Surviving Christmas – A Guide for the Pregnant and Postpartum

Christmas is, for some, a joyous time of year. For others it’s a frantic race to keep up with the demands of friends and family. And for some it’s a time of stress and tension. Whatever Christmas usually means for you, being pregnant or having a newborn changes things.

So with Christmas fast coming up, here are some tips on how to cope with the silly season. If you plan it right, this could just be the best Christmas season ever.

Pregnancy Christmas

Whether you are struggling through the tiredness and nausea of the first trimester, or you’re struggling to move with the weight of a baby on your bladder in the third trimester, Christmas will probably require some rethinking.

  1. Take care of you. Right now, you’re doing the single most important thing you can do – growing a human. So don’t be afraid to say no to invitations if you don’t feel up to it, or to cancel plans if you need to. And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for getting the rest you need.
  2. Make it easy on yourself. Whether that means buying gift vouchers online rather than braving the crowds, or picking up a deli salad for that BBQ, do it.
  3. Watch the heat. Even if it’s not sunny, Christmas in Australia can get very steamy. So make sure you drink plenty of water.
  4. Consider your invitations. If there’s going to be lots of standing around, maybe an event where you can sit will be more enjoyable for you. Better yet, BBQ at a house with a pool – perfect!
  5. Eat what you want. Being pregnant is probably the only time you don’t have to worry about busting a button, so indulge. Leaving out the alcohol and excluded foods of course.



The months after you give birth are not only precious, but they’re probably the most important time to take care of yourself, not to mention your precious new baby.

  1. First and foremost – remember what’s important. The health and happiness of you and your baby. Nothing else will matter in the long run, so any decisions you make should have that priority front and centre.
  2. Baby brain is real. So be like Santa and make lists. This will not only give you a feeling of satisfaction when you cross things off, you will have the peace of mind of knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.
  3. The internet and gift vouchers are your friends. You may well be the person known in your family for thoughtful and special gifts, but if you can get away with phoning it in any year, it’s this one. And there are not recorded cases of death as a result of receiving a gift voucher for Christmas.
  4. Adjust your expectations. Whether you have been the family go-to for organising Christmas lunch, group presents, or family BBQs, this is your opportunity to hand all that over to someone else. For this year at least.
  5. Adjust the expectations of others. Christmas lunch is always at your place? Maybe someone else can take it on this year. Be clear with your message, and do it early.
  6. Be selective. If an event doesn’t fit with your schedule, or is too far away, or you just plain don’t want to go, say so.
  7. Set boundaries. Newborns are delicate creatures, and we are living in a time where there are lots of unpleasant viruses afoot. So decide if you are happy for people to hold your baby, or you want them to wear a mask, or wash their hands, and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to advocate for the health of your baby
  8. Make it easy on yourself. If you still want to have Christmas (or whatever celebration your family has) at your place, ask for help. Get people to bring a plate. Order deli salads. Buy bakery desserts.
  9. Put away the guilt. If all of the above is giving you guilt-hives, stop. The most important thing is enjoying your first Christmas with baby, even if they are too young to remember.
  10. Relax and enjoy it. Because next year you will be chasing around a toddler (or crawler) so there will be no relaxation for you!


Ask Your Partner

If you have demanding family and friends, now is the time to lean on your partner for support. It’s really important that you be on the same page in relation to what invitations you accept, what you’re prepared to do, and how others are able to interact with your baby. So have a discussion well in advance. And if you need to, ask your partner to be the one to break potentially bad news. If you can take pregnancy and childbirth, they can take a couple of uncomfortable conversations!


A Little Help (not from Santa)

No matter how much you try and divest yourself of responsibilities, there will always be a lot going on at this time of year. So if you want to completely bow out of Christmas this year, don’t feel bad about it. Embrace the slow postpartum period, nurture yourself and your baby (whether baby is in utero or in a crib) and embrace this magical time. Christmas will come again next year. And you’ll have a baby just old enough to enjoy it by then.

If you feel the Christmas season might be too much for you and would like the support of a doula in helping you get through this tough time, I would love to chat. Give me a call on 0422 258 771, or contact me here.

Let me take this opportunity to wish all the mums, present and future, out there a wonderful holiday season. May 2023 bring all of us happiness, health and joy.

Best wishes,


Birth Story – Isa

My husband and I already had two children, and we had thought our family was complete. Not only did I suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (extreme morning sickness), but both my births had been C-sections, and the first had been really traumatic. We were so sure we were done my husband had a vasectomy.

But a few years ago my family started feeling incomplete. I felt there was another soul wanting to join us, and this conviction just got stronger and stronger until I couldn’t ignore it. We decided to have one more baby.

Because of the vasectomy we had to do IVF, and we became pregnant right away. Unfortunately, we lost that baby, but on the next attempt we again fell pregnant right away.

I really wanted to have a home birth, but I was considered high risk because of my two previous c-sections, and I couldn’t find a midwife who was prepared to take me on. I was a bit surprised to find out 0.7% chance of a uterine rupture is considered high risk[i]. I had done my research, and was frustrated that I was being robbed of my right to choose the birth I wanted.

In the end I decided to go with a freebirth. This means a birth without medical or midwifery assistance and a pregnancy with minimal medical checks. This meant I was taking on the responsibility of any decisions, but I was comfortable with that.

During my research I had discovered Doulas and looked around for one that I connected with, which is how I found Alison. She was very supportive of my choices from the beginning.

It was a very nice pregnancy. I only had a couple of medical appointments, which made it very low stress and relaxed.

I finally went into labour at 41 weeks and 5 days. I know if I had been birthing in a hospital that wouldn’t have been allowed, because they’re too scared of things going wrong, But my baby knew what she was doing. It was nice that I could wait until she was ready.

For three nights I laboured during the night, with contractions 10-20 minutes apart, only to have the contractions stop when the sun came up. On the third night, around 4:30am the contractions went to 5 minutes apart. I waited until 7am to call Alison, in case they stopped again, but they didn’t, and Alison came right over.

Around 11:30am my waters broke in a big gush and I had the urge to push. After 5 hours of pushing my baby still wasn’t born. My husband could feel her head, but she wasn’t moving any closer.

In the end we decided to call an ambulance. When they arrived they agreed to wait half an hour in case something happened. When there was still no progress a second team arrived, and they advised me I would need to go to hospital as this was the protocol.

As they were getting me down the steps to the ambulance things started to happen. Maybe the movement shook something loose, I don’t know, but my baby started to move, By the time I was at the doors of the ambulance my baby’s head was crowning. Alison asked if I could go back inside because she knew I really wanted a home birth, and the baby was almost there, but because of those medical protocols I had to go to the hospital.

No sooner was I in the ambulance than her head came out, and she was born on the trolley on the way from the ambulance to the birthing suite. I was disappointed not to have had a home birth, but was also at peace with the decision to call an ambulance when we did, because it was my decision, not someone else’s.

I had wanted to experience the golden hour and delayed cord clamping, but because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, even though it was not on the baby, the hospital wouldn’t allow it. I finally met my baby properly while they were stitching up my first-degree tear, which wasn’t ideal, but I had my healthy baby, and I had managed a vaginal birth after two c-sections, which I was very grateful for.

I went home after two days, and I must say, the ambos and the nurses could not have been more kind or supportive.

But the real standout was Alison.

She is honestly one of the most beautiful and caring people I know. During the pregnancy and labour she could not have been more supportive. Not just of me, but of my husband, who tends to freeze in stressful emotional situations.

After I was taken away in the ambulance, she stayed at my home and cleaned everything up so that I came home to a clean and tidy house.

Once I was home Alison’s postpartum care was brilliant. She still comes around with delicious, nutritious meals, as well as giving me massages. We even had a belly binding ceremony.

We have no family in Australia, and honestly, having Alison is like having birth mum. Her care and support are unconditional. She always knew exactly what I needed, and was there to provide it. I feel like she will always be part of my family now.

I only wish doulas were more well known. Every mum needs one. It shouldn’t be a luxury, or optional. Everyone should have one. It makes such a difference. Having a baby takes such a toll on your body, and society is still very patriarchal in the belief you should ‘get back to normal’ as quickly as possible. A doula, especially a postpartum doula, helps nurture you through.

For me, I’d like to see the medical industry update their ideas, and support women who have had a one or more caesareans if they want to try a vaginal birth. I am so grateful I got my natural birth – it was so empowering. It felt amazing to know that my body did that.

With Alison as my doula, I knew she was there for me and my baby. She doesn’t focus on the fears, but on the positive and the natural. I always felt she had my best interests at heart – I always felt ‘she’s got me’.

My family really is complete now, but if I was ever to have another baby, I would absolutely want Alison by my side.

If you would like support in your journey to motherhood, please give me a call on 0422 258 771, I would love to chat. Or contact me here.



The Benefits of Using Herbal Remedies in Pregnancy, Childbirth and Postpartum

Creating new life is the most natural thing in the world. That doesn’t mean it comes without challenges and difficulties. But it is my belief that many of the challenges, both physical and emotional, can be eased by the use of the natural herbs and remedies women all over the world have been using to heal and nourish their bodies for centuries.

That’s not to say there isn’t a role for the medical fraternity. Of course there is. But in the normal course of events, with a medically standard pregnancy and birth, herbal remedies provide a safe, effective solution to the normal stresses, strains and discomforts of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.

Little Yarrow

Early on in my time as a Doula I recognised the importance of understanding the use of herbal remedies, not just as external concoctions and teas, but as central ingredients in creating healing and nourishing postpartum foods.

I searched for somewhere I could learn what benefit specific herbs could bring, and how to use them. This is when I came across Little Yarrow Herbal Medicine.

The Little Yarrow Apprenticeship is focussed on providing an understanding of the properties of a range of herbs and ingredients, and when and how to use them safely.

This incredible course has enriched my ability to provide my clients with the best possible care during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.

Uses for Herbal Medicine

Many of the ingredients we use in Herbal Medicine have multiple benefits, and by combining them in the right way, we can provide relief for a range of normal pregnancy ailments, taking into account five key goals:

  1. Enhancing nutrition during pregnancy and postpartum
  2. Strengthening the uterus both before and after birth
  3. Supporting the nervous system to alleviate stress, anxiety and exhaustion
  4. Easing minor ailments that are part and parcel of the changes occurring in your body
  5. Preparing for birth, and healing afterwards

Herbal Medicine can help in ensuring these goals are met.


Some of the common ailments women experience in pregnancy, which can be alleviated by herbal remedies, are:

  • Constipation
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Haemorrhoids and varicose veins


For some women birthing is quick, for others it’s a slow process. There is no right or wrong. Herbal remedies can help when a woman experiences:

  • Nausea
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Labour pains


Pregnancy and birth takes a toll on your body, and it is important not to put too much pressure on yourself to ‘get back to normal’. That said, you don’t need to suffer unnecessarily with aches and pains which can be soothed with simple, gentle treatment. Herbal remedies can help you during your postpartum period with:

  • Healing tears and wounds of the perineum
  • Aching muscles
  • Increasing and enhancing milk supply
  • Breast feeding issues like mastitis and cracked sore nipples
  • Supporting uterine health by relieving heavy flow and cramping
  • Supporting energy and mood

Herbal Remedies from a Doula

Since completing the Little Yarrow Herbal Medicine Apprenticeship I have developed a range of teas, soaks, meal and snack recipes which incorporate the remedies I learned about. These nourishing and healing recipes help my clients feel great and recover from the strain pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period puts on their bodies.

If you wish to use my services as a Postpartum Doula a range of food is included in the package. However, you can also purchase many of my products here. (link to shop page)

I prepare all my products, meals and snacks by hand in small batches.[1]


A Simple Recipe[2]

I would like to share with you a simple infusion recipe you can create yourself at home that will help boost your mood during both pregnancy and postpartum.

3tspn Lemon Balm

3tspn Passionflower

3tspn Chamomile

Brew as a strong tea, leaving for 15 minutes in hot water. Strain before drinking.

Whether you feel you would like to include the support of a Doula in your pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience, or you would just like to experience the benefits of some of my herbal remedies, I would love to chat. Please give me a call on 0422 258 771 or contact me here.

[1] I have a NSW Government Food Authority Food Safety First Certificate for food preparation.

[2] Whilst all these herbs are safe for use in pregnancy, it is always a good idea to check with your health care professional when trying something new.

Alison wearing baby


Postpartum Story

We were so excited to hire Alison to be our doula in the winter of 2021, but the Delta variant of Covid had other plans for us. Leading up to the birth of our baby, we always knew we wanted Alison by our side, to help me, to help my partner, to support us and guide us through the journey of the birth of our first child. That gave us a lot of confidence.

But when Sydney plunged into lockdown at the end of June 2021, just two weeks before my due date, we knew things might not go to plan. We clung to the thought and hope of Alison being with us for the birth of our child, but ultimately the hospitals would not allow her inside, which was unfortunately something completely out of our control. We were lucky that Alison was able to prepare us so well before the birth that it took so much of the stress and fear of the ‘unknown’ out of it.

Alison told us that although she couldn’t be with us for the birth of our son, she would be there for our postpartum care. As a first-time mother, I had no idea what to expect from a postpartum doula. I can tell you that the day she walked into my house, a week after my birth, I was so happy. She carried a bag full of amazing, mouth-watering food, along with a calm attitude and a gentle, caring spirit. She immediately gave me and my husband a break, allowed us to eat some incredibly wholesome food, and let our minds reset, even if it was a temporary reset.

Alison visited me every Thursday for the following six weeks, and I couldn’t wait for Thursday to come around. I knew Alison would arrive at my house in the morning with more amazing food and more amazing support. Not only would she hold the baby so I could shower, but she’d hang the laundry, she’d make me a cup of coffee, and most importantly she would validate my thoughts and feelings.

I was recovering from a mentally and emotionally traumatic birth and one of the best things that Alison ever did for me was sit in my living room with me and debrief my entire birth so that I had a safe space to voice and explore my feelings. I only ever felt supported.

Alison also taught me the best way to ‘wear’ my baby, which was great. And her postpartum massage and healing herbs for my sore bits were amazing. For me there is no doubt a postpartum doula can help speed up your body’s healing after birth as well as provide that extra pair of hands that help you get through the exhaustion.

Alison also knows if you need any additional care, and is across all the best specialist carers to refer you to. Whether it’s a lactation specialist or a chiropractor, Alison can point you in the direction of someone who understands exactly where you’re at.

When our baby was seven months old we had to make and emergency trip overseas for family reasons. I was so happy Alison agreed to come with us. She not only helped take care of the baby during the stress of getting on and off planes, but also during the flight so we could get a break. Once we arrived, having her with us allowed us to take care of things we needed to without worrying about the baby. I knew he was in safe, familiar hands. I would definitely recommend anyone needing to travel with a baby takes a doula with them. And you couldn’t ask for a better doula than Alison. 

It was an invaluable experience having Alison as my postpartum doula. Every woman deserves to have a postpartum doula. Not only did she give us warm, nutritious, amazing food every week – she provided an extra set of hands to hold the baby, help around the house, assuage my fears, and validate my feelings as a first-time mother. She is warm, comforting, and a genuinely wonderful person to be around, especially supporting you in those vulnerable weeks postpartum.

sealing ceremony

Nurturing the Mother – the Sealing Ceremony and Belly Binding

Pregnancy and childbirth is a magical experience. It can also physically and emotionally deconstruct you in a way no other experience can. And once the birth is over, it can seem like all eyes, and care, turn to the baby. A ceremony, much like the ones our ancestors may have held, honours the role you have played in sharing your body and bringing forth new life, and is an important part of helping you restore your balance, allowing you to move into motherhood with grace and ease.

One of the most beautiful ways of doing this is through the Sealing Ceremony and Belly Binding, marking the transition from maiden to mother, a rite of passage which must be marked, honoured, and valued.

What is the Purpose of a Sealing Ceremony?

During childbirth a woman’s body is all about opening up to allow new life to come into the world. This can leave a woman, who has shared her body with her baby for nearly ten months, feeling empty and vulnerable.

A Sealing Ceremony is a way of honouring the role of your body, and returning it fully to your own possession.

The Sealing Ceremony

Whilst a Sealing Ceremony can be done anywhere from about 6 hours after birth, I recommend waiting till around 2-6 weeks postpartum. This ceremony is designed to replenish and nurture both your body and your mind, and celebrate your journey from woman to mother.

First a calming, nurturing space is set up using candles, essential oils and a space cleansing spray to dispel stagnant energy and protect your aura.

You will then sink into a Cleopatra Milk Bath or a Healing Herb Bath. These fragrant baths are full of ayurvedic herbs chosen specially to heal and relax the body.

After the bath you will be massaged with luxurious scented oil, with special attention to your womb space, before being wrapped in cloths. Heated flax lavender packs will be tucked around your body. I then bestow blessings as you are firmly ‘tucked in’ with warm blankets. Now is the time to rest, enveloped in warmth, and to reflect on your journey through pregnancy and into motherhood.

When you are ready your belly will be massaged with warming Ayurvedic oil and you will be encased in either a Bengkung or modern Belly Bind.

Finally, healing postpartum tea or ceremonial cocoa is drunk as we sit together acknowledging your birth experience, and stepping into motherhood feeling heard, strong and supported.

What is Belly Binding?

Belly Binding is an ancient tradition that has been practiced for hundreds of years in many cultures around the world.

During pregnancy your organs move and many of your muscles separate in order to accommodate your growing baby. Binding your belly helps your body heal and recover. Organs are gently encouraged back into their original positions, and stretched muscles are supported as they heal. Your pelvic floor, in particular, comes under a lot of stress during pregnancy, and binding helps support this group of muscles as they return to their normal strength.

Generally, your muscles should be fully healed around two months post-birth. Occasionally, muscles don’t heal as quickly as they should. This is called Diastasis Recti. Using a Bengkung Belly Bind, in combination with some form of physical therapy will help with this condition.

Types of Belly Binding

Traditionally, belly binding has been done using a soft cloth around 14-15 metres long, which is usually brightly coloured. This is wrapped and knotted around the body from the hips to under the breasts.

There are now ‘preconstructed’ belly binds available that are made from traditional fabric, and include the knots, but are fastened with Velcro. These are ideal if you will be putting the belly binding on yourself without assistance, as learning to wrap the traditional bindings can be tricky, not to mention time consuming.

How to Belly Bind

It is important to get the amount of pressure in belly binding right. You are looking for firm but gentle support. If you can’t sit down, or you are having trouble taking normal breaths, the binding is too tight. In fact, it’s a good idea to get advice from me on just how firm it needs to be.

Can I use Belly Binding if I had a C-Section?

Belly binding can be particularly helpful if you’ve had a C-Section, as it will support the muscles around the incision site as they knit back together. However, it is important to wait until the wound is dry and healed before binding, so check with your midwife or obstetrician for clearance first.

When Should I Bind?

After a vaginal delivery you can start wearing a belly bind as soon as you feel ready. Ideally, it should be worn 12 hours a day – you can even sleep in it if you want to – for around 6 weeks, although you can continue to wear it for up to 12 if you wish.

As I mentioned earlier, if you have had a c-section, you should wait until your wound is sufficiently healed before you start binding, but it’s likely to be around 2-4 weeks post-delivery.

Who Performs Sealing & Binding Ceremonies?

Not all Postpartum Doula’s will provide a Sealing and Binding Ceremony, but I believe it is an important ritual to include as part of the Postpartum healing journey.

If you are pregnant and would like to book a Sealing Ceremony and Belly Binding, you would like to gift a ceremony to someone you know, or you would like to talk about how adding a doula to your pregnancy, birth and postpartum support team can help you, I would love to chat. Give me a call on 0422 258 771 or contact me: