I’ve been working with natural birth for over 30 years, supporting women through pregnancy, birth and early parenting in SE Queensland, Australia. I am endlessly inspired by the mothers and families I serve; by ongoing interest in bodywork and touch; by Buddhist philosophy and psychology; and by the fact of our precious existence on our precious planet.
In 1994 I initiated the annual Women’s Dreaming Camp – designed to cultivate joy and self-expression through combining eco and adventure therapy with performance and creative art. It has been running now for 18 years.
For the last 10 years I have presented Birthwork Workshops. These wisdom-in-action workshops explore the many facets of working with birth. They also promote the reality of peaceful and compassionate birth through growing self-awareness & skills. They are open to midwives, doulas, parents-to-be, and bodyworkers – in fact anybody!
I also run Birthwork Workshops with the wonderful Fiona Hallinan. Together we facilitate the experiential Parts 1 & 2 – Creative Ways of Making Space for the Baby. We love teaching together, and we enjoy the immensely rewarding dynamic created by having a mix of professionals and parents and support people – interacting, touching, and communicating with each other. We are also excited to be passing on what has been invaluable to us.
With filmmaker Alieta Belle, I have co-created 2 films about natural birth called The Big Stretch and The Big Stretch Sequel.
My two books Birthwork and The Down to Earth Birth Book came about because when I’m not driving about the countryside, I live a quiet life in the bush. And I also happen to be methodical. Both these conditions are conducive to picking away at projects uninterrupted. My life partner Warren and I now have 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren.
After the awesome birth my first child, I was inspired to make a creative Birth Film, centred around sharing the core insights women receive as they experience pregnancy and birth. I remember a woman telling me that she didn’t experience birthing as ‘pain’ but as a ‘nice stretch’ and hence the title of the film(s) was born… ‘The Big Stretch’ speaks of how we can transform perceived ideas of birth, share our experiences and find avenues that inspire and encourage satisfying birth experiences. It has been a fantastic journey working with Jenny Blyth to create these two films over many years. A strong part of my creative energy is spent being the mother of 3 beautiful children!
I have a background in Visual Arts, and over 15 years experience producing digital video and editing projects with media studio Earth Base Productions. My focus has been to create projects with intrinsic cultural value. See www.earthbase.net.au.
I believe the Big Stretch and Big Stretch Sequel (co-created with Jenny Blyth) are both works of art and a valuable offering to the world.
I came into the world of birth in 1989.
After realizing that I could no longer work in palliative care as a young nurse crying every day, I was directed to midwifery by a wise nurse manager. She told me to become a midwife ‘where it’s 99% happy and 1% sad’. So I did. And I’ve never looked back.
I have worked in private and public midwifery settings and then settled into private practice. I was involved in graduate midwifery programs in hospitals for some years.
I love birth and I love teaching. I am unashamedly proud of being a pelvic geek. My dear trusted friend, Jenny Blyth and I have been teaching Birthwork Workshops for many years on our own and now enjoy each others company and perspectives when we teach together. We teach Birthwork Part 1 & 2.
Our workshops are deliberately 3 days where enough time is given to allow integration of the information. Our focus is on coming together as women to learn about our own bodies. When we understand our own birthing goods we can share this understanding with birthing women, rather than ‘do things’ to birthing women.
I also teach Internal Vaginal Massage to women preparing for birth; to women healing from birth; to women with trauma unrelated to birth; to women who are curious about their ‘sacred space’. This work is taught in a private environment 1:1 or with a woman’s partner present.
Jen has been nagging me for some time now to write about this beautiful work! So watch this space…
I live a fast Melbourne life with my husband and teenage children.
Stef Arvanitakis loves working with people of all ages & helping create experiences that remind us of preciousness of who we are & the value of tending to & lovingly caring for the bodies we inhabit.
Stef has been involved in birth work for 18 years.
She is committed to upholding the sacred nature of birth & providing birthing families with knowledge, nurture & empowerment to support them getting the most from their childbearing experience.
She supports birthing families in the capacity of a birth attendant/doula & childbirth educator, & facilitates a monthly Birth Circle for pregnant women & mothers with babes in arms.
Stef has always placed great emphasis upon the value of loving touch which has inspired her delving into different fields of traditional bodywork over the past 12 years. She interweaves Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Hot Stone Massage, Maya Abdominal Therapy & her many years of Birthwork training into her bodywork services.
Stef also teaches The Internal Work to women at any life stage & is ever inspired by the deep healing & transformation that this simple yet profound practice can offer.
She has been involved in Birthwork training for the past twelve years, as a student & as an assistant.