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Welcome to this edition of the Melis ‘With Intent’ podcast, featuring local endorsed midwife, Loralee Worrall, who since the age of nine, had a ‘knowing’ she would help women birth, and just this past year, facilitated 44 home births. Loralee’s an advocate for empowering women to birth with confidence, love and respect, at their chosen location. She’s also a mother of four and quite simply a remarkable woman. During our beautiful conversation, you will feel the depth and breadth of Loralee’s knowledge and the weighted responsibility she feels to help transform women’s birthing experiences. If you’re preparing for birth and/or healing from past births, I know you will benefit from listening. It was truly an honor to spend time with Loralee. I hope you enjoy listening.
Good afternoon Loralee, thank you so much for joining us today.
Thank you so much for having me, Melissa.
I’m always amazed with these podcasts and the timings, things just seem to come into my realm at exactly the right time. And we’ve had a little bit of a private chat about certain aspects of the maternity system and birthing, and I’m super excited to share your personal experience and your wealth of knowledge on the topic. I just wanted to give everyone a bit of an overview of your background and the knowing you had at a young age to help women birth. You also had a bit of a fascination with the reproductive system. Could you please share your background and your inspiration for pursuing a path in midwifery?
Yes. So I’m originally from Canada. Growing up, I don’t think I really knew the word midwife. I just knew from a very young age, that I wanted to be with women while they were birthing. So I had a lot of dreams about being with women, I would write a lot of stories about being with women, in creative writing class, and in high school, I absolutely loved human biology and the reproductive system. So it was a natural progression and midwifery actually in Canada at the time, wasn’t a recognized profession, so my pathway into working with women was to do my nursing. So I ended up doing a nursing degree, and a nursing degree in Canada is four years, and a year and a half of that was spent working in maternity and I just felt right at home. I knew that that’s what I wanted to do.
When I finished university, I ended up working in lots of different places around the world. I worked in India, I worked all over Canada, I worked in various indigenous communities in Australia, and I worked in not just maternity, I worked in a variety of settings, but I just always felt most at home when I was working with women through the birthing journey.
That’s quite remarkable. How old were you when you would have the dreams about birthing and helping women?
I think I was in elementary school, probably grade four, or five, six, and I remember writing stories, probably starting to write stories in grade seven, eight.
And did you share that with your mum or your parents or anyone, teachers?
Certainly teachers, I think my parents would have had an awareness, but my mum was really grossed out by blood, so she wouldn’t be able to really listen to me talking about what I was interested in. So it was just something, I think within myself, that I just knew and followed, ended up just following that pathway.
Fantastic. Doulas seem to becoming more popular providing aid to women during pregnancy and at their birth. I personally chose to birth with a doula for my second birth, after feeling disappointed with the hospital system. What’s the difference between yourself as an endorsed midwife, and a doula?
So a doula is not necessarily a trained professional, there’s no training that’s required to become a doula, anyone could act as a doula. And so a doula would support emotionally, physically, women in pregnancy, throughout the labor, sometimes doulas offer services to support mums after the birth. But it’s that emotional support, I suppose, and doing really helpful things like helping out with other kids, or even the laundry, or cooking meals, or rubbing mum’s back, or making sure mum stays hydrated in labor, those are the sorts of things that a doula would do. A midwife is more responsible for clinical care or medically looking after women. And as an endorsed midwife, what that refers to is we’ve done extra training so that we can write referrals for pathology, radiology, we can prescribe medications related to pregnancy, and also we can claim Medicare for some of our services. So of course we’re also emotionally looking after women, but it’s medically making sure that mum and baby are safe.
You facilitated 44 home births last year, and mentioned during our private chat, that home births have been increasing year on year, and especially since COVID, you’re also booked out eight months in advance. Can you share your view on why there’s an increase, or why you’re personally seeing an increase in a demand for your services?
I think there’s a few things. I think in the last several years, the hospitals around the world, in first world countries, have had increasing amounts of intervention, the caesarian section has been getting higher and higher, and women are becoming just dissatisfied, wanting more choice around the birth, wanting to avoid unnecessary intervention. So I think that’s part of it. With COVID, I think women became aware that hospitals are potentially incubators for germs, not just COVID, but lots of other germs, and perhaps didn’t want to expose themselves or their baby to COVID or other germs that would potentially be in the hospital.
The other thing with COVID was that there has been, with the different lockdowns, there’s been restrictions on how many birth support people women can bring to hospital with them. So if you want to have your partner and your mum, or your partner and a doula, you all of a sudden weren’t able to bring that team into hospital to support you. And for some women that’s really important to have not just their partner, but to have their sister or their grandma or a doula or other people in the birth room supporting them.
That makes sense. There’s a documentary out called Birth Time, it’s about three women who go on the road for a period of four years, interviewing women, their partners and experts about their birthing experiences. A friend told me about it, I’ve only seen the trailer, but there were some pretty significant statistics in that, which resonated with me personally, and I’m sure is resonating with a lot of women. It’s being called a groundbreaking documentary. A third of the women describe their birth experience as traumatic. I think they said 33% of women needed a caesarian section, or they had a caesarian section, and I think evolutionary biologists were really struggling to digest this statistic.
It was quite beautiful in that it showed women being very vulnerable. You’ve seen the documentary, it’s Australian, so it’s very close to home. And the whole theme of it is rediscovering the power of birth and hoping for women and the maternity system to shift dramatically from the current system. What was your view on the film?
I found it’s quite confronting. It shows women who have gone through the hospital system and had a particularly disempowering experience, and then for the next pregnancy, they move on and find a different model of care. And you see them move through those journeys and you see how healing it is to have a peaceful birth, and there’s a saying, peaceful birth brings peace on earth. When you have mothers who are at peace and feel empowered by their birth experience, it makes all the difference to potentially how they interact with their newborn, how they bond with their baby, how they move forward in the world.
So I think this documentary is reflective of women’s dissatisfaction with the maternity system as it stands. And we do have a really high cesarean section rate, the average in this country is roughly 33%, but there’s some hospitals who have a cesarean section up to 60, 70%, which is unreasonable. The World Health Organization suggests that cesarean section rates shouldn’t be more than 10 to 15%.
So why have we as women lost our connection to our abilities, our innate abilities, why is this happening? That’s a big question.
It’s a loaded question, but care. And I’m not anti-hospital at all, the hospital is there for a reason and there’s a time and a place, and there’s certainly women who really do need to birth in hospital and to benefit from that extra layer of support. But there’s a lot of … it’s like we intervene and then we cause complications by those interventions, and then we have to perform more interventions to outweigh the complications that we’ve already created, and it’s the cascades, it’s the cascade of intervention is what we call it. And one intervention can potentially lead to another, can lead to another, can lead to another.
And in the Birth Time documentary trailer, there was a big quote saying how this documentary is a shocking insight into the betrayal of women. And I assume that’s talking about the hospital system and the maternity system. My previous podcast interviewee Melanie Dufty, author of the book called, I Am Lilith, which explored domination between the sexes. And in the afterward of her book she made a comment about the patriarchy deciding women would birth in the supine position. I’d never considered men influencing how women birth, but when I thought about it, historically doctors were predominantly male and made the decisions in the hospitals, hence they would heavily influence how women birth. How did we evolve to birth in a hospital bed supine, with our legs in stirrups and this conditioning that it had to be painful and it is painful and all these interventions being required?
So good question. When you look at paintings or sculptures, like ancient, ancient paintings of women birthing, they’re always in a standing, squatting, sitting position, they’re in an upright position using gravity to help them birth. In midwifery textbooks, there’s some conversation around King Louis, the XIV, who was the king of France and the late 1600s, early 1700s, and he had a obsession with watching women birth. He had 22 himself from his wife and mistresses. And at the time, women would traditionally birth on birthing stools, but he felt that that obstructed his view of being able to watch the birth. So he was insisting that his wives or his women, would lay on their backs with their legs laid apart so that he could watch. And there’s paintings and photos of King Louis, the XIV behind a curtain peeking into the birth room, watching the birth, with these women on their backs.
And this also coincided with the time that doctors were starting to create instruments to help deliver the babies. And so they wanted to use not just their hands, but these instruments to extract the baby. And so of course, using instruments, much easier to do with a woman lying on her back with her legs apart or in stirrups, than in any other position, obviously. And then as the world became more industrialized, things were moving, birth was moving from home to hospitals. So in the 1900s, there was approximately half of women who would birth at home, half were birthing in the hospital. By 1930s, there was only about 15% who were birthing at home, and the rest of the women were birthing in hospital. And now, and certainly for the last, probably 20, 30 years, less than 1% of the population in Australia births at home.
Less than 1%.
Less than 1%.
And that leads me to another question, there are certain stigmas attached to home birthing and people, including other women, can be quite judgmental of couples and women choosing to home birth. So what are the common misconceptions about home birthing and why have these stigmas emerged?
I think possibly the misconception is that if a woman chooses to birth at home, she’s choosing not to have any medical care. And there are women who choose to birth unassisted, without any midwife or anyone with them or anyone medically trained. But most women who have a home birth, have a trained midwife that’s with them, who essentially brings a miniature hospital to the home, rather than bringing the woman to the hospital.
I know the way I practice is I always make sure that women are booked into hospitals, so that if we do have to transfer into hospital, the hospital has all of her information. I keep in touch with the hospital and with the on-call doctor throughout the labor and keep them up to date with how things are progressing. I’m letting them know if I’m happy with things or if I’m not happy, so if we do have to shift into hospital, then it’s quite a seamless process. But I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand that when you’re choosing to birth at home with a midwife, you still are receiving monitoring and the medical care for both the mum and the baby.
And do you mind sharing of the 44 home births last year, how many had to go into hospital versus had a peaceful … or in your view, the mum’s or the couples view, the birth went to plan?
Yes. So just from memory, I think my statistics were, I think it was 38 out of 44 ended up being at home.
Wow. Congratulations, that’s amazing.
The majority of them, and then there was a couple of births that were actually planned hospital birth. So women who just for whatever reason, chose to birth in hospital with me, rather than at home. So then there was four that required some sort of intervention, I can’t quite remember exactly, but whether they ended up just going in for pain relief or having an instrumental birth, I think there was one or two that ended up having a cesarean section, but it was low numbers that actually required that sort of intervention.
So talk us through, if you will, the process of someone engaging with you, up until the process of their birth and the aftercare, and the success factors. And I know success can be a hospital birth, and you’ve explained to me before that your view of success is a woman being empowered in her decisions around her birth, the way she births. Can you walk us through the process of someone engaging with you, and success in terms of a woman feeling empowered and the birth experience not being traumatic?
So engaging with me, so most women will be in touch with me as soon as they know that they’re pregnant. Because there’s so few midwives in this country who support women to birth at home, you really need to get in quickly. So the first trimester is usually spent just working out what screening activities or screening tests are appropriate for you. So what blood tests you may or may not want to have, what ultrasounds you may or may not want to have. And then I’m just going to …
Loralee just has to take a text message and a call from a doctor, so even when she’s doing a podcast, she’s on call, so I’m just going to pause for a second. Okay, we’ve got Loralee back.
So the first semester is essentially just working out what screening tests are appropriate for you. And that’s different for each family, and I believe that we just need to have a lot of conversation around that, to make the right decisions for you, rather than just blanket testing everybody for everything. And then from 20 ish weeks pregnancy, then I’m seeing people monthly, and then as we get closer to the birth, then I’m seeing them fortnightly, and as we get a bit closer, then I’m seeing women weekly. I see women in their own homes, so rather than going to a GP surgery or an obstetric surgery and having a 10 minute appointment, I come to your home and we usually sit for at least an hour together. So there’s a lot of time for education, conversation, it’s just really important to be building rapport because that rapport and that trust is what really helps support the birth.
And I guess my goal in pregnancy is for women to go into the birth feeling confident. It’s really important that we address any fears that she may have leading up to the birth, or just really make sure that we’re going into it clean.
Can we get into the psyche a little bit, because I had a doula, as I said, for my second and what really shifted my per caption was her description of the contractions, she explained to me as them being waves and one step closer to me meeting my baby. So I had to shift in my brain that it wasn’t pain, and we didn’t mention the word pain, they’re described as waves, and they’re going to get you one step closer to meeting your baby. And that was so powerful just to have it rephrased like that.
Yes. And I think in our society, we think of labor as painful.
It’s all those Hollywood movies.
That’s what we see in the movies, that’s what we know of birth. So shifting our perspective about it and looking at it as something positive. Pain in our culture is something quite negative, we have negative connotations around it. And so it’s a useful sensation, I usually call it sensation, and a real power, I think of the ocean, like when the swell is getting bigger, there’s more energy moving through the ocean, that’s what it’s like when labour is progressing.
An honour, is it an honor for you to be a part of these women’s lives and to witness these births?
Yeah. It’s always an honour. It’s sacred. It’s all very sacred. So I’m looking after women very closely in the pregnancy, and then of course I’m with them for the labour and the birth, and then I look after them for the next six to eight weeks. So in the first week after the birth, I’m seeing them very regularly, just establishing breastfeeding, healing, making sure that their blood loss is within normal range. That first week is really intense after the birth. And then I tend to see women weekly for the next six weeks, weekly or second weekly, it just depends on how they’re going. But my feeling is that no matter what kind of birth you have, whether it’s a straightforward, normal birth, with a tear, without a tear, whether you have a cesarean section, whatever kind of birth, generally you’re physically healed by roughly two weeks. And then women start to have a bit more energy, and this is where I see things go a bit pear shaped. At three weeks, when they’re just out and about and busy and they end up with mastitis or they end up struggling with their milk supply.
And so I’m there to just pull them back, I want them to harness that energy that they have, so that they don’t just physically heal, but their nervous system really has a good chance to heal. So I’m still really encouraging mums to be resting, just resting as deeply as they possibly can, so that by the time they get to six weeks, seven weeks after the birth, they’re really feeling strong. We don’t want a mum to get to six, seven weeks and feel exhausted, we want her to be feeling strong and really thriving.
A dear friend here just had a baby, her third baby, and another friend organized a meal train for her, her mum flew over to be with her, and I went and visited her, took a meal, which was planned. And I was in awe because she was sitting on her couch, the fire was stoked, her mum was like a little fairy doing all the jobs around the house, and she was just sitting with that baby and she looked like a goddess. She just looked so beautiful. It just brings a tear to my eye because it was so beautiful, and she was so nurtured and supported and that baby, as a result, was having a beautiful early existence in this outside world. And I was like, that’s how it should be, but it’s so not for so many of us.
That’s how it should be. There’s more conversation now around not just three trimesters of pregnancy, but there’s talk about the fourth trimester. So the fourth trimester is three months of allowing the baby or giving the baby time to adjust to being outside of the womb. And I think slowly more and more people are becoming conscious of that, more people are becoming aware that we need more than just a few days to heal from a birth, and we really need to rest deeply, eat well, be cared for by those like our family, friends, whoever’s around us. And that looks different for everybody. But I would say most cultures have something in place to support women after the birth for 30 or 40 days. Unfortunately we don’t really have structures, formal structures like that in place in Australia, but it’s gently, slowly coming.
It is, but I still feel like there’s a lot of women out there who think, okay, I’ve birthed, now I’ve got to try and get back to normal. Everything’s got to get back to normal. I’ve got to get on and do everything that I……
Get back to the gym, get back to work.
Yeah. And it’s probably the worst thing we could do for ourselves and our baby. But is that a self-worth, where does that stem from? Is that conditioning or is that our own disconnection from ourselves?
Yeah, I think it’s all of that, and I think it’s how we honour women, how we honour women in our society. We don’t, we don’t really honour women in our society. Women are expected to just get on with it, and we’re just disconnected from the natural rhythms of life, look at the food we eat, birth and life and death, it’s all about ticking boxes and getting on, the sacredness, I suppose, has been taken away from it.
There’s a lot of women who now have cottoned on to having a birth plan or birth preferences, and I talk to them a lot about having a postpartum plan. So we look at who’s around, who are your support systems, what are your resources, who can we pull in? Can we create a meal train? Can we get mum, grandma, or some other mother figure to come in and help support? What friends do you have that could potentially come in and hold the baby for an hour while you go have a shower or go for a quick bit of fresh air outside? What are your values around feeding your baby? Yeah, we have lots and lots of time for conversation about all of that.
Wonderful, wonderful. You spoke about needing a break from midwifery in your early 20s, in our private conversation, because of the trauma you experienced witnessing stillbirths. How do you manage today when the birth doesn’t quite go the way you and/or the mum, parents had hoped?
I guess I’m old enough now to really have a deep understanding that in this world there’s good and bad, if that’s what you need to call it, we all go through really difficult challenges at different times. And I just have so much belief in the human race and our resilience and our capacity to deal with the good, but also deal with the bad. In maternity there’s some really sad things that happen, and there’s some really horrendous things that I watch families go through, but I’ve never seen anyone break completely. We have the ability to move through a really challenging experience and come out of it was a smile on our face, it is possible. And so now, when things happen, I try to have the mental flexibility to reframe it into something positive, and I hope that I can help the families that I work with to do the same.
So that leads me to, I guess, the next question, your own personal tools and rituals to manage demands of your chosen profession and the balance of being a mum of four children, a wife etc. How do you maintain balance?
I think that I’m probably not in balance most of the time. I think there’s that push and pull, and always navigating and watching myself and knowing when I am out of balance and I need to pull back a little bit. But for myself, I just make sure I, for me, I exercise, I have to exercise every day, I run, I get in the water, I surf. I meditate, not every day, but a lot of days. I think one thing that I’m really learning right now is that I think with my work, because I’m around people all the time and it’s very friendly, I feel almost like my social needs can be met by my work, and I can become very socially exhausted at the end of the day. So just have to make it a priority to be with my own friends.
And just to socially be with people that don’t have anything to do with babies.
Well, I imagine you’ve had some pretty good lessons in boundaries, because women and families would put a lot of demands on you, I think, given that there’s no 9:00 to 5:00 around this job at all.
That’s right. That’s right. The lines can easily become blurred. So I just have to make sure that I really put in place, consciously put in place times for me and my family to be together, and for me and my friends to be together as well.
Just getting back to women who have had traumatic births and/or hasn’t gone to plan, I personally had to have an emergency cesarean, and that was eight years ago. And literally two weeks ago, I got to the bottom of an inability to engage some core muscles, and it’s been an ongoing issue. And my yoga practice, I’ve not been able to switch things on and it’s regressed significantly. And I’ve been seeing osteopaths, I’ve been having bowen and I’ve been on this search to physically get fit. And finally, I saw someone who said it was from my cesarean nearly eight years ago, and it was the scar.
The scar tissue, yeah.
And it blew my mind that I hadn’t even considered that. My question is, is it ever too late to heal from births that haven’t gone as planned?
No, my gosh, no. I mean, probably the most, in terms of physical injury, women who suffer from, if they had a bad tear or even if they had multiple children and they suffer with prolapses, whether that’s a urinary prolapse or cervical prolapse or a rectal prolapse. It’s amazing, now I always send women to a physio, a pelvic floor physio within about two months after the birth. But there’s so many women who they just get busy with baby, children, another baby, and then before you know it, 10 years has gone by and you’ve totally ignored your physical issues. So it’s not uncommon, it’s not certainly not unique.
There’s a lot of women that I know, like friends of mine who are in their 40s, 50s, who are only now just starting to get on top of those issues. It’s never too late. And I’d say, pelvic floor. You talked about one third of women being traumatized by their birth, I think that’s another area, that mental health area that sometimes it takes a long time to have the energy to deal with working all that out. We know that in our culture, 20% of women end up with postnatal depression, we don’t know the stats for men for postnatal depression, but we know that they’re susceptible as well. And I think there’s a lot of women, men out there with low-lying or just sub depression and anxiety, that you’re able to cope and carry on with life, but you’re not quite who you were before you had children. And it’s never too late to see someone about that either, to get some help and support around your mental health.
Yeah, we touched on this in our private chat and I just wanted to revisit it because again, just my own personal experience, I experienced severe anxiety in both my pregnancies, and I always thought it was mother nature’s way of saying, okay, you’re going to be a mum, sort yourself out. And then I questioned whether it was hormonal, but you have just explained to me about the nervous system. Can you just explain the why?
Yeah, sure. So we are on high alert when we’re pregnant and certainly after we have our baby, there’s that extra bit of vigilance that we have, and that’s to make sure that we’re safe, that our baby’s safe, it’s primitive, it’s normal. We’re meant to have an extra element of vigilance that we don’t normally have when we’re not pregnant or when we don’t have a newborn baby. But when it becomes a problem is if we don’t keep it in check, if it spirals too high. And so if you have a mum who can’t turn her brain off, or every time a baby makes little squeak, then she’s, “What’s my baby doing, is my baby still breathing? Oh my goodness.” That’s too much, that’s too much of that. And so then if it’s interfering with your ability to regulate yourself and to calm down, that’s when you need to start, I think that I would recommend that you talk to someone or get some sort of help.
Yeah, definitely. Also it’s helpful to know that a little bit of its normal.
It is normal. Yes, it is normal.
That it’s okay. Fortunately, I think getting support around everything to do with birthing in the home, it just seems like we just are left alone far too often. And that the message here is to get support, get as much support around you as you possibly can.
This is big, having a child, giving birth, transitioning to motherhood, it’s big. I think about teenagers going through puberty, that transition happens over several years and they have her teachers and their friends and their parents and they’re not alone or they shouldn’t be alone when they’re going through that. And it’s the same when a mother or maiden is transitioning to mother, we need that same level of support to get her through.
And historically, I guess, in primitive or indigenous cultures, there seems to be more of that support. We’ve just disconnected from that, or we’ve isolated ourselves a lot, I think.
We’re isolated in our nuclear families. So it’s going back and recreating the village.
Recreating the village. I know it’s probably a little bit, this is fraught with a bit of danger, but an ideal birth, you’ve seen a lot of births, what can it be like? So I would like you to frame, a woman that is potentially listening or a couple that could be listening to this, what can it be like?
So I think first of all, I just do not want to get caught up in geography, so I would not say that home birth is the ideal, or I don’t think home is necessarily better than hospital, but what I believe is that a woman who feels loved and respected and is given choice in her birth, I think those are the women that come out feeling not just physically intact, but emotionally intact. I think when we talk about these high statistics of trauma around birth, usually when you speak women about the trauma that they have around their birth, it’s that they felt pushed into decisions that they didn’t necessarily feel comfortable with, or they feel like they weren’t given any choice, or they feel like they weren’t respected, they feel like they were naked in the most vulnerable place that they could possibly be, being surrounded by strangers standing over them, telling them what to do. So I think women who are loved, cared for, respected, whether that’s at home, in a birth pool, whether that’s in a birth suite, whether that’s in theater having a caesarean section.
And it goes back to really what we all want and needs, is to feel loved, to be loved and to be heard as well.
It’s all about that.
If someone listening is planning a pregnancy, what would your, regardless of where they choose to birth, what would your top, say top five things be for them to consider, or the advice from everything that you’ve, I know this is quite a challenging question, but from everything that you’ve learnt, observed and know, what are the top five things you would like to share for people to take heed of?
So first of all, there’s two books that I always recommend, one is Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. And that book was written back in the 70s, it’s very psychedelic, but Ina May, she would be the most famous midwife in the world. And it’s a collection of stories of women who birthed with her, and they’re not all perfect stories, but they’re strong, powerful, empowering stories. So that’s a good one to start out with and you don’t need to read the whole book, it’s a good one for dads to pick up if they just want to read little bits and pieces, but that’s a really lovely book to start out with.
And then the other one that I really strongly recommend is The Postnatal Depletion Cure by Dr. Oscar Serrallach. And Dr. Oscar, he’s a doctor from Byron Bay who’s looking after a very healthy population, growing their vegetables, eating good foods, having babies, but perhaps prematurely aging. And he would say that, we talk a lot about postnatal depression, he would say that there’s a lot of women who aren’t necessarily depressed, but they’re depleted. And so he really talks about a little bit of what we touched on today, about the importance of resting deeply after the birth, he talks about what to eat, he looks at different cultures and how they support women after birth, he looks at macronutrients, micronutrients that are really important for women in pregnancy and for after the birth. So those are the two books that I would recommend. Knowledge is power, so reading as much, educating yourself as much, antenatal classes is really important to prepare for this very significant event, life-changing events in your life.
I would also say that nothing can be done to you in your pregnancy, in your labor, after the birth, without your consent. And so it’s really important, if someone’s telling you to do something or asking you to do something, it’s really important that you understand what that is, why that is, what are the risks and benefits. There’s no harm in asking questions and making sure that your care provider is giving you all of the information so that you can make decisions that are right for you.
Thank you. Is there any advice prenatally? I study energy medicine through Melaney Ryan Institute of Applied Consciousness, and she’s a fifth-generation energy worker, and she shares that the mother passes on their essence to the baby, and it’s a set amount. So the prenatal in pregnancy is also particularly important to manage your energy and be rested because you pass on that essence through the kidneys, to your child.
Certainly. So I think that we certainly don’t need to be triathletes in our pregnancy, but I encourage people to just move your body gently, and that’s different for every person. So whether that’s a bit of yoga, walking, swimming, move your body and eat good food and just be conscious of your nervous system. We want to go into birth, we want to go into parenting feeling calm, grounded, relaxed.
Is there anything else you would like to share? I think we’re going to try and wrap it up now, but is there anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t covered?
I think the most important thing is to just be aware that pregnancy, birth, it’s not just a physical event, it’s emotional, it takes an emotional toll, spiritually, it’s a rite of passage that women are moving through, and to really honor it and to try and maintain the sacredness around it. I work with medical students and I always say to them, before you go into your birth room, you should be taking off your shoes, this space is sacred. There’s an angel that’s arriving, we need to respect the space, we need to be respecting women, we need to be respecting babies.
This is so true. It’s beautiful.
It’s such a special time. It’s such a special time and we need to honor it.
I also wanted to ask you about your journey using natural products, you’re in great condition and from what I’ve observed and learnt about you, I imagine you’re a pretty inspiring mum. What tips would you give to other mums about facilitating your child’s spark and discovery of their own purpose, given you had this knowing of your purpose as it sounds like you had an inner strength and knowing to pursue that. You’ve got two girls, two daughters?
Two girls and two boys.
So postpartum, moving on, they’re growing, how do you honour their spark and their own purpose that you might be observing and they might be discovering?
I definitely do not see myself as a parenting expert, I feel like half the time I’m flying by the seat of my pants. But I guess with my children who are now between the ages of 12, 14, 15, 16, I guess I’ve just really tried to give them a lot of space to explore physically and emotionally. We live on a property, so they’ve grown up barefoot and with a lot of freedom. I believe in gentle guidance rather than discipline, and so we’ve had very few rules, just lots and lots of open discussion. And I think that’s a big thing, there’s no topic that’s out of bounds, they know that they can come to me with anything and everything. That’s how I try and live with my children.
Gentle guidance. I know you’ve experienced the MELIS scents, because I gifted you a discovery set and I’m eager to learn whether you found one you liked and your style of scent, and I would assume you’ve been wearing natural for a while. Is that correct?
Yes. So my favorite, my definite favourite was Motus No 4. Yes, because it reminds me of Canada.
Of course, it’s got fir needle in it.
Yes, it smells like I’m in the forest.
Yeah, it’s got fir needle, that’s why.
So that was very nostalgic for me. And the other one had geranium in it, MELIS Amandi?
MELIS Amandi, yes, yes.
I just love geranium, it reminds me of one of my grandmothers.
Yeah, that’s a very pretty scent, MELIS Amandi. And you’ve been wearing natural for a long time?
Yeah, I just wear different essential oils, Tinderbox, I haven’t owned a perfume, a real perfume, I don’t know, …
A long time. I can imagine. I can imagine. Loralee, thank you so much. I’m honored that you agreed to be a part of this and I’m thankful. And I hope that everyone listening has found some little nuggets in there that they can take home. And thank you for the wonderful work that you do and for being who you are, because you’re actually a really beautiful person to be around, your energy is really lovely as well. So thank you and all the best.
Thank you so much for having me, Melissa.