After being told that she would struggle to conceive naturally due to health issues, Michelle Daga turned to nutrition to assist her on her journey into motherhood. She then discovered hypnobirthing, yoga, chiropractic and doula support to help her achieve the empowered birth she desired. This positive experience inspired her to help other women. She became a certified doula, lactation consultant and hypnobirthing practitioner and launched her business, Birthwrite, offering women nutrition and holistic health services through preconception, pregnancy, postpartum and beyond.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business and how did you start out in the beginning?
BirthWrite is the culmination of my work as a Nutritionist and my calling as a birthworker and Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner.
I’m actually a journalist and copywriter by trade, and it was my journey with coeliac disease and food allergies that led me to start blogging about living gluten free seven years ago, and later developing recipes and publishing a cookbook with my now husband Jahmin. People started turning to us for help, and as I already spent my spare time researching health and nutrition, the natural next step was to train as a nutritionist.
I started working in the fields of coeliac disease and food allergies, practising as The Gluten Free Nutritionist. And then as I shared online about my own fertility journey unfolding, I found myself attracting clients wanting support with preconception, pregnancy and postpartum too.
Due to having coeliac disease, endometriosis and PCOS, I had been told by doctors I would struggle to get pregnant naturally, and would probably need IVF. I knew nutrition had the power to change that story for me, and it did. So I documented my pregnancy and homebirth, and how I used nutrition, hypnobirthing, yoga, chiropractic and the support of a doula to achieve an empowered birth. This life-changing, transformative and positive pregnancy and birth experience was so different to all the negative stories I had grown up with, the narratives of pain and trauma we all see on TV and in movies, and that my own mother had experienced. By studying and researching, I had the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions. And once my baby arrived, I knew I wanted to help other people take back their power in pregnancy and birth and experience an empowered birth on their terms.
I became a certified doula, lactation counsellor and Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner in early 2020, and launched BirthWrite to bring together these offerings with nutrition and natural health support for pregnancy and beyond. I’m now also training as a prenatal and postpartum yoga teacher to bring even more offerings to the parents I support.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
There have been times I’ve felt like I’m being pulled in all different directions, running a cloud-based copywriting business, a telehealth nutrition clinic, and offering online hypnobirthing workshops and prenatal and postpartum health support.
But as time has progressed, I’ve realised that my businesses have evolved as I have, and they are all connected by my love of writing and communication, my interest in food as medicine and my passion for helping others.
Now it feels like less of a battle and more of a collaboration. And I’m so grateful to have the freedom and flexibility to work from home and be a mum while helping other people.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I’ve been in lockdown in Melbourne for the past six months with my now one-year-old son – so he’s spent half his life in isolation. To say it’s been a challenge is an understatement. We’re only allowed outside for one hour a day so we’ve definitely all got cabin fever and it’s hard to keep a little one stimulated in this environment. There are some days where I simply can’t get to my work during the day with the demands of caring for a curious, energetic toddler, but the beauty of working from home means I can work at night. The other silver lining of the pandemic is my husband has been home more, so he takes care of cooking and cleaning and parenting while I focus on looking after my clients. Nurturing people through pregnancy, parenting and navigating allergies has been more important than ever during this time where so many people are feeling isolated and alone.