Transcript Season 1 Episode 3

Giving Birth: Let's change the Narrative

with Miranda Funnell


birth, doulas, hypnobirthing, support, women, push, oxytocin, baby, endorphins, hormones, medical, vaginal exam, melatonin 



Every color is beautiful, every color is powerful, every color is worthy. They tried to bury us, they didn’t realize we were seeds, they didn’t realize we were seeds. We open doors so others can walk through them. Your legacy is every life you have ever touched.

I’m Stella Saliari and this is Salt the Podcast, a series of encounters with inspiring women, they are healers, activists, mothers, educators and world changers. Together we create community, share knowledge, amplify voices, heal and break narratives by elevating a new generation.

Stella: Welcome to Salt the Podcast. My guest today is Miranda Funnell. Miranda grew up in the UK with five sisters. She’s married to Nick and the mother of Forest and Daisy. For many years she travelled throughout Asia, lived in Singapore, India, and now the Netherlands. Miranda is a Hypnobirthing childbirth educator, a doula, a massage therapist, and a developmental baby massage teacher. She’s very passionate about supporting families through pregnancy and birth and reminding mothers of their strength so they can give life full of confidence. I met Miranda in 2019. She taught me how to apply Hypnobirthing and was also the doula during the birth of my daughter. Miranda changed the way I birthed and provided healing to me and my family. Today we will speak about doulas, vaginal exams, pushing, oxytocin, endorphin and a lot of other things. Before we start, though, I want to say a few things. We are not judging anybody today with the things that we will discuss. We are not saying that doctors are not needed. And we are also not saying that there is one way of giving birth. What we want to do today though, is that we want to inspire, share knowledge and change the narrative about giving birth by contesting ideas and breaking myths that are out there. And that’s actually also today’s topic:  Giving birth: Let’s change the narrative. Welcome, Miranda.


Miranda: Thank you, Stella. I’m really happy to be here, too. Thank you.


Stella: So my first question is, who is Miranda?


Miranda: Okay. I’m, as you said, I have five sisters. I’m originally from the UK. I’m married to Nick and I have Forest and Daisy, my children. My life wasn’t just about birth and pregnancy. Before I was working as a legal assistant, and travelling the world. So I did a lot of travelling as a backpacker, travelling for about 4 ½ years through Asia and Australia. And along the way, I started working as a scuba diving instructor. So I’ve had quite a varied background. And I really enjoyed just visiting so many different countries and learning about different cultures and traditions and religions. It was yeah, it was just such a wonderful experience. And yeah, things changed when my children came along. And my priorities changed a bit. And yeah, then I started working with Yeah, in pregnancy and, and birth and supporting families through that wonderful time. Yeah, I’m now living in the Netherlands. Been here nearly three years now. Previously lived in Singapore as well, where my daughter was born. And in India. Yeah, so that’s me. I love travelling. I’m learning to play the guitar. Yeah, I love being outside. I love being in the forest and the ocean. And yeah, just spending lots of time with my family as much as possible.


Stella: Thank you. It’s nice. So as I said, of course, you’re a doula. And that will be also one of our topics today, but maybe not everybody is aware of what a doula is. So it would be nice if you could tell us what is a doula and what are the advantages of having a doula?


Miranda: A doula is a person that will support families through pregnancy and birth, specifically a birth doula is somebody that will provide physical support during birth and emotional support, and also formational support and support for the birth partner as well. She’s there not for medical reasons. She’s completely not medical, but she’s there really, as a guide and support and just that, you know, that person to be next to mum and her birth partner guiding them through this wonderful journey. There’s lots of benefits, lots of benefits and we see mums actually enjoying birth a bit more with a doula. There’s less unnecessary intervention, medical intervention, mums report that they actually have a much more comfortable and relaxed birth, feeling supported and listened to. And doulas really help them to make sure that their wishes are heard and their voices are heard. It’s really wonderful. And birth partners also really benefit because they have, you know, an extra person next to them through the whole birth, whether it’s two minutes, like my last doula client a couple of weeks ago, I was only there for two minutes. Or it could be you know, two days. And the doula will be there through the whole thing. You know, holding mum’s hand massaging her. Yeah, it’s really beautiful. It is a really nice team. Yes.


Stella: Yes. I actually when I met you, I wanted to ‘only’ have a doula. And then you told me about Hypnobirthing, and I got quite intrigued, and I was thinking what’s Hypnobirthing? I’ve never heard about it. And then of course, I decided to also do the Hypnobirthing with you. But as I had never heard about Hypnobirthing I can imagine a lot of others have also not heard about it. So could you tell us what Hypnobirthing is? And yeah, why? Why is it beneficial? Because I can say that for me. It was wonderful.


Miranda: Yeah, it is really lovely. It’s a full childbirth education program. It’s been going now for 30 years. Hypnobirthing was started by Marie Mongan, the founder of Hypnobirthing, and it’s taught all over the world in many countries, in many different languages. And it’s a really nice program to encourage mums to tune into their natural birthing instinct. So, you know, women really already know how to give birth, their bodies are designed to do this. But we you know, we just need to be reminded. So Hypnobirthing really does that. There’s no magic in Hypnobirthing, I think sometimes the name can be a bit deceiving. There’s no you know, weird stuff going on. It’s actually an evidence-based antenatal course, preparing the mom and the birth partner for birth. So they have lots and lots of different tools and techniques that they can use during birth to help mum to stay relaxed, to keep away the stress hormones during birth. Because when the stress hormones are at play during birth, actually birth can slow right down and can be really, really, really painful. So yeah, we teach mums and birth partners, the importance of hormones and releasing the feel good hormones, oxytocin, and endorphins. And once she can, once Mum can really release those hormones, she can shut out the stress hormones. So mums have such a much more relaxed birth, more comfortable, more calm. Both partners are really involved. It’s really it’s really nice to see the changes take place over the weeks. Yeah, and we use breathing techniques, visualization techniques, and affirmations, and lots of relaxation techniques and massage. And we also talk about the process of birth. So what to expect at different stages, what fit what you might experience, you know, different forms of medical intervention, if it’s required, and also natural ways we can deal with things as well. So yeah, it’s really nice. And it’s really nice to see mums and birth partners working together as a team for birth. It’s really nice.


Stella: Yeah, I mean, for me, it was really an eye opener. And it changed a lot the way I birthed my third child, right. But we can talk about it maybe a little bit later. You’ve already mentioned oxytocin, endorphins, so I thought maybe it would be good to talk a little bit more about this now. What is oxytocin? What is endorphin? I also, you mentioned that also, right now, it’s very important that we don’t stress during birth, that we are calm, that we have patience. So these are actually three things that we really need during birth. Can you explain a little bit more and also, because I guess there’s maybe also a misperception on the side of the birthing partner that a doula will take his space or yeah, I don’t know. I can imagine some people might not react so positively about the idea of having a doula there. Yeah. But it doesn’t mean that the birthing partner is not important. So how can the birthing partner also help to release oxytocin, endorphin if you can elaborate on that a little bit more?


Miranda: Okay. Yeah, the birth partner. You know, if a mum does have a birth partner, the birth partner is super important during birth and actually, the doula does not take the place of the birth partner and you know, sometimes both partners are a little bit nervous about a doula stepping on their toes or kind of pushing them to the side and, and taken over. But actually, it’s nothing like that at all. And really the doula works with the mum and birth partner before birth, to figure out how they would like the doula to support them. And that could be different in different families. But generally, I see birth partners wanting to get involved. And I really guide them, and just, you know, give them a little nudge in the right direction, and really empower them to be, you know, the best birth partner, and they really are, but the doulas, they’re also just to, you know, be there next to them and, you know, help support them too. So, yeah. And yeah, the birth partner can really help to release oxytocin and endorphins during birth. So oxytocin is the hormone that’s the love hormone, the birth hormone. And this helps to, to make the uterus muscles work during birth. And we need lots of that oxytocin during birth to help birth progress. It has a calming effect on the mum. It also helps to sort of turn on her mothering instincts. It also helps her to deliver her placenta and also to breastfeed her baby. And then endorphins hormones. These are the happy hormones and the feel good hormones, and the shutout the stress hormones, they can’t coexist together. So once we’ve got lots of endorphins rushing through our body, we can shut out the stress hormones, and endorphins are a natural pain relief as well. So there’s lots of techniques that birth partners can use with mum. And also, for mums to do on her own as well. There’s lots of things that she can do to help release those lovely hormones. So yeah, the hormones are just magic. And you know, once you know how to do this, and release these good hormones, you really can see the effects, and also melatonin. Yeah. For instance, there’s a really nice technique called light touch massage that we use in Hypnobirthing. And this is really light touch massage, we’re just kind of tickling the skin a little bit. And when a birth partner does this for mum, this can really help to release endorphins. So it stimulates the nerve endings to release endorphins. And she might feel really nice sort of fuzzy feeling during this, and it can really help her to relax and shut out those stress hormones. Yeah, it’s really good. And even just lots of relaxation techniques as well can help to release oxytocin that’s


Stella: Lots of cuddling, right kissing. I mean, if you have a birthing partner that you have this connection with, but


Miranda: Even nipple stimulation. So you can do that on your own. And nipple stimulation during birth can release lots of oxytocin. Sounds quite strange. But yeah, if you do that, it can really help. Yeah,


Stella: Yeah, I remember reading it. And I was like, Oh, really? Yeah. Okay. I’m not sure if I’m going to do this. But yeah, I get the point. Of course.


Miranda: Yeah, definitely. And there’s also the sleep hormone, the melatonin hormone. Yeah. Which is crucial during birth, and a lot of mums really feel the need to have a darkened room, or quite dim lights to release the melatonin sleep hormone. And this is helping her to feel safe and secure. And when the melatonin hormone is released into the body, this really helps the oxytocin flow as well. So it’s just like animals. When animals give birth, they tend to find a nice dark space away from observing eyes, and you know, lots of people, and they want privacy. They want darkness so they can just really relax and birth really, really happens. And we’re the same humans are the same. We need to feel safe and supported. Yeah, yeah. The environment is quite important, too.


Stella: Yeah, yeah. I think it’s crucial. So I’m happy that we’re talking about it. Also, I want to read out a statement to you that says “birth is not a medical event, even when birthing women, laboring women require medical attention”. Can you say something about it?


Miranda: Yeah, yeah. For centuries and centuries, we’ve been convinced that birth is a medical event. And in many countries, birth is always a medical event. Women are sometimes told that their bodies are not capable, that they’re flawed somehow, that they can’t do this themselves. And sometimes they’re even lied to in some countries. And because of that women have lost their power and you know that we lose our power to call upon our natural birth instincts. And of course, we do need the medical system next to us, we need them there to support us. Because sometimes, of course, you know, birth takes a different turn. But it doesn’t have to be a medical event for, you know, healthy women, and their babies that, you know, with no medical indication. And instead, we, we need the support, they’re next to us of the medical staff and hospitals. But instead, we should understand the, you know, the whole process, the natural process of birth, and really listen to mums bodies and let her use her natural birthing instincts as much as possible. You know, the women need to feel safe, listened to, cared for and supported, both physically and emotionally. And we can still do that in the medical environments. But yeah, I think women needs to, you know, know what their power is, because they have this power within them. And sometimes that’s kind of taken away a little bit from them. They hand their power over to, you know, the medical staff. And it doesn’t always have to be that way. So, you know, we can stand up for ourselves, we can say what we want, and, you know, but still have the medical staff there next to us, supporting us.


Stella: Yes. Yeah. For instance, in Greece, they do a lot of C-sections a lot. And, yeah, and a lot of women go for it.


Miranda: Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes, they’re scared into that. So they might hear others, you know, people around them saying, you know, that that’s the only way to birth safely. They imagine of vaginal birth to be really scary and dangerous, because maybe that’s what they’ve been told. And sometimes, like a home birth might be completely unheard of. So yeah, women should be supported have any kind of birth that they wish. And I believe that even if women prefer to have an elective C-section, then that’s her choice. And she should be supported. But she shouldn’t be scared into it. It should be totally her decision.


Stella: Exactly. Absolutely. One thing that I learned with Hypnobirthing, and from you and that, to me was one of the most important and special things was that we don’t actually have to push, we can breathe down or baby. So for me, that was yeah, it was incredible. And I want you to elaborate a little bit on this. And also to talk about vaginal exams, because also something that I learned from you was, I don’t need to have that many. And if I don’t want to have any, I don’t need to have them. And it’s also up to me what I wanted to learn once I had such a vaginal exam, so if you can explain these two things, because they were so crucial for me,


Miranda: Okay, so vaginal exams. So for those that don’t know what this is, it’s a an exam where a midwife or gynecologist will insert their fingers into a woman’s vagina to determine how much the cervix has thinned and opened during birth. They might also do a vaginal exam to determine the position of the baby’s head. These are usually done every four hours during birth, sometimes less, sometimes every two hours. But the thing is, is they, they know that there can be an invasion of privacy, they can be uncomfortable. And so women should always be, should always give permission for this to happen, of course, somebody is touching your body. And birth doesn’t automatically give a person the right to touch your body without your permission. So and a lot of women don’t realize that these are actually optional. And they can say NO to vaginal exams, and that they the vaginal exams don’t actually give an indication of how long your birth is going to take. It just gives you an indication of what your cervix is looking like at that particular moment. So, you know, in a couple of hours’ time, you could still be at the same place, you know, five centimeters or something. But for another person in two hours’ time, that person could be at 10 centimeters from five centimeters. So it doesn’t tell you the speed that you’re birthing or how long you’ve got left. But you do have a choice, and you can choose to have none. So some women actually say I don’t want to be touched at all. And some women prefer to maybe just have one to just tell the midwife or gynecologist where they’re at, you know, when they first see them, their first appointment, and then they prefer not to have any for the rest of the birth. And some women don’t mind having the Some women prefer not to be told. So they might have a vaginal exam but not be told where they’re at. So what the cervix is doing that a woman always has control over this. And she can say whether she wants to have them or not. And with regard to pushing, yeah, I think, you know, when we picture, a lady giving birth, a lot of us picture a lady laying on her back with her legs in stirrups, and she’s holding her breath, and doing a really forceful push. And maybe there’s a midwife or gynecologist next to her, telling her to push, push, push, push, push, and she has to push forcefully into her bottom. And of course, that’s what we are led to believe is the right way to birth. But actually might be quite interesting for you to know and you know, Stella. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS FORCEFUL PUSHING. And actually you can breathe, just breathe. There’s a special breathing technique in Hypnobirthing, where we breathe down, and listen, instead, listen to your own body. And if your body’s telling you to push, then go with that natural urge to push and you can push when your body’s telling you so it’s more mother directed, pushing instinctive pushing. You’ve got natural explosive reflex in your birth path. Your uterus is pushing down as well from the fundus. Yeah, so you’ve got gravity helping you as well in certain positions. So yeah, you don’t have to push. So breathing will help you much more.


Stella: You also don’t have to lay right, the whole time, right?


Miranda: Yeah, that’s right. You don’t have to lay on your back. And actually, it is not the best position to be at all. It closes off your pelvis for your baby’s journey. So upright and forward leaning positions are much more beneficial.


Stella: Yeah. And also perception wise, right? When we lay in bed, we might think I’m sick, or I’m weak, or I’m passive, by sitting or standing or being on all fours, or whatever you decide to do it also changes the perception.


Miranda: Definitely. You’re in control. You’re, you know, if you’re sitting, standing or kneeling, you know, you’re completely in control. And you’re not that passive person that’s laying back on a hospital bed. And you know, birth been done to her. Yeah, yeah, definitely.


Stella: Great. So, I would like to talk a little bit about I mean, we’ve already kind of used it during our conversation. But something else that you changed in me was the vocabulary that we will use when we are pregnant, when we are in labor, when we birth the baby, because we don’t deliver it, we birth it. Can you tell us a few examples? And also why it’s so important to use this Hypnobirthing vocabulary, let’s say?


Miranda: Yeah, yeah, in Hypnobirthing, we use some different words. And that is because a lot of the words that we generally use surrounding birth are sometimes medical words, or quite negative words. So it’s sort of quite, you know, sometimes it’s a bit mystifying, you know, we don’t really know what’s going on, it might confuse us, or bring us a bit of fear if it’s a medical word that we don’t understand. So, some of the examples, our usual word that we might use is contraction. And in Hypnobirthing, we prefer to say a surge or wave, because this is more when we think about a contraction, we think it’s quite an intense movement that’s quite sudden and strong and intense. But a surge or a wave actually describes really what’s happening to your muscles. And you know, they gradually peak and then come back down some more like a wave. Yeah, there’s lots of word, you have just said another one deliver. You know, we deliver pizzas not babies. We birth the baby, and things like catch the baby. So you might hear that a birth partner or the midwife might catch the baby when it’s born. And instead we prefer to say receive baby because catch the baby makes it sound like the baby might fly out and you might not catch it so it can have a bring mum a little bit of stress or fear because of that.


Stella: Yeah, for me, changing from contraction to wave or surge helped me a lot to also while I was giving birth, I was actually really imagining the water the waves, and I was really feeling I’m going through the waves anytime I had a surge. And it helped me a lot with my mind how I was envisioning it. I was imagining it. I was actually imagining myself at my favorite beach in Greece. Being there by the water and that yeah, I’m going with the wave. So of course, I still had pain. It’s not like I didn’t have pain, but I handled everything completely different. And this change of words really helped me with that. Even the word contraction. I mean, in English at least it sounds really hard, you know, maybe in another language it is different. But yeah, contraction and then you have wave or surge. It sounds even much nicer.


Miranda: Yeah, definitely. And it can really change your mindset as well as help you. Yeah.


Stella: Miranda do hospitals like doulas and what do they think about Hypnobirthing? Maybe before you answer, of course, I gave birth in a hospital that is quite medical, because it deals also with a lot of risk patients. But they were not that happy about me having a doula, doing Hypnobirthing, and also afterwards during the conversation I had with the doctor, he was like: “Yeah, we are not that crazy about it. And Hypnobirthing doesn’t work for every woman.” And I was thinking, yeah, nothing works for everybody. I mean, that’s not a statement that I can do anything with. And he even, he saw me, that it worked for me, right? You remember he even said: “Oh, this mom is so relaxed. If she continues like this, everything will be fine.” But he was still very, very defensive as if he felt like his profession is in danger because we’re doing Hypnobirthing and are having doulas. I also felt from the medical team that they were a little bit, yeah, not totally comfortable with you being there. So that was just my personal experience. But of course, also reading Marie Mongan’s book and listening to other mothers, especially I think with Hypnobirthing doctors are still a bit like defensive.


Miranda: Yeah. Yeah, I think when it comes to Hypnobirthing, sometimes it’s because they don’t really know what it is, sometimes. And actually a lot of midwives, especially in the UK, where I’m from, and a lot of the midwives are trained to teach Hypnobirthing and they teach it in the hospitals. So usually, if a midwife or gynecologist knows what Hypnobirthing is, they’re much more relaxed about it, and they can see the benefits. But if they don’t know, sometimes it’s like, well, it’s all this airy fairy stuff. And you know, and, yeah, it doesn’t really help the situation. But in general, once they you know, once they see that a mom is using Hypnobirthing, and it’s really helping her, it really helps them to change their minds, and they can see, yeah, actually this is really beneficial. It is helping them to stay relaxed and the birth partners involved like what more could you not want? Yeah, and with doulas, yeah, it’s a mixed bag. Really what I’ve seen in my experiences, most midwives and gynecologists are happy for the doulas to be there. But then there are some that they feel that the doula because the doula is supporting mum’s wishes, and helping her to advocate for herself and remind her of, you know, discussions that they’ve had and a doula would help the mum and birth partner to figure out what their options are. And sometimes midwives or gynecologists can actually see that as a threat. That a doula is kind of telling them what to do. And it’s not. It’s not like that at all. Not at all. A doula should not be doing that. And instead, a doula will support mum’s wishes. And that could be, yeah, I want everything medical, I want everything natural. A doula will support those wishes without any, you know, she supports the whole birth plan that the mum has, and will just help her advocate for herself. Unfortunately, there are some doctors out there that are still not sure about doulas, and sometimes it just takes a doula to be there above where they’re present. And they can see actually, we’re not a threat, do anything medical, you know, and instead, we provide support, ongoing continuous support for mums, you know, emotional support that sometimes the midwives and gynecologist don’t have time for. They wish they had time for that. But they don’t always have time for that. There are mostly there medically.


Stella: Maybe it’s also good to say that we are also aware of the fact that not everybody can afford a doula. And we also aware of the fact that in some communities, the communities are involved when the woman is birthing the baby. Maybe a lot of women will come together or the mother will be there, or whoever. In other countries, like I have a friend who told me about my birth and she said: “What did the doula do actually to you?” I explain it to her and she says: “Oh, in my country, that’s what the midwife does.” So that’s also different right? So what do you think about the fact that insurances don’t cover actually do less?


Miranda: You know, there are there are countries and there are countries where the maybe a family a female family member would take the place of a doula or midwives that are more sort of traditional where they do have time to support mums as a doula word. But of course, in in many countries, a doula is a different role than a midwife. And it’s such a shame that doulas are not an option for everybody. ut of course, doulas have to charge, we have to, you know, we do need to earn some money. And of course, this is not easy for everybody. And it’s such a shame, because if, you know, if insurance companies could cover do the support, then that would be wonderful. And hopefully we see some change, you know, hopefully there will be some change where everybody can have this support.


Stella: Yeah. And maybe one thing that we didn’t mention at the beginning, that Hypnobirthing also works for mothers that go for a C-section or decided to have an epidural. It’s not just as I said, of course, at the beginning, there is not just one way of birthing. But it works also for moms who decide to have a C-section, right?


Miranda: For sure. And I experienced that myself, I had an emergency C-section with my first baby using Hypnobirthing. And it was a really positive experience. And it could have been absolutely dreadful. But I think Hypnobirthing really helped me and my husband through that big operation. And so yeah, it definitely works for C-sections. And I always include, you know, C-sections and assisted births, medically assisted births in my courses, because it’s super important. We don’t know when we’re going to you know, there might be a time when we need that, that kind of birth. It does help. Hypnobirthing helps whatever type of birth you have, and wherever you give birth, whether it’s home birth or hospital.


Stella: Miranda, who has been your SALT, who inspired you?


Miranda: Um, I think when it comes to Hypnobirthing, definitely Marie Mongan the founder of Hypnobirthing. But I also have a doula mentor, a really good friend, Karen. She’s supported me through my whole doula journey. And just all the females out there. I’ve got five sisters, and a wonderful mum. And you know, they’re always just my inspiration. And also my children, of course, not just one person. Yes.


Stella: And to whom do you want to pass the SALT? What do you want to say to the next generation?


Miranda: I would love to, my dream, I would love to see positive changes in the in birth worldwide. And to do that we need to pass this wisdom onto the younger generation. That’s where the change is going to happen. So you know, they need to know how to stand up for their rights and for women to take back their power and make a difference. So yeah, I’d like to definitely say to my children, who are already true advocates for positive birth. Yeah, to just step forward and make some change in the future. Yeah, change is happening, but it needs to continue.


Stella: I totally agree with you. Thank you. So we’ve actually come to our last question. Is there something that you want to ask me? We’re reversing the roles now.


Miranda: Yeah. I know you mentioned a few times that, you know, your experience with having a doula and Hypnobirthing. But I’d love to know what your thoughts are on Hypnobirthing and having a doula. is it something that you would pass on to your friends?


Stella: Absolutely, I’ve already done it. Yeah. So actually, I bought the book of Marie Morgan again, and my plan was to give it to one of the gynecologists in the hospital. But then he left to another hospital, so it never happened. So I gave it to a colleague. And yeah, she did the course. And she read the book. And she had, she already shared with me that she was very happy that I told her about it. And my neighbor did a course. So I’m doing my work to inform women about it about the possibility of doing Hypnobirthing, and I see that a lot is happening. I remember when the midwife came to my house, and I told her about my birth and I told her that I had a beautiful birth. She says to me, please tell people about it because we witnessed so many beautiful births. But there are always these horror stories out there. And of course, it’s women talking about it. It’s the media, it’s the movies, you have a movie you have a woman giving birth, she’s screaming, she’s insulting her husband, her waters are breaking, everything is wet and I don’t know what is going on. And all this doesn’t help at all. That’s why also I wanted our topic today be really about changing the narrative. We are not saying birth is not painful. We are not saying everything always goes well. I can talk from my own experience. Yeah, I definitely think there has to be a change. So to answer your question about my perception or my view on doulas and Hypnobirthing, it’s very, very positive. So after I had delivered my second child, I knew that for my third one, I would definitely have a doula that was crystal clear to me that I would do that. So when I was pregnant with my daughter, I did some research, I found you, I met you. And then you told me about Hypnobirthing, and I thought, what’s that, and I’m always curious and always want to research things when I hear about them. So I remember spending like two, three evenings, reading about it, watching some interviews, and it absolutely intrigued me, it kind of felt like, wow, I want to know more about it. And then I signed up for your course, which was a beautiful experience, those five weeks that I spent learning actually about birth I had delivered two kids, but I didn’t know nothing about birth. Yeah, that to me was extremely empowering.

And then the actual birth was just beautiful. Like it’s it gave me it gave me so much. And it healed me it healed the wounds that I’d had from the past. And it did something to my family. And it just really worked. I remember going, I mean, you saw me, being in labor and having my eyes closed for four hours, I didn’t open my eyes. And I was having my eyes closed, sitting on a chair, sitting on my birthing ball, communicating with my environment, and not everything went the way I wanted it. And I had to fight a little bit with some people from the medical staff, as you know, but I knew how to handle it, I knew how to speak up for myself, and at the same time, stay relaxed and do the breathing and think about the waves and think about my islands. And I could still at the same time communicate with the environment, like I knew what was going on. But nothing changed this Zen mood, let’s say that I was in because I was in control. And I knew how to how to handle it. And that to me was just incredible. It was just incredible. It was a beautiful experience that I wish for every woman. And that’s why I’m also such an advocate as well.

So I wanted us to have this conversation today. Because it changed so much for me for my life. It was healing, it Healed my body. Because I went through many different births before I don’t want to use anything negative because I learned a lot from those births, too. And they were beautiful in their own way. But this was really different. So I wish this to all the women out there that they really know about certain things and that they know that their options.

And yeah, and having a doula of course having you there was also wonderful, because I mean, my partner is amazing in all the three births, he was just wonderful. So I did not say I need to do that, because he’s not doing his job well. So he excelled in all the three births that were extremely different from each other. But having you there was wonderful. And I must admit, I don’t know if I would have managed to do Hypnobirthing if you hadn’t been there because there were moments where you reminded me of my strength where you reminded me go back to the breathing, you can do that. And that was also extremely beautiful for me. And the fact that you were there massaging my head massaging my feet, you know, that was great. So and what you said happen, you and my partner, you were like a team. And I remember him at the beginning being like: “Okay, what’s that? What’s the doula? What is she for?” And I could sense that maybe he first felt like: “Oh, so now I’m not that important anymore.” No, you are. And it was just Yeah, to me, it was great. And as I said, it doesn’t mean I didn’t have pain, it doesn’t mean everything went well. But it was just perfect. Because I knew so much. And I knew how to handle the situations and ask for my rights, let’s say but yeah, I’m extremely grateful to you, and it is possible to breathe out your baby. Yes, that was something I was very skeptical of. Of course, I watched those videos that you showed us and I read about and I was like, how are you going to do that? But it’s possible. And I breathed her out almost completely towards the end, I pushed three times and it’s as you said, of course the doctors were asking for it. But I also felt okay with it. And I did it. But I didn’t spend 45 minutes holding my legs pushing out a baby and having like an audience. They’re telling me please, stop, push. So that was also very, very good for me, so I can highly recommend it. Thank you so much Miranda, answering all the questions.

And at the end of every podcast or every encounter that I have, I always honor a woman. So today I want to honor Marie Mongan. As Miranda said she’s the founder of Hypnobirthing, and she really made groundbreaking changes in how we birth. For me she was the leader of the future. protector of the past. She dared to challenge the norm and she had faith the change is possible. She unfortunately passed away last year, right? Yes. So, I want to honor her today. And I want to finish with a quote by Suzanne Arms, which encapsulates Marie Mongan’s vision. And the poem actually says:

Birth in a Sanctuary? Why not!

Imagine …
A place where everyone
Honours you and the work you will
do in labour,
Speaks quietly and moves slowly
And gently,
Respects your need to be spontaneous –
To eat, drink, make sounds, move around, cry, shout, laugh,
Treats you and your baby as fully conscious and sensitive beings.
Giving birth is as intimate as lovemaking
You will need privacy and support and tenderness
Labour is not a spectator sport
Your partner is not your ‘’coach’’
It’s the journey of a lifetime for your baby and you
Don’t settle for a typical birth
Find out more … home birth … birth centres
Safe alternatives to epidurals … seek out a midwife
Arrange for a labour companion/doula to stay with you …
Protect your baby and empower yourself!

So I want to finish with this. And I want to thank you Miranda for taking the time to speak to us, sharing your wisdom, answering all the questions and of course I will upload your information and any literature that you recommend related to the topic on my website. And I want to thank everyone for listening feel free to visit my website for more conversations, and follow me on Instagram @salt_thepodcast and of course, feel free to contact us if you have any questions. I will be happy to hear from you.



Something that is loved, is never lost. I’m Stella Saliari and this is Salt The Podcast.

Useful links and websites:

Miranda’s webpage 

Marie Mongan 

Hypnobirthing videos 

A bit of my own birth story