Finding Lamaze: Empowering Births Australia

The best start for a mother and baby is a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth. Empowering Births Australia provides childbirth preparation classes that equip Sydney parents-to-be with all the knowledge and practical skills they need to have a safe and joyful birth experience. Classes are based around the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices which help to simplify the birth process, alleviate fears and instill confidence in expectant mothers. Empowering Births Australia is an independent childbirth education program taught by Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) Denise Georges, mother of one active and growing toddler, who we were lucky enough to speak to today.

The Passion:  what inspired you to set up your own business?
I have never been an entrepreneurial thinker so setting up my own business was never a dream of mine. However, after giving birth to my son just over 18 months ago my life and my dreams changed dramatically. My pregnancy was in part exciting and wonderful but it was also many parts stressful and anxiety ridden. I ended my relationship halfway through my pregnancy and faced the road ahead as a single mother with optimism.

During the last trimester I decided to enroll in an independent childbirth preparation course as I found the hospital class I did to be very clinical. It offered little information on how to manage labour (apart from medication which I wasn’t sure I wanted), and it left me feeling a bit lost and unsure. All that changed after completing a Lamaze course. I went from a headspace of fear and uncertainty about the birth process to one of complete empowerment and awe. I learnt to fully trust my body’s ability to birth normally and safely and  my fear was replaced with excitement and confidence. I came to understand what I could do to help myself through the labour pain using various comfort measures, I came to understand that pain does NOT mean suffering, I knew how to advocate for my preferences with my care providers and I understood what to expect physically, emotionally and practically in the early postpartum period. It was a complete game changer for me!

The Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices for a safe, healthy normal birth (which are adapted from the World Health Organisation recommendations) were used throughout my labour and birth and because of all I had learnt in my classes I was able to have a normal vaginal delivery without assistance. From the time my waters broke and early contractions started to the time of delivery was 40 hours, so it was tiring, but every bit was in my control, every bit I felt empowered, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I came out of that experience transformed and I know now first hand just how powerful we women are. Just how capable and strong. Unfortunately over the last 100 years our Western culture has eroded women’s belief in themselves and eroded their self confidence to birth normally. When birth moved to hospitals early last century we gave away our power and control to doctors. Interventions lead to more interventions, and though they are thought to keep birth, mother, and baby safe, when performed unnecessarily they in fact do the opposite. Hollywood sitcoms and movies portraying birth as a medical emergency requiring bright lights and doctors and a rush to get baby out have also sent subliminal messages to us from a young age that birth should be feared.

After my own empowering experience I knew I needed to spread the word and help other women be as confident in themselves and trusting in their bodies as the Lamaze classes had made me. Tanya Strusberg, from birthwell birthright in Melbourne, (whom taught me) began training other Lamaze educators soon after my baby was born so I jumped at the chance to train under her. I’m so passionate about the Lamaze philosophy of birth and as an organisation they are world class, having been around since 1960. Their practices are based on current best medical and scientific evidence and their belief is that women have an innate ability to birth. I am now a Certified Lamaze Childbirth Educator and run my own independent childbirth preparation classes through Empowering Births Australia in Sydney. I’m so excited to pass my passion on to other expecting parents!

The Launch: how did you start out in the beginning?
It is still the beginning! I have taught one private class at the end of last year and the couple had a beautiful baby girl just after Christmas. I have also held workshops at my work for a few pregnant women on comfort techniques during labour and on breastfeeding. My next group class will be in Bondi Junction on 20/21 May 2017.

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