Part 1 – Creative ways of making Space for the Baby

The most beautiful and inspiring birth workshop I’ve ever attended. Thanks for providing such a warm and safe place where we learned so much about the art of midwifery. You passed on treasures of knowledge. I was also loved and honoured as a woman and was able to release old suppressed feelings. Gabi


Enlightening, awakening, inspiring, respectful, comforting, and most of all nourishing. The workshop was so moving. I feel it gave me not only skills for my birthwork, but skills for life! Lisa


Excellent presentation. I loved the energy, the space, the information, the honesty and the time shared. Kate Perham, mother & midwife


Fantastic and transforming – a new beginning! I enjoyed the exercises to teach women I work with, and learning so much more about the pelvis and our wonderful birthing bodies than I ever knew. Sue


Blown away! I have learnt an incredible amount of information – it has been a revelation! I am inspired and look forward to integrating the info into my pratice. Gabby


I enjoyed filling up the toolbox, doing the exercises and hands-on, and the focus on the difference you can make by just being lovingly present. Kylie


Great workshop. So glad I came. Good pace, good balance between listen & learn and hands on practice and exploration. Ulrike, mother, yoga teacher and birth educator


It opened up the other side of midwifery within me that I kept mainly to myself the last 2 years. Ulyana, mother & midwife


Excellent! So much info, so inspiring, so useful! Ellie Young, mother and birth support


Wonderful. Full of lots of information, very opening. Spiritual, practical, gentle. Robin


It was a most blissful, enlightening, educational, nurturing space and time. I learnt a lot, and it built my confidence to give things a go. Erika, mother & doula


Your dynamic together is magical. Wonderful and generous wisdom. Abundant humour. Truly a safe space. I loved having the time and space to follow the organic exploration of what came up in the workshop. And I especially loved the pelvic anatomy. Melody, midwife


You have re-ignited my passion for working in birth and helped me learn what I can bring to my work. Amber


Part 1 Byron Bay July 2011

I learned countless new skills and a deeper understanding of touch and bodywork, many different techniques to share with mama and partner to enhance the birth experience – emotionally, physically and professionally for all involved. Anon


Very valuable to have a feeling sense of the work and be able to integrate it into my body. Very well presented with humour, generosity, openness and with rich stories of women. Liana, body worker


When I take it all into my own body, I understand and can then translate that into my own feelings, words, and thoughts. It has been incredibly life-changing – really hit me when I got home. Jemma, mother & doula


I learned about the relationship between the sacrum and the cervix. Leanne, mother & midwife


Absolutely beautiful! Well structured. Flowing gracefully from topic to topic in a really welcoming and encouraging way. The experiential work not only helped me to understand, value and remember the wisdom shared but it also dropped me deeper and deeper into comfortable loving connection with all the women here. Essential! I learned a loving way of connecting and approaching touch with women. All about the pelvis and how much glorious space we have in there, the magic as well of how it can open, dissolving beyond what we may think is possible. Juliette


It really was one of the most nurturing and truly inspiring workshops I have ever attended, and I learnt so much on both a professional and personal level.

It made me realise that there is always so much more to learn and explore in the rich tapestry of working with women and birth. At times, I have to admit, I felt a little naive that I had not really deeply explored some of this area of work before, but it is exciting that there is always more to learn.

I think to have shared both giving and receiving the various techniques and body skills with different partners helped to consolidate the learning and make me feel more confident about using the techniques in my practice. I know I can be a bit strong handed at times and it helped me appreciate how effective you can be with the softest touch. It was also interesting to feel how different everyone’s bodies are – helps to create a better awareness of the many variations in normal women’s bodies.

When I initially booked into the workshop, I have to be honest I thought to myself how are we going to fill three full days on this topic? I think you both did well to cover everything you did within the time frame, and so beautifully presented. To me the workshop never felt rushed.

Personally, the workshop had a very deep and profound effect on me. I had know idea until then that I had buried the trauma of my own birth experiences so deep. I’m not really sure what caused the release but I have to say I feel like a new person. It is hard to find the words to describe the transformation I have been through in the last week. I am feeling lighter, more open, my senses heightened … Ti, mother and midwife


Geelong – Part 1 April 2012

Oh my goodness, this workshop has completely changed so many aspects of my career. I had so many lightbulb moments. The experiential component made the ‘doing’ learning so fantastic! I found the 3 days really worthwhile with a relaxed but steady pace of learning. I intend to educate every woman I work with on every aspect of this workshop, and I will be recommending this course to everyone. Christine Collins, midwife


I can truly ‘see’ the pelvis and all the myriad interconnected muscles. I get it. I know it in my frame, but now I know it in my hands. I love the work. I love what you both bring and how both your unique essences alchemise into the most blood-n-guts, sublime, neo earth birthing wisdom Australia has to offer. Blessings to you from both my heart and womb. Nel Da Silva, mother & doula


How deep the knowledge and skill touched my heart and shifted my pelvis and awakened me on many levels when I didn’t think I was asleep! I was totally absorbed in the 3 days. Kerry Marshall, acupuncturist & doula


Bloody awesome! You two work in complete synergy. Perfect for us visual learners. May you never grow old and stop sharing your wisdom! Lyndelle Anson, mother & doula


Fabulous. Bloody Fabulous! I am in love with this information. I hope to get to a place where I can be in love with doing this work (not just on myself). Just amazing stuff! The power of the simplicity, the gentleness and kindness of the work. The incredible knowledge about our woman bodies. I really got a handle on the structures of the pelvis, and a much better awareness of the ecology of the interconnection. And starting to feel like I am getting a grasp on the subtle movements observable. Claire Millman, mother


Beautiful for tactile learners. Allows mistakes, guidance and great learning’s from arms full of wisdom. I learned many physical skills – accessing my own womb, pelvic structure, breath..Stephanie Pollock, mother, doula, bodyworker


I have overwhelming excitement about the potential for women who birth from here on in, that I may share some piece(s) of this special information. The wonderful analogies and personal experiences helped make sense of the intricacies of anatomical potential. I’m definitely a hands-on learner so it was a great way to absorb technique as well as be on the receivers end. The power of touch! It worked!. Louise Thornton, mother & midwife


Oh my God, why didn’t I know this before? So very valuable and necessary. I hope to apply this knowledge to all women I work with. Not just pregnant women. All women. Honour your body, don’t be afraid to explore, touch and feel your body. Allison Griffin, mother and midwife


I have just relished in a weekend workshop of ‘birth work’ with Fiona Hallinan & Jenny Blyth, along with 7 wonderful passionate open women. WOW! I have a newfound wonder and respect for my inner self and body of womanhood and am delighted that I have a new understanding and homage for women whom I will work with in my future as midwife, ‘with woman’, with birth.

Fiona and Jenny shared so much with us. Their gentle demeanor in educating us, the obvious passion and belief that they have for their work and the women they work with, love and care about, is so pronounced it was easily absorbed by us all.

We spent Friday hearing about one another and what our journey was thus far with women/birth/motherhood/life. We learnt about the evolution of Fiona and Jenny’s work and heard stories and experiences along the way that allowed us to understand how this birthwork had helped so many women and couples achieve positive and empowering births. In the afternoon we worked together with some breathing exercises that are so simple but that really made me aware of the power of touch and not only touch in a physical sense, but the amazing effect it can have when given in a way that is gentle, intentional and with love. Personally I consider touch an integral part of my work, however, having done this work, I feel I have so much more to give through this simple yet so important method of providing care. By communicating with woman when she is experiencing a level of discomfort or to enable her to rest between (I’m talking specifically labour – although this is wonderful whenever!), using breath and touch, the release I felt myself as well as with my partner (thanks Christine!) doing this exercise was profound. This really was just the beginning!

The pelvis – our sacred space, a remarkable piece of equipment that we happen to have, it would seem we know so little about. Often with birth, and as an educator I am culprit, we look at bones. The bones of the pelvis and how the baby comes through those bones. Well, I learnt a lot about the pelvis this weekend, and what an amazing set up we as women have. We were taken on a journey through the whole entire pelvis in all it’s glory – alignment (posture&balance) / muscle / soft tissue / ligaments / catilage / nerves / curves and arches. We mapped our pelvis by personally feeling our own bony prominances and feeling the space between. We learnt about our ‘ANATOMICAL POTENTIAL’ and through touch and acknoweldgement, awareness and an honouring of what we have and what we can work with, the space that can become available is remarkable.

We learnt about the pelvic floor, the vastness of this sheath of muscle and where it lies anatomically. The focus that society holds around us having strong control and to perhaps tuck our tails in and hold our tummies taut. Does this really help us? The difference between tone and tension. This is profound also. We can have tone, but are we holding tension and how can we help ourselves/others to release tension in order to allow our babies down and through. As well I personally have a new knowledge about the extent of the perineum and perineal body. It is so much more than the band of muscle between the vagina and anus, it has depth and intricacies I never knew. We practiced using visualisation and breath to access our internal space by way of imagining a clock and moving around our pelvis from above looking down and attending to the ligaments and structures that hold our womb, cervix, birth canal, our core / our ‘rose’ in place, suspended and present.

There was the introduction of the Rebozo – a mexican shawl, used traditionally to prepare the mother for birth, help correct the position of the baby, and relalx her during labour (Sunday I arrived to find everyone present and busy practising their Rebozo stuff. Different techniques to help with different labour/birth scenarios. The feeling of the Rebozo on your body felt like a safety net, it is a very nurturing supportive feeling.

When we work with women around pregnancy and birth women come with life, and life brings different journeys to each, so for me this circle of sharing was useful to help understand that any tension that can be felt may be long held tension and that with this knowledge of birthwork, we as carers may enable release of this tension to allow birth and an openness/willingness to bring baby into the world.

I was at times challenged by the ability to be present with women whom I may care for without knowing them prior to labour, this came up a lot for me. The ability to tap in to that woman’s needs in a short time is something that we do our best at, but it can be a great challenge. We want to impart our knowledge that can help them immensely, but can we connect and touch in a way that there can be trust and a sense of safety. Jenny and Fiona understood my concerns (I don’t think I was alone), however, there are ways, and by being honest and checking in with the woman, asking the woman is this ok, tell me, I have something to try that might change that discomfort you have, shall we see if it helps, it will be intense but when you bring your breath down into your pelvis we can work to open for your baby…for example. I found this use of language, honesty and the use of touch and acknowledgment of breath all great ways that will be sure to help me in my work with women to come.

To finish up on Sunday Jenny and Fiona took us through a ‘closing’ ritual with the use of the Rebozo. What a gift to women. A gentle nurturing act, a beautiful farewell gesture to the birthing woman, bringing the mother back to herself, physically, energetically and symbolically (taken from Jenny & Fiona’s notes). This gesture works on the woman from feet up and really is very symbolic of wrapping/swaddling the woman. She has opened to allow her baby out and now she can be supported back to self comfort. A loving acknowledgement that she, emotionally and physically, has opened to birth. Hmmmm

Oh, this Birthwork wisdom IS what women want and what EVERY MIdwife/Doula/Birthworker MUST know. Louise Thornton


Part 2 – Creative Ways of making Space for the Baby

 Vine & Branches, Melbourne, 14-16th November

Beautifully presented, warm, humble, humorous. Magnificent teaching and exploration through ‘women’s’ way of knowing. Melody – midwife


The level of nurturing and self-care so awesome. Kerry


I loved learning more about the pelvis and woman’s potential, the balance of learning new things, applying them, the self-nurturing and the secure sacred space. Simply, I am profoundly touched by what you both have shared. Robin – mother, birth support


The Stonehouse, Gympie 25-27th November 2011

Brilliant as always. Fun, loving and the nurturing a bonus. I learned about gentle trauma release, sacred space work, faja wearing, psoas release and women’s self-help and healing. Liz – mother, grandmother & doula


Informative, funny, nurturing, nourishing. There is only so far you can go reading. This experience has been invaluable. I learned to listen to the intuitive messages my body is giving me, trust my fingers, and develop greater awareness in relating. It was all really accessible and easy on lots of levels. Perfect length of time. Jessie – mother & midwife


Wonderful relaxed environment conducive to learning. Great fun and wonderful stories from Fi which helped to illustrate the teaching. Hopefully there will be a part 3. Sally Morison – mother, grandmother & birth educator


I’m coming away energized and brimming with new information. This really feels like learning that can’t be adequately gotten from ‘book learning’. This really is exactly what I’ve been yearning to learn. I came away from Part 1 excites but unsure about practically applying the information I feel much more confident now. Ela Forest – mother, birth educator & attendant


So accessible. Wonderful demonstrations. Opened up some great discussions. This information needs to be experienced. I learn this way – doing, touching, feeling. I have a much deeper understanding of the work through practising it.  This all integrates easily with the work that I am doing. Jemma – mother, yoga teacher, birth support


What a treat! Retreat! Learnt heaps, rested well, slept well. Great workshop!

I appreciated the building of trust and listening to the body. I loved the practical hands-on nature of the work, and the healing work. Felt like this is what we humans are meant to spend our days doing. Suzanne Swan – mother, yoga teacher, birth educator


Life changing! Beyond valuable! Stephy – mother, bodyworker


Literally sensational! Superbly presented. The relaxed sharing feel was a beautiful way to learn. I learned to approach myself with as much love, respect and tenderness as I would another woman. I’m eager to share and pass on this knowledge so as to keep it alive. Juliette


Informative, inspiring, supportive, nourishing… and just bloody beautiful!

I personally don’t think I would’ve had the insights without the experiential component. I now have different anatomical understandings, self-care tools, and a deeper attunement to listening to the body’s needs. Andrea – mother, Maya Abdominal Massage therapist & bodyworker


Brilliant and very well rounded. I feel we covered a lot of great stuff. The experiential component was invaluable both to feel the work in my own body and have the opportunity to practise it on other women – with lots of feedback and support. I know it will enhance my ability to care for women who come my way. Penny Burrows – mother & birth support


Part 2 – Creative Ways of making Space for the Baby

The Stonehouse, Gympie 3-5th May 2013

Wonderful new bodywork techniques to compliment the ones I already have.  The pelvic balancing was a real revelation and opposite to other bodywork I’ve learnt. Really exciting! Simi – bodyworker, pregnant mama


A warm and inclusive setting, a wealth of knowledge and resources, provided more links to further my knowledge base in beneficial directions. Bethany – birthworker


Love how it is unhurried, comes from thorough research, real practice and experience – wisdom. Love the true stories told and the emotion. I intend to teach my daughter this work and I hope to offer it to women at work who I am meeting for the first time and in the moment. Sue Curtis – midwife & mama


It was dynamic and engaging. Great balance of content and practice. The work is simple but not easy to master without practice. Deepening the overall philosophy of gentle, woman focused care. Anne – doula


Professional, spacious, nurturing, informative, gentle, connection. Super-valuable…been wanting to do something like this for years. I enjoyed the time to come and immerse in this women’s work for a while. Thank you so much for bringing women together and sharing the wisdom. Jaime – bodyworker & pregnant mama


Absolutely wonderful, relaxed, safe, warm, entertaining and easily digestible. Explained easily and in ways that made complete sense. Today I walk away feeling like I can use these skills confidently. Lee Rudder – doula & pregnant mama


I completely loved the immersion of the 3 days. To be soaked in such a beautiful sacred space was a blessing. Marni – doula & mama


Part 1 – Creative Ways of making Space for the Baby

Melbourne, The Australian Shiatsu College 8-10 June 2013

The course exceeded my expectations and answered some very deep personal questions. The information was humbly, inclusively and passionately delivered. Excellent! I feel it was a true gift and a deep spiritual and physical awakening.

So much was passed on but it never felt like a barrage, or overload of information. Gently, confidently and openly delivered – a beautiful held space of learning, sharing, and discovery.

I loved the opportunity to work with a pregnant woman and feel how robust her body was, and the type of pressure to use was a gift. So much passes through physical experience. I learned how to honour and nurture a pregnant woman and in doing so honour and nurture myself. I learned how to open the pelvis, create space, enable couples to explore the vaginal birth space non-sexually, rebozo, and assisting a woman to involute after birth – to be nurtured, held and restored. Delise Oldfield


I loved it and wanted it to go on and on and on. Extremely rich and most valuable.

Increased awareness of holding and softening, understanding the pelvis and the muscles and ligaments that make it up. Gentle, sensitive, normalized approach – non glamourised. I relished all the pelvic work. Sarah Goldberg


Well structured. Very practical. To feel and have the opportunity to attempt all the exercises have given me the confidence to go and do this with mothers and their partners. I’ve learned to be more gentle, present and with the process. The knowledge is invaluable. I definitely feel like the ‘pennies have dropped’. Anon


Such a beautiful group of women. Wonderful, insightful information. Lots of information balanced with the time to take it all in and practical work to integrate it.

For me the experiential component was the best part, to be able to cement it in my body and feel that it goes to a different level. I especially felt I got a deeper understanding of the pelvis and how this all works during birth. Loved the pelvic mapping and helping understand the make-up of individual pelvises. I think this work will be lovely to include with my shiatsu as well as with doula clients and especially for myself and own pregnancy journey. Anon