Why talk therapy doesn't work & what to do instead!

I don't know about you but I've sat in the shrinks office numerous times and rattled off all the things that have happened in my life that would give me reasons to have anxiety and depression. And like a lifeless dummy I give blow by blow details of various events. The shrink writes a few notes and says here's your script come and see me in two weeks and we'll see how you are. GAH!

So you do the "right thing" and turn up to your appointment two weeks later, rehash some of the things you talk about last time and say that you feel like rubbish, you're feel exhausted, have no motivation and just want to sleep all day. To which you are told to up your pills and be seen again in two weeks. The weeks turn into months and the months turn into years and your meds go up and down and you're still talking about the same old crap that you were talking about all those years ago.

Sound familiar? Well let me tell you that this story could be repeated by thousand of people all around the world.

So what can you do? Is there something else you can do instead of talk therapy and medication?

Absolutely! I'm one of the lucky one's. I've been med free, and talk therapy free for 3yrs. And the freedom that has bought me is priceless!

About this time last year I heard about a technique called Aroma Freedom Technique (AFT) that was helping people break free from negative thoughts, emotions and trauma. And I thought I'd dive in and give it a go. So I downloaded the book and got to work straight away healing myself through AFT.

Have you even sat there with a group of friends comparing war wounds and health issues and thought 'Man surely all the things that have happened to people must be coming out as illnesses" And it's not rocket science that emotional pain eventually turns up a a physical dis-ease. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue etc are common place these days. Spend 5 mins with people and listen to their story and there are tell tale signs of abuse, trauma, extreme stress, which lend itself to manifesting in physical illness. The body holds onto all of this and tells us - please let me out! HELP ME!

But we do what we have always done - avoid things that hurt. We get busy, we get drunk or turn to drugs or become a workaholic - anything to avoid dealing with those buried feelings. We mask our feelings and put on a smile so no one can see what is simmering just below the surface. Sure you turned up to your shrinks office and tried to get help but they just offered another form of masking - a legal, supposedly safe version of masking - called medication!

So let's get back to AFT. AFT helps you on a subconscious level work through all those negative feelings, including memories and bodily sensations/and feelings that accompany anxiety and depression (think racing heart, sweaty palms, feeling numb or detached etc) It gets to the root feelings of stress, trauma, abuse etc. So instead of going on the notion that xyz has happened and your brain is broken and you need chemicals to fix you, it helps you clear those feelings of guilt, fear, shame, helplessness, pain, anger, frustration, literally having them leave your body so that you can allow positive emotions in. So are you sick of feeling sick? Are you tired of being tired and unheard? Then it's time to reclaim the real version of you. Clear those negative feelings trapped inside your poor body and be free.

AFT changed my life so much that I became a Practitioner back in December last year. And since then I've had the greatest honour of helping others be free!

*This is my own personal experience. I do not recommend you stop medication. Medication and health concerns should be discussed with your GP.


I got my dream birth!!

I got my dream birth!!

Got to hospital and there was the usual assumptions about "what they were going to do" - I was hanging out for my doula to get there so I could just relax and not have to explain all the things I was declining. My amazing husband handed the Birth Choices document to the staff and they quickly got the hint that I had made some decisions for this labour and they shouldn't assume anything about m

Read More

Birth stories from clients


As this was my 2nd pregnancy I wanted things to go more differently. I didn’t know what to expect with my first and I went with the flow and had a birth I didn’t think was right. With my first I was hooked up to an epidural and was nearly rushed off to an emergency C-Section. Rebecca helped me understand the risks with drugs, and understand the natural process of birthing.

During my pregnancy Rebecca was there with information and helped me find my voice and my desires on how I wanted this birth to go. Not everything on my birthing plan was granted but at every step these were my decisions to make.

I started having pre labour contractions the night before, after a nice relaxing shower. I slept through them and had an ultrasound the next day already scheduled as I had been given 2 different due dates and had to be monitored. I was overdue according to my last date given but early with my original date. I was home all day experiencing pre labour contractions, later that night I started to experience my contractions get more intense and closer. I told Rebecca what was happening and asked for her to come. I kept contracting with them getting to 3-5 minutes apart lasting 30-60 seconds. Looked promising, then out of no where I went quiet and the contractions quietened. We decided to try a different position which brought them on really hard and fast. We decided to go to the hospital. Along the way again my contractions had slowed up a bit. When at the hospital, they did an exam and I was only 3 cm?!? How can I only be 3 cm? My contractions kind of died down from there. But Rebecca reassured me and explained it could be primal instinct to stop my contractions due to not feeling safe. I stayed on my feet or in upright positions as much as I could. They broke my waters somewhere along the way to help my labour progress. I was having urges to push, and my contractions were very intense. I had requested to have a drug free labour so no one asked me if I wanted any form of pain relief. There were a few examinations to track my progress but still I was not dilating as much as we would of thought, especially with my urge to push with every contraction. I got to a point of no return, my mind was giving up on me, the amount of pain and the urge to push (and not allowed to) with every contraction got the better of me. I requested the epidural. I did lose my mind somewhere along the way and I cannot remember how many cm I was but I needed relief. I got a very good doctor who didn’t overdose me on the drug as I could still feel everything (unlike with my first where I couldn’t even feel my feet)

Suddenly everything started to change, and I was starting to progress in my labour. In the afternoon my second son was born and I got to experience it all. It was later found out that Ryan was posterior and that was why I was feeling the urge to push through my whole labour. I am really proud of all my efforts to try and not use drugs but end of the day I believe my body needed a little break so Ryan could turn. He was born a healthy 10 pound 6 and because I listened to everything the midwives told me I was able to come away with no tears, no stitches. This was the most amazing experience of my life. People usually would say that about their first but I wasn’t prepared for my first. I felt strong, I felt amazing and I truly thank Rebecca for making me feel like super woman. My birthing plan didn’t go to plan but my birth did. I felt in control and at the end of it I had a healthy bubby.  Rebecca Gilbert - Baby born 25 June 2013, Melbourne


Do Doula's only support intervention/drug free births?

I had an interesting conversation today with someone, who in the past had considered hiring a doula. She mentioned that she felt like doulas only seem to push for intervention and drug free births. That she has been left feeling like a birth with interventions isn't ok, or that they should have said no to them because they might have been unnecessary even when they clearly weren't. 

Birth comes in so many forms. home birth, hospital birth, ceasarean birth. It makes me so sad that some feel like they are some how "less of a woman" if they have a ceasarean birth or if they had interventions. All women are amazing, no matter how their baby comes into the world.

I want to assure women though that I personally support birth in all its forms. I myself used gas in both my births and was induced in one of my births. This was a necessary thing for me. I loved the gas. It made me calm and I was able to cope better with the contractions. I also needed to be induced. My water broke at 33 weeks and I did not go into labour, so it was a necessary intervention. The fact is that interventions save lives.

I guess one of the reasons why it seems that doulas are against interventions is because we see all too often the cascade of interventions where the woman wasn't informed of her options. She was left disempowered and uninformed. So as a doula this is what I am trying to prevent. I would love it if every woman was given the risks and the benefits of various things without scare tactics and with evidence based information. Being "overdue" by a day or two or even a week is not a reason to be induced, as long as there are no other risk factors. Someone I know was told that she was "small" for her first baby and that she was overdue and was offered an induction. She refused based on the research and evidence that she did. Her baby came in it's own time and was a good size. 

Recently too I have heard women say 'I didn't know that I could say no." I find this to be a common complaint. They  felt they had no choice, and that they had do everything that the Doctor told them to do. 

I suppose in conclusion I'd like to say, that I am very thankful that modern medicine has come so far, that epidurals, ceasareans and inductions are options for those who need them. That I support birth in every form. But I support women's choice. I want women to be informed and educated. Not left in the dark, saying yes to things they don't really understand. I want all women to feel empowered no matter how their baby comes into the world. I want women to feel amazing, and wonderful whether they have a drug free home birth or a birth with every intervention in the world. No one is better, no one is stronger. Birth is different for each person, there is no right or wrong way of doing it, just different. 

Can clary sage induce labour?

I love the smell of clary sage, and I know when I am having a bad time during my period this is the oil I will grab to help me out a little. In saying this, I am always cautious when using it because it is very powerful and can be quite overwhelming if used in large quantities.

Clary Sage is a plant native to Italy, Syria and Southern France and grows in dry soil. The essential oil is distilled from the flowers and flowering tips.

Clary Sage is such a versatile oil with a high concentration of esters and has many properties such as anticolvulsant, antifungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, nerve tonic, sedative, and warming.

Some users have actually had the sensation of feeling “high” after using clary sage.

This oil is now widely used before and during labour.

Many are told that they can use clary sage to induce labour. Clary sage cannot be used to induce labour unless your body is ready to go into labour. Nothing can induce labour until your body is ready, unless of course you have a medical induction, and even then they are known to fail, causing distress in both mum and baby, which then may lead to other interventions or caesareans.

What clary sage does do is help you to have more effective contractions once you do start having them as it relaxes the mind, body and muscles. This is what is needed for mums to go into labour in the first place – eliminating catecholamines (adrenaline) and stimulating endorphins and oxytocin. By using the clary sage for relaxing and calming the mind, body and muscles you are more inclined to go into labour spontaneously.

This wonderful essential oil facilitates birth and helps breathing by calming the lower part of the spinal cord and the nervous system.  It helps labour to progress well when you put a few drops on your labour focus points (see diagram below).  It can also be used to reduce pain and aid in circulation. (You can order the best quality oils I've come across here)

It is recommended that Clary Sage only be used from 37 weeks onwards just in case your body is in danger of going into premature labour. It may stimulate the release of oxytocin; therefore it is highly recommended for use during labour to help contractions to intensify and become more effective in pulling up the horizontal uterine muscles to open the cervix and move baby down into the pelvis and into the birth canal.

The simplest and most common way to use Clary Sage during labour is to put a few drops onto a dry cloth or flannel and mum will inhale the aroma when she needs it to help herself become more calm and relaxed during contractions.

You can also add a few drops of clary sage to the inner ankle on the labour focus points (Spleen 6 – SP6) to help stimulate the contractions and to ensure that the labour is progressing well.

Another effective way to use Clary Sage essential oil is to put a few drops onto a couple of cotton balls and put them under your pillow. The aroma will eventually make its way through to your olfactory system and will have many benefits such as relaxation, reducing muscle tension, calming the nerves and increase effectiveness of contractions of the uterus.

Massage with clary sage can also be really calming. Make up a massage oil using 20 drops of Clary Sage oil in 50ml carrier oil and massage gently around the abdomen, hips, lower back and pelvis. This blend can be rubbed onto the feet and palms of women in labour or if they are waiting to go into labour. This is a great way of introducing the oil into the body.

Clary Sage oil can also be added to a bath for a relaxing soak.

When using clary sage essential oils during labour and birth, this can also aid in releasing the placenta, so the mum should continue breathing in clary sage.

Some caution should be taken when using clary sage, and my best advice is to never take clary sage orally as has been suggested recently in some forums I have been on.

Always remember, every woman is different and what works for one, may not work for the next.

Essential oils that form a beautiful synergy for massage during labour and birth are:

Rose is a uterine relaxant and helps the ligaments to soften, enabling the pelvic bones to expand, and also to regain elasticity after the birth.

Neroli works on the nervous system and facilitates easy breathing, especially during labour. Its calming effect increases the oxygen supply to the blood and brain and helps the woman to avoid hyperventilation.

Lavender helps to stimulate circulation and has a very calming effect on the mother.

Clary Sage is highly regarded as a uterine tonic and used to promote calming while stimulating the uterine muscles and provides pain relief. 

Let's talk about sex - after baby

So let's brace the subject that seems to be still taboo. Sex after baby.

You may be aware that there are amazing physical and hormonal changes going on behind the scenes after you have a baby. Many women are worried what their vagina will feel like after they give birth. Will it be stretched beyond recognition? Will it hurt to have sex? Will it be horrible for my partner? You will be happy to know that most women's vaginas return to normal size and shape after birth. It may not be exactly the same as before but there is no reason to think that you won't have great sex again.

One thing that you may not be aware of is that if you are breastfeeding then your progesterone levels higher then they would be at other times. So this means that there is a decrease in natural vaginal lubrication. This can make things a lot more uncomfortable during sex and may even make your partner think that they aren't 'turning you on.' But stop!! There is nothing wrong with either of you! Its just your body's normal process until you get your menstrual cycle back. Your desire can also be affected due to your hormones. So it would be a great time to invest in some good lube. 

So lets talk desire. Lots a women just aren't interested in having sex after a baby. You may be bleeding for a few weeks after birth, have some tearing and/or stitches or a ceasarean birth and your hormones are still a bit all over the place. Or you may just be touched out. All your emotional and physical energy may be directed to your new baby and other children, so you may have nothing left to give. This can start to affect your relationship. But it will pass, your hormones will return to normal, your baby will not breastfeed forever and you will regain your energy. There are other things that you can do other than intercourse to build intimacy. Communication is the key. What help from your partner would help you be more in the mood, or have more energy? Perhaps asking for help with household duties or asking for a nice relaxing bath to be run for you? A nice back massage or foot rub? All of the things could make the mood more condusive to intimacy. Remember that partners are not mind readers, sometimes you need to ask for help. You can't expect to be super woman, even more so after you have given birth. Also honesty and openess is also essential. There is no point feeling pressured to have sex, or continuing to have sex if it is too uncomfortable, because you feel sorry for your partner. Your partner will appreciate your honesty and you work through any fears or anxieties together.

Do doulas only support drug free births?

Do doulas only support drug free births? In a nutshell no!!

So you want to get an epidural straight away and avoid any pain as much as possible. Well there's nothing wrong with that. So you might be thinking why would I need a doula then?

A doula can help you move into other positions or move you around for better fetal positioning.

A doula can help with pain management techniques before your epidural, during the epidural insertion, and if the epidural doesn't take away all the pain.

A doula provides contiuous support. So that means that your partner can take guilt free breaks.

A doula can help facilitate discussions with care providers. They are a bridge between the medical system and their clients. They help clients formulate questions and make informed choices.

So if you are in Melbourne why not contact Rebecca today www.byyoursidedoulaservices.com.au/contact

5 Better Questions to Ask a Potential Doula

I read this great post about questions to ask a potential doula, so I thought I'd pass it on.

5 Better Questions to Ask a Potential Doula.

In your initial conversation you should cover the following:

Are you available for my EDD? Do you cover my delivery location? What is your fee? What does that include? Do you come to my home when I’m in labor or do we meet at the delivery location? If these are answered satisfactorily, then schedule an interview.

Which brings us to the list!

1. Scrap: Are you Certified? There are so many ways to certify and so many certifying organizations with differing criteria, this is becoming irrelevant (cue the negative doula comments below). Some doula trainings are in-person, some are online. Some doula trainings are 1 day, some are 4 days. Some require 3 births, some require 5, some require none!

The Better Question Is: How did you train to become a doula? How did it prepare you for this work? Think in advance about what answers will make you feel confident in her skills. My birth doula had never attended a birth. Except her own. She had given birth 3 times and was a massage therapist. This met my criteria.

2. Scrap: How many births have you attended? I have mentored doulas over the years and now have a great group of women working for me. Everyone of us had our first birth client. I have worked with doulas who have arrived at their first birth and ROCKED IT! I have worked with doulas who have attended 25-50 births and when they arrived it seemed like they had never seen a woman in labor before.

The Better Question Is: Can you give me examples of how you would support me if these scenarios happened? List your own scenarios, because those are the scenarios you will manifest. Yes, it’s true. Didn’t you read The Secret? (and a BIG you’re welcome! to The Secret on amazon)

3 Scrap: How many clients do you take each month? Do you have back-up? Every doula will answer with a number and ideally a “yes” to the back-up. Who cares? I have had clients with due dates 4 weeks apart give birth within 24 hours of each other!

The Better Question Is: If I am in labour at the same time as another client, who is my secondary doula? Will she know she is on call? This one is critical! I am the doula who got a call from a client in labor, who wasn’t my client. The couple told me I was their back-up doula. I had no idea I was their back-up doula. Fortunately, I had declined an invite for drinks with my hubs and his BFF, just 2 hours prior. (I wanted to watch ER). Many doulas have informal agreements to back each other up. Make sure yours has a formal one.

4. Scrap: What is your philosophy about birth and supporting women and their partners through labor? Who cares what her philosophy is? If she is a good interviewee, she already has an set answer for this. You are hiring her to provide a service. A VERY PERSONAL SERVICE.

The Better Question Is: Can you tell me about a time that a client made a decision you didn’t agree with? Gauge her response carefully. Is she able to separate her own feelings? Does she sound judgmental or disappointed? She shouldn’t. This is your birth and her primary role is to provide emotional, physical and educational support. If you are making an informed decision she is being paid to support it.

5. Scrap: Do you get along with my caregiver? Have you worked a my delivery location? This should have been asked in your initial interaction. The doula should always ask where and who in the initial phone call. If it is a provider or hospital they have chosen to stop working with, they should be up front about it.

The Better Question Is: I am with MW/OB “X” and delivering at “Z” Hospital. Do you have any positive or negative experiences you can share? Doulas love to share. A LOT. Gauge her response and decide if it is cause for concern about your provider or cause for concern about her. Is she offering evidence-based information? If you are with a notoriously bad hospital or provider, she should be able to provide evidence. You should then do the research and come to an informed decision.

After she leaves check how you feel. Are you both excited? Do you both feel empowered? Do you both feel ready to share the most personal experience of your lives with her? Remember, the most important thing about your doula is how she is going to make you feel and provide support to you and your partner.


My philosophy about birth

So you may hear that you should ask your doula, 'what is your philosophy about birth?' So what's mine? My philosophy is that my philosophy isn't important because it’s your birth. That being said doesn't mean that I don't have a philosophy. Of course I do. But I figure that it’s not important in this context as I support YOU and YOUR ideas. I will provide you with all the information that I have available so that you can make the most informed choice possible. Then I will hold your hand and wipe your brow through those choices. I do not have an agenda, or goal for you to fit into. It’s your birth. It’s your choice. I’m happy when you are happy so if that means a completely drug free natural birth or an elective caesarean then I’m happy to support that.

Dads & Doulas

So your wife/partner is pregnant. Yay!! Time passes and one day she comes to you and says, 'I think I want to hire a doula.'  A doula? What's a doula? She explains that its a labour support person. Then you start to think, 'aren't I good enough, why do you need one of them?' Well why don't I tell you why you would want to hire a doula.

1. You can be informed. Your doula can provide you with valuable information that you never even knew existed. Your partner can search the internet for hours for information but be overwhelemed or confused. A doula can provide unbiased information on all sorts of topics that you wouldn't have even thought of. Position changes, pros and cons of pain relief, placenta encapsulation, delayed cord clamping,,,the list goes on.

2. Guilt free breaks. You can tak a break for food, or just some time out knowing that your partner is in good hands with your doula.

3. Reassurance. You can glance at your doula and just know that everything is proceeding as normal, that the noises that your partner is making are normal etc. Or if something is a miss then you have the support to cope with the situation. You are also reassured that your doula is there for the sole purpose of making life better for your partner. Consistent emotional and physical support etc. The medical staff are there to check monitors, blood pressure, fetal heart rate etc, but your doula is there just for your partner.

4. Your doula will not replace you. She will help you feel comfortable in your role, discussing what your partner needs to get through labour. This might be kisses and a back rub, words of encouragement or to be completely left alone. A doula can help guide you in this or reassure you that you are doing a great job. Remember its team work, not a redundancy.

So Dads don't be afraid, we aren't there to replace you, but rather enhance your job. We help you be confident that you are doing a great job.

The Birth of Jett

Pressure was building for me to have an induction at 38 weeks. I had an ultrasound and they were predicting that my baby was going to be around 9lb at birth, but it didn't concern me as to me 9lb isn't macrosomic. I had my check up with my Doctor on Tues 3/12/13 and went through my birth plan. He surprisingly didn't say no to anything. People at this stage were looking at my and saying that I was huge and asking whether I was having twins!!

That afternoon I felt like my tummy had dropped. The next day I had some acupuncture, ( I had some a few weeks earlier to help me prepare for labour) this time it was for induction. I then waddled to the shops and had some curry for lunch and waddled around until I tired out. We went home and later on we put a movie on - Despicable Me, ate some chocolate and had half a glass of wine with candles and aromatherapy. Then we got onto Youtube and laughed our heads off watching a really funny comedian. I also rubbed some clary sage on my tummy. Lots of oxytocin, then went to bed around 10pm.

5:30am Thurs 5/12/13 I awoke with my water breaking. Just a little gush. I told Phil and was really excited and happy that I wouldn't likely need to be induced. I was a little bit worried that my contractions wouldn't start on their own as my contractions never came after my waters broke with Kiara. I didn't need to worry because about 10mins later I had my first contraction. I thought (with my doula hat on) that I had better go back to bed and rest because labour could be a long way off before it really kicks in. I also messaged my doula. No long after I heard a pop and I jumped up and heaps of water came out. It kept coming with every contraction. By 6am the contractions were already 2mins apart but very managable. I got two huge towels and came into the lounge and stood on them as every contraction I had I lost a heap of water. This carried on until about 8am. I thought that I had better let the hospital know. When I rang they were surprised that I hadn't called them earlier and suggested that I come in. I ignored that and wanted to labour for as long as possible at home. I called Kate my doula and let her know that I had called the hospital and that she should make her way to my place. Contractions were 2 mins apart and painful but managable. By 9:30am the contractions really picked up so Phil called Kate and said to meet us at the hospital. The car trip was painful to say the least. When I arrived at the hospital and saw Kate I started crying, I was in so much pain I just wanted it to be over.

The hospital was expecting me and as soon as they saw me they quickly took me into a room and asked a few questions and shortly after moved me to the delivery room. It was about 10.10am. Kiara was still with us this whole time, which I was happy about as I wanted her to be at the delivery if possible. My birth photographer met us in the delivery room too. From here things get a bit blurry. I was mostly standing for each contraction but I kept saying that I didn't want to do it and that I was scared. (I still don't know what I was scared of) The midwife asked if I wanted a water birth to which I said 'yes!! I love you' but not too long afterwards she came back and said that I couldn't have one because I was on insulin for gestational diabetes.I asked if I could go in the shower and she said no. To which I said that I could if I wanted and that I would. I had left my birth plan in the car, so Phil decided to go and get it for me and to move the car as well as he had left it at the front in the 5min parking. He took forever to come back and during this time I had to push unvoulteeringly. I was like - 'where is Phil, Im going to have this baby without him!!'

(Im now writing this on 22/5/14, well after Jett's birth.) Now from what I can remember Phil eventually came back. At this stage I didn't know what to do with myself, I was all over the place and didn't know where I could go to feel safe. I was kneeling over the bed at this stage. I didn't want to be touched. I just wanted to be alone in a dark corner. I managed to calm down and the midwife said that she could see the baby's head crowning. The midwife asked me to hope on the bed, to which I said that I wasn't going to that that would just make my pelvis smaller. She said that the baby is really big and might get stuck and that they would hold my legs up, which would make my pelvis bigger. I still argued with them until they said that if I didn't get up on the bed then there was nothing that they could do in that position if he got stuck. So I reluctantly agreed. (I still wish I hadn't) But when they talk like that then you have fear and do it anyway against your rational mind. So after that I did one push and his head was out and with the next contraction he was born. 9lbs 10oz or 4.365kg, 55cm long and 36cm head circumfrence. Nice and healthy and had no trouble with him getting stuck. 

I was on such a high from the birth, I was just so happy that I had done it with little intervention. I didn't have the syntoconin injection and just waited until I birthed the placenta. That happened fairly quickly. However after I birthed the placenta I had a big blood loss of 1.8 litres. I needed extra fluids to make up for the blood loss. All this was happening while I held Jett, I was on such a high that I hardly noticed. 

Jett was very sleepy so the nursed check his blood sugars and they were very low (1.6) so he was whisked away to the special care nursery where he was given my colostrum that I had collected during pregnancy. This wasn't enough to bring his sugars up so they gave him formula and then glucose, which brought his sugar levels within normal range. He had to stay in the special care nursery for 8 days as he had jaundice for which he was given phototherapy for.

Childbirth Classes

Preparing for the birth of a baby is an exciting time. Luckily you have the 40+ weeks of pregnancy to get your head and your heart ready. It’s more than getting a cot, pram and baby room all set up. Mums need to use this time to ensure that they prepare their mind, body and heart for childbirth, ensuring that they are fully educated about the birthing process and the options available to them in terms of which provider to use, which hospital, or is home birth in Melbourne an option? Will I use pain relief? If so what is available? What are the pro and the cons? ...Read More

For this reason, childbirth classes are essential to ensure that you are fully prepared for labour and the birthing process. Rebecca from By Your Side is the specialists provider of childbirth classes Melbourne.

Child birthing classes

Rebecca is the number one choice for birthing classes Melbourne has to offer. During our private childbirth education classes, Rebecca gets to know you personally and addresses any challenges and fears that you may have surrounding childbirth. She takes time to educate you and your partner through the various stages of labour, the birthing choices, the natural and medical pain relief options during labour, positions for labour and birth, how hormones affect labour, breast crawl information and visualisation techniques. During her childbirth education classes Melbournemums-to-be can also expect to learn how the various emotions they experience affect the birthing process and how to process these emotions.

Prenatal classes Melbourne

By Your Side offers a number of different prenatal classes packages for expectant mothers. Our Labour Support Package offers continuous support through the entire labour and birth. We help to create your birth plan and help you to work through any fears and anxieties that you are experiencing surrounding labour and the birth of your child. The Labour Support Package includes 24/7 support by both phone and email during the on call period as well as phone/email/online support during pregnancy and after the birth. This is our most complete prenatal class Melbourne offering and is especially the right fit for first time or those who had a birth with some unexpected outcomes.

If you are in need of support or even just a reassuring, listening ear through your pregnancy, the Online Support Package may be the right option for you. This package offers dedicated online support for you to talk through your worries, fears, or any other emotions you are experiencing around your pregnancy. This package is particularly popular for working mothers who need support but are really strapped for time.

Antenatal classes Melbourne

Our Birth Debriefing package is perfect for expectant mothers who wish to talk about any feelings that they are experiencing around the pregnancy or impending childbirth. Rebecca from By Your Side offers a listening ear for you to be open about your feelings towards your birth. She can help you understand and overcome any negative feelings or anxiety that you might have. Talking about your experience and feelings with someone outside of your circle can be much easier, especially if you are not sure if friends or family fully understand what you are going through. The most important thing to know is that you’re not alone – many pregnant women experience these kinds of feelings!

If you need help planning the labour and birth of your child, you can rely on us to provide expert kindness and support you need. Whether you are planning a natural birth or birth using medical pain relief, or even a caesarean Rebecca can help you to effectively plan your birthing process.

Rely on our years of experience to explore the right birthing options for you. Rebecca has extensive knowledge of the birthing options available to you in the wider Melbourne area and we can provide information on the pros and cons of your various pain relief options, information on active birth and labour positions. But especially help you feel supported and safe, knowing that someone who cares is right there by your side. By Your Side can also educate your partner about the various ways they can support you and help you identify the various stages of labour and the emotions that go along with those stages.

Childbirth education classes Melbourne

By Your Side offers private childbirth education classes in Melbourne and across the wider Melbourne area with each class delivered in your own home. During our childbirth educations classes Melbourne mums-to-be can expect to learn all about the various stages of labour and to recognise each stage and the feelings associated with those stages. We will bring you through your various birth choices, positions for labour and birth and discuss your natural and medical pain relief options. During a childbirth education class, Rebecca will discuss the various emotions that you may feel during pregnancy and explain how to understand and deal with those emotions while learning about how various emotions can affect birth.

By Your Side also teaches valuable visualisation and relaxation techniques to enable expectant mothers to be able to better manage their pregnancy and enjoy the experience that pregnancy and childbirth brings with them and also manage any fear and anxieties. We’ll also provide breast crawl information and can answer any burning questions you may have about this topic.

We even offer a sibling doula support package. We can help you to ensure that your child/children feel comfortable about the impending birth of their sibling. And, when the time comes, we’re here to look after them during labour or childbirth and help ease them into embracing the new arrival.

Pregnancy and childbirth can be quite a scary yet exciting time for expectant mothers and their partners. Whether you are expecting your first baby, your second baby or even your sixth or seventh child, there can be feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, worry and even negativity. This is all completely natural! When you need reassurance, support or assistance, know that expert help is at hand. By Your Side’s aim to ensure that you feel confident, secure, supported, positive and comfortable with what’s happening in your life.

Birth support is far more effective when provided by someone who is not a member of hospital staff and trust us, even your partner can benefit from that extra kind of support! Sourcing doula support can help to reduce anxiety, depression and feelings of low self-esteem among expectant mothers. By Your Side serves Melbourne's South East area and can travel to Melbourne CBD, Gippsland, Mornington Peninsula, and most suburbs that are located inside about a 1 hour distance. Rebecca is an experienced doula and is here to help you through your pregnancy and childbirth, whatever your needs and situation may be.

First Time Mum Fears

So you're a first time mum! Congratulations! So many things go through your mind when you find out you're pregnant, it can be excitement, joy, worry, or even fear. What will my partner think? What will my family think? Especially if it is an unplanned pregnancy. What if I am no good at being a mother? How will my life change? Then there is the fear of the unknown. What does labour feel like? What does a contraction feel like? What will it be like for people to see me in labour, will they see me naked? Will I cope with the pain? And that's all without even thinking about life with a newborn baby.

So what can you do to prepare for your pregnancy, labour and birth? First of all, take a deep breath. Everything is going to be ok. You have a good nine months to prepare for you baby. Thanks goodness! Once all the excitement of telling people has died down, you may be at a loss at to where to go for accurate information. So many websites, and a lot of conflicting information. So you might talk to other people and they say, get the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting, my mum, doctor, sister etc suggested it to me. You many want to go down that path. However there are some other amazing resources that you can even find in your local library. Birth Skills by Juju Sundin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Birth Journeys or you can contact me direct to ask for some others. Birth Journeys is all about positive birth stories. Not all births go to paln, some have unexpected outcomes, but they can still be positive stories. Another fabulous resouce is www.bellybelly.com.au 

Sometimes though you'll need to put "earmuffs" on for unwelcome "horror" stories. Just because something happens to your friends of family doesn't mean it will happen to you. It's best to shrug it off and focus on how amazing your body is, and how your body is built to give birth.

On the other hand you may have some legitimate anxiety issues that are really making your life less manageable. Now is not the time to ignore these symptoms. Anxiety and or depression is not a weakness. It is not something to be ashamed about. It is something that can be treated and managed. I guess the first step is to recognise that there is something that isn't feeling right. Then to seek help. Asking for help is also not a weakness. It takes a strong person to ask for help. Perhaps mention it to you partner or a trusted friend, who can help you identify some of your feelings. Or they can encourage you to get further help from you GP or other trusted provider. Remember, you are not alone. You do not have to suffer in silence. Panda is a specific organisation that specialises in perinatal anxiety and depression. http://www.panda.org.au


Something else you may or may not have thought about is receiving one on one support from a trusted doula. They are specifically there for you emotional wellbeing. Being your constant companion to really listen and help you feel supported. They can support you during pregnancy to be amazing resource, someone who has already done the reseach on so many things and can provide you with information at the drop of a hat. They can be your sounding board, to talk through your fears and anxieties and to encourage you every step of the way.

Carmelle's Birth Story

Carmelle Larson's birth story: I got up on Sunday the 27th of December 2015 and around 9am started to notice I was having period type pains on and off anywhere from 5-15 mins apart. They slowly got a bit more noticeable all morning so I alerted my mum, my partner and my doula that I thought things might be starting. Mum and I had originally planned to spend the day together so we went ahead with our plans because I had a gut feeling it may take a while. We went down to Kmart and then out to the coffee club for lunch! I was contracting to the point where they were hurting but I was still able to walk and talk. They were about 5 mins apart. 
That afternoon after we returned home the contractions died right down and I got super disapointed. I finalised my hospital bags and made sure I had all last minute things packed, then took a bath. By this stage contractions were practically non existent! 
I went for a walk and cooked dinner and then gave up and relaxed. By the time I went to bed they had returned and this time accompanied by a really horrible sore aching back!!!! I slept for a few hours but woke up in lots of pain. My back was so so very sore and contractions had picked up to the point I was thinking ow! I had a hot shower and text my doula who suggested I was still early on so try relax. I woke up around 2am even more sore and I was shaking like crazy.. Like uncontrollably shaking. I rang the hospital. The midwife said it was adrenaline and to calm down and have a hot tea and another shower. I did and felt much better. Around 5am contractions were every 2 mins and my back was really bugging me so I called the hospital who said I could come on in anytime. I called mum and my doula soon after and they were both on their way. I remember just rocking forward and backward leaning on the couch and eating Nutella toast between contractions which were anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 mins apart! 
Soon after my doula came I chose to head off to the hospital. The car ride was soooo painful. When we got the hospital the midwife thought I couldn't be more than a few cm and said I might need to come back. But when she checked me to everyone's suprise (including my own!!) I was 7cm! 
So I was admitted and brought into the birth suit. By this time contractions were hurting but I was feeling good and strong and in control. I was holding my doulas hands and rocking through them. She was amazing and supportive and just kept reminding me how well I was doing and how I could do it! The contractions were no more than a minute apart. My memory is a touch foggy from here on out.. But I remember the midwife was a bit worried that my heart rate was high and so was my temp. I labored on the toilet which was great and did a lot more rocking. I felt soo much pressure down there And it felt good to push down a little when contractions came. When the midwife checked how dilated I was next time she popped my waters. Contractions picked up instantly and went from painful but bearable to omg ouch kill me now lol! 
I remember then feeling like omg I don't want to do this anymore..my doula was very supportive and tried to remind me of my goals but I was past it and my goal in my head had changed. At that point I knew I wanted another c section and to just get this baby out... This want was confirmed when they checked me again and i was only 7 still and the doctor said my cervix was very swollen so progress from here on out could be slow. 
I tried the gas at this point which was AMAZING! 
I remember the midwife telling me to breathe air in between contractions and only suck the gas When I felt a contraction coming or I might pass out. All I remember doing was sucking on the gas thinking yes! Good! I wanna pass out!!! Hahaha! 
Anyways, the doctors decided a c section was a good idea because of my high heart rate so after some fuss I was taken off on my way to thearter. After I left the oxygen behind I was writhing in pain. Laying down on a hard hospital bed with constant contractions was sooooooo hard. I remember thinking if they didn't stop my pain soon I would pass out. 
I was screaming at the surgeons to hurry up and knock me out. I feel a bit sorry for them now, quite a few swear words left my mouth! It's not my fault... To a labouring woman it looked like they were moving in slow motion lol!!! They didn't want to give me a general but brandon stood up for me and in the end they gave in. Them putting the mask on couldn't have come quick enough! Relief! 
I woke up a couple hours later in recovery pleased I was no longer in labor lol! 
The nurses told me my baby girl was all perfect and with daddy. A midwife came and took some of my colostrum in a syringe and took it off to feed Sienna. 
Soon enough after a few shots of morphine I was taken off to meet my baby girl! 
Love at first sight even though I was totally drugged up I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my beautiful chubba girl! All 10.2pounds of her
I know I didn't get the VBAC I wanted but I really feel proud for labouring for as long as I did, and don't regret a thing. In the end the c section was what i wanted and im happy it all went well brandon was great and my doula was an amazing support and I felt such confidence knowing I had her there to speak for me and suggest new positions and hold my hands and sway with me. I felt so much more in control of this birth than the birth of my son and I'm so thankful for the support I had!