Angela Ivory is the founder of Bespoke Births (NZ). She is a registered Homeopath – Dip Hom, RC Hom, Certified Hypnobirthing Practitioner, Certified Lamaze Childbirth Educator, NZ Natural Fertility accredited educator, Birth, Postnatal & Bereavement Doula, and Bach Flower Practitioner. Her passion is to educate women, providing them with evidence-based information and assisting them to develop the best birth experience possible. Birth is not just about the birth of your baby/babies, but the new birth of yourself as a mother – an experience you will remember forever. Let Angela support you every step of the way to ensure that when the day of your birth arrives, you will soften into the experience feeling empowered, well informed and fully supported by your birth team.
The Passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
In the year 2000, as a first-time mother at the age of 22, I didn’t know an awful lot about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period – only what I read from books. It all looked pretty straight forward, or so I thought! My antenatal classes were anything but inspiring and to this day I remember the smell of the hospital, the stale biscuits and the Milo with ants in it at break time! My first birth was a planned induction (due to my other half travelling overseas frequently), attended by an obstetrician with many interventions including a vacuum- assisted delivery. A healthy baby and healthy mother was the outcome – physically that is.
Just over 2 years later in 2003, our son was born, followed by our daughter after many years in 2010. Between our son and youngest daughter, there were a few miscarriages, followed by ongoing hormonal issues. This is what led me to seek out complementary therapies including natural fertility, naturopathy, homeopathy, the art of visualisation, etc.
I spent hours researching methods, theories, stories of hope and despair and this inspired me to utilise these in my own life.
When I felt the time was right, I created a vision board and set out on my journey of incorporating several different modalities to help educate, inspire, and empower women in their choices during this exciting but somewhat nerve-racking time in their lives. With time, this has unfolded to develop a way to create a birth experience that will leave women with positive feelings around their experience, thus reducing the chances of postpartum anxiety/depression. This is done through understanding the individual, to find out what feels right for them. Helping them to make choices, choose their place of birth, their care providers, create birth plans and ensure they are fully informed about the birth process creates informed choices and decisions. During their birth, I am there to provide 100% emotional and physical support, while the LMC ensures the safety of the mother and baby during labour/birth.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Initially, I started with a certificate in Anatomy & Physiology in 2014 via distance study. I had returned to work in a school admin role and as a medical receptionist and found my interest was in looking after the students (first aider) and listening to the GPs and practice nurse discuss diseases and disorders. At school, my strongest subjects were Human Biology, Nutrition and English. Looking back, my childhood was spent playing mummy and teacher to my dolls and teddies – so the seed must have been planted way back then!
I had used homeopathy with much success so signed up to complete my four-year Diploma in Homeopathy (level 7) and became a registered practitioner the following year. During this time, my interest was ignited more than ever around fertility, pregnancy, birth and the fragile period following. Having had 3 children (and a few miscarriages in between), this naturally led on to further study which included 2 trips to Australia in 2018 to complete my Lamaze Childbirth Education and Birth Doula training.
I also completed level 1 and 2 requirements for Bach Flower Essence education. In 2019: I sat my 3-hour Lamaze exam and passed becoming the only person in NZ to hold the title LCCE; flew back to Brisbane to complete my Hypnobirthing Education, passed the requirements and became certified; flew to Wellington to complete my level 3 Bach Flower Essence education and passed the exam; flew back to Melbourne to undertake post-partum education; completed my natural fertility education/clinical supervision; and became an accredited educator in December 2019!
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough with your business?
The biggest breakthrough has been without a doubt when birthing mothers and their partners/family see the value in having a birth doula present. They are ecstatic about how their birth went, cherishing their birth experience as they should be. This doesn’t mean that each birth I attend is without complications or unexpected issues, absolutely not, but for example, when birth deviates from ‘the norm’ they understand what is happening, what was likely/going to happen and aren’t suddenly in a position of wanting questions answered or being fearful of the situation unfolding, as they have been well educated before their birth. I have seen incredible outcomes with mothers-to-be completing a Hypnobirthing course. Referrals are where 80% of my business comes from and the other 20% is through visiting my Facebook page or website, then curiosity gives them the incentive to be in touch.
I make the time for my clients and always listen with an open heart.
Having knowledge in multi-modalities means I can see my clients from the time they are trying to conceive through natural fertility education, the journey into pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum as their doula, hypnobirthing practitioner, certified childbirth educator and registered homeopath to prescribe for morning sickness then aches and pains such as arnica and hypericum if requested. As a Bach Flower Practitioner, good old tried and trusted rescue remedy comes in handy, but people don’t know there are 38 individual flower essences to consider! You should see my birth doula kit!