It has been such an exciting year for She Births®. And it has also been a big year of growth for Leroy and I.
Here are some of the highlights from 2017 and my personal reflections…
This year, we have educated and helped birth over 750 She Births® babies! We launched the inspiring She Births® Show with our inaugural event in Bondi: Powerful Women Do Peaceful Births… And Create a Life They Love. (More events are lined up for next year!)
I was lucky enough to be accepted into the highly competitive HCF Catalyst program and we then launched Australia’s first collaboration between a childbirth education company and private health fund with the HCF Funded She Births® Trial.
The HCF Trial is going beautifully and already half the spaces have been booked up! So be quick and get pregnant before the other 60 spaces fill. 😉
We launched She Births® in Melbourne and on the Sunshine Coast, and trained an amazing group of 14 new Educators who are launching She Births® courses across Australia and Singapore next year! And I ran workshops for midwives at Westmead Hospital and our first regional workshop on ‘the culture and spirituality of birth’ at Bathurst Hospital.
I got to fulfil my dream of helping women and families in the developing world when we partnered with Totohealth in Kenya and Tanzania. For every family that books into the She Births® Weekend Course or Online Course we now sponsor one African family for a whole year to receive pregnancy, birth and childhood support through Totohealth’s revolutionary mobile technology program.
We were across the media numerous times. Some of my favourite pieces were The Collective (an entrepreneurial dream!), Sydney Morning Herald, and on Channel 7 News. Again, proving that BIRTH CAN BE SEXY, INTERESTING AND IS REALLY GODDAM IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US!
I also travelled to the US to begin seeding our US launch where I met with some truly inspiring birth workers and amazing people in LA, Denver and NYC.
And this is where life got really AWESOME!
I learnt, yet again, the profound power of education. Strange I know, that I am a full-time educator and it still surprises me how ‘we don’t know, what we don’t know’ far too often in life. It still inspires me that it is through education that we find our own personal empowerment. With knowledge, we open our minds, discover possibility and find choices we did not see possible.
At the beginning of the year, I heard my son say things that surprised me when he got home from school… “Everyone at school is saying to me to stop dreaming! They are telling me that I am crazy because I have such big ideas about my life and where I want to go. They say I may never make it as a musician or an entrepreneur, so I should be prepared for failure and consider other safer options.”
I was aghast! How on earth do kids learn to speak with such limitations upon themselves and each other at such a young age? And these are super smart capable kids! Is it just me or are tall poppies in season again this year in Australia?
I tried to ‘tell’ Leroy that is not true and you can do whatever you want in life – dream, believe, work hard and receive… but I could see this wasn’t enough. He is young and I am experienced in creating my career and my reality. He on the other hand is far more impressionable and now so much more open to the world around him. So, I knew what I had to do immediately. I sent Leroy to the land of possibilities… AMERICA.
Unhappy with the lack of choice in classical high school exchange programs, I was fortuitously told about an Institute in the mountains of Colorado, between Aspen and Vail. I skyped with the High Mountain Institute staff and knew immediately that no matter what the cost, he had to go there. (Note that their website does not do the school justice!)
I was one of two parents that dropped their children off at HMI that day. I spent half a day there and was so inspired. I only got to speak to Leroy at the beginning and end of the trip via phone but the stories that came out over the month after his return were amazing.
Not only is the landscape breathtaking i.e. literally sits at 10,000 feet, but it was the playground for nearly all their activities and academia. (Think: morning jogs with Captain Fantastic). During the summer camp they studied poetry and undertook science projects within the area on the effects of mining on biodiversity, and humanities projects like ‘The People of Leadville’, but most unique are their two-week outdoor leadership programs. During this time every child reads maps and guides the group across different national parks. Leroy even met with a Cinnamon Black Bear that wandered into campground during morning sharing circle. The work is all self-reflective and philosophical in nature.
Of course, after leaving him there I sobbed and had to pull over 2 miles down the road by the mountain streams. But as I felt into why I was crying it became really interesting. This was not just about letting go of my baby, now a young man… it was coming from a different place, a sense of fulfilment and joy. These were tears of celebration and gratitude for the absolute privilege it is to be a mother. The wonderful gift I had been given to support another person in fulfilling their dreams and finding their true shining light and path to happiness.
Needless to say, Leroy came home a new person. He was more centred and strong and so incredibly happy! The HMI team helped nurture Leroy’s maturity and authentic connection to others, and the world. They gave him space for full self-expression and exploration while holding the community values, which the kids created together. I really wish that ALL schools were like this for ALL children. Can you imagine what our world would be like? A planet with compassion and care for humanity and our environment, with joy and freedom, sustainability and fulfilment for everyone.
Leroy and I plan to travel back again in 2018 for more exciting adventures.
As we head into the Festive Season, all of us at The Birthing Institute would like to THANK YOU for your incredible support this year. We are very grateful to have such an amazing community.
We will be closed from 21 December to 9 January 2018.
We wish you a happy and safe holiday season and look forward to an amazing 2018 – our 10th Birthday!
Love and gratitude,