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.