on the large exercise ball, even walking around, but often these are counter productive with a baby in a posterior position as they can cause even more de-flexion of the baby’s head resulting in a baby that cannot rotate to the normal anterior position,  resulting in more back pain, a slower labour, maternal fatigue,  getting ‘stuck’,  and an increase chance of medical intervention. Make sure you check if your baby is posterior, and use the appropriate positions right from the first contraction. Juju

This entry was posted on February 16, 2017.

Mother Nature And Labour Pain Skills

Following is an email I just received from one of my class members who attended her Birth Skills Class in late 2016.

I can’t believe it’s taken me three months to write to you.
I wanted to tell you about my wonderful birth and thank you for the amazing skills I learned at your course and reading your book – I honestly couldn’t have done it without your teaching.

I think the main thing you helped me with was by giving me the tools and therefore giving me confidence. My labour was shorter than my first, but once again my baby was in a posterior position. After having an epidural with my first baby after labouring on my back in agony I just could not get my head around how Mother Nature could give women such strong pain in labour, but seemingly no way of coping with it. After my first baby, I never thought it would be possible or that I’d want to try birth again without an epidural, but inevitably once I became pregnant for the second time I became intrigued about birthing without one.

The first course I did gave me zero skills and seemed to be based on the theory that labour doesn’t hurt and you just need to concentrate, relax  and breathe – what a joke – as soon as I experienced my first labour pains first time around I was completely out of control.

This time around I found my way to your class, and especially following your instruction re posterior births and an amazing midwife, I was up and actively trying to turn her in all the posterior positions you taught. I was 7-8 centimetres when I arrived at hospital and found the stress balls immensely useful from that point. At one stage, I thought ‘epidural’, but I still had tools to try, so I put myself to work and kept going.

Long story short, I had about three contractions in transition, then pushed her out in the all fours position. She had turned from posterior to anterior, unlike my first posterior baby who needed manual rotation by the doctor, as well as ventouse, with a dropping heart rate as I was on my back, and with the epidural in, not feeling anything nor participating in any of it. With this birth I honestly thought I was going to rip those stress balls apart when I was pushing ( my lifesaver), also I was incredibly noisy – screaming and shouting rhythmically and quite naturally – my God it blocked the pain! I felt so self conscious previously about ‘making noise’ but in reality it was so normal, so releasing, so empowering, and the midwives were absolutely fantastic and encouraging about it.  My midwives were so happy to see someone having a go at it, and that they could get involved, and coach me, and help me through it.

I never thought it would be possible for me to be someone who genuinely enjoyed their birth – it still hurt – but I managed to ride the waves of labour pain with that perfect balance of control and surrender – what an amazing and powerful thing that is!

Your course and book empowered me and enabled me to get my head around the pain and understand it, which was what was necessary for me to be able to relax enough to let go, trust, and not be fearful. I am a doctor, and therefore a control freak, and I’ve seen a lot of traumatic births. You helped me understand that Mother Nature gave me all the skills I needed to cope with childbirth, I just had to be taught how to use them.

Our little darling Rose is already three months old!

(Name withheld)

This entry was posted on February 4, 2017.


Isabel attended her Birth Skills class in October 2016.

Here are some notes from her birth report…

‘I was given half a dose of prostaglandin as I was already starting to dilate and then my waters were broken at 8.30am. I went straight into contractions every two minutes and used all of the Birth Skills. Paul had bought shoes just after the class I did with you using the bubble wrap as one of the pain management tools, and they came with big bubble wrap. This was my life saviour despite thinking the bubble wrap was not something I would use!!

I danced, I paced up and down the room, pounded the bubble wrap and counted ‘one two’ hundreds of times. I also focused on an aerial outside the window and focused on Paul’s eyes when the pain got much worse. Paul was amazing at being a coach, timing contractions and telling me to be louder when I was struggling (he read the key parts of your book!) He really helped keep me calm and focused.

After a couple of hours I was 8cms dilated and the midwife called my obstetrician who arrived a few minutes later- I was 10cms and ready to push. Paul reminded me of the coffee plunger technique and baby Henry was born in a few contractions with the help of a ventouse as the cord was around his foot. What amazed me was the lack of pain for the actual birth . I was so focused on pushing and the coffee plunger technique, nothing else hurt. The Birth Skills were amazing. I didn’t use any pain relief and Henry was born only 2.5 hours after my waters were broken. He weighed a healthy 3.9kg, fed well from the start and hasn’t stopped.

I definitely think I would have needed pain relief without the Birth Skills. I wouldn’t have known how to deal with the pain and think I would have tried to sit or lie down more. And I couldn’t believe how the ‘sound’ helped! Like most people I was initially embarrassed but it really worked! And Paul telling me ‘louder’ was amazing.

It was such a special few hours for our family, even the most painful bits! I started to talk about baby number two before we moved out of the delivery suite.

We came home from hospital yesterday after being well and truly spoilt with the amazing midwife care. We are loving family life with Henry Eric Cheshire!


Take your bubble wrap!

This entry was posted on November 8, 2016.

Rosie Born on the First Day of Spring!

Caroline attended my Birth Skills Class in July. Rosie was born on the first day of Spring!

Caroline’s Birth Report began with ‘Labour and Birth was an amazing experience! I can definitely credit this to the Birth Skills Class!’

Let’s see what Caroline is really saying…

“After a couple of days of pre-labour at home (some signs of labour, but no established labour – many women have this), and after a full uninterrupted night’s sleep, I woke up at 6.30am with a few strong contractions at 10 minutes apart. I stayed in bed for as long as possible, then had a bath to see if they would slow down but they increased to 5 minutes apart.

I utilised everything I learned in your class which I didn’t realise that I remembered until I was in the throngs of labour!

Here are some of the skills…I either squeezed or banged the stress balls – usually on the bath or wall. I used the mantra ‘healthy pain’ or ‘baby down’ whilst visualising my uterus pushing the baby down and around and the cervix opening. I said ‘AAAHHH’ and ‘OOOOHHH’ and breathed. I mixed things up for each contraction and found it helpful for my husband to count me out of a contraction saying ’15 seconds to go’, ’10 seconds to go’. etc.

The contractions must have been about 3 to 4 minutes apart when I said we should go to the hospital – 15 minutes from home. A quick spontaneous vomit of the days’s small snacks, and into the car.

In the car I continued to use a heat pack and used the wooded massage tool from the Birth Skills Kit, rubbing it against my thigh or between my hands which really helped distract me from the pain of the contractions.

I was 8 centimetres on arrival at the hospital. I was so happy I was so far along.

The transition phase between 8 to 10 centimetres was the most difficult. I had my husband and midwife massage me, used a heat pack and cold towels, and made sure to drink lots of water and hydralite. I also used the bath a lot and found that this helped to pass the time. Once again the wooden  massage tool was extremely useful again, and sitting on the toilet was my chosen position for much of the time.

Caroline and Rosie Blog.jpg

This took me from first stage to second stage  but I couldn’t tell if the initial sensations were pushing urges or not. I found the pushing the most difficult and really wanted to get the technique right, but it took a few contractions to get there! Using a mirror really helped. After I eventually got the hang of pushing, a little while later our baby girl arrived at 3.07pm.

I was able to give birth without drugs, except for two paracetamol- and the Birth Skills I learned. I also had no tearing which I think is thanks to preparing with the Epino (available at the pharmacy).

Our first few weeks together have been amazing, which I attribute to the positive birth experience  I had. I was on such a high after giving birth that I wanted to have another baby immediately!

I was never scared of labour and very much looked forward to it. I know I was very lucky with my birth experience, but it is amazing how many people say ‘have the drugs’ or ‘get a Caesarean’. I believe that with the right attitude, education and preparation, natural birth is the best option and there is no reason to fear it. You really just have to take one contraction at a time, not think about the last one or the next one. And thankfully, they only last for one minute.”

Caroline finished her report by saying ‘ I believe I can tackle anything now!’.





This entry was posted on October 2, 2016.