Name: Audrey Victor
Location: East Renfrewshire, Glasgow
Name of your business/group/your role/job: YogaBellies Teacher, Birth Rocks Mentor, aspiring doula and aromatherapist!
URL: Twitter and facebook handles: Audrey YogaBellies (FB)
Why do you love all things pregnancy birth and baby?
This is simply because pregnancy and birth are glorious, wonderful examples of nature’s finest work. And babies, well they are all amazing, angelic miracles and they smell like actual heaven!
What brought you to this line of work?
Hmmm, well if you had met me in 2003 you would never have guessed that this is where I would be today. I was a career focussed woman with absolutely no plans to have children at all. Mother Nature however, had other plans for me! When I fell pregnant it was a shock to say the least! I struggled to embrace my pregnancy and growing baby until I was around 6 months pregnant. I did not prepare at all for labour or birth, I did not read one pregnancy related book. I worked and my belly grew and that was it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved feeling my baby move deep within my womb and I was looking forward to meetingthis wee person when the time came but it never even dawned on me that I should be preparing more. Skip to labour and a diagnosis, at 6cm dilated, of a footling breech baby, enter a crowd of very excited medical students all really keen to have peek at this presentation and a consultant who explained that we would be moving to theatre for an emergency caesarean birth. My gorgeous Adam was born safe and sound but I was a wreck and unfortunately this was the case for the first few years of my mothering journey. I struggled to breastfeed although I was determined; I had no support and no idea where to find any, needless to say it did not work out for us. I went back to work 4 days a week when Adam was only 12 weeks old and continued to struggle through my new life deeply unhappy but desperately in love with my amazing son. I yearned for something to change but was too exhausted and frightened to do anything so the universe eventually kicked me up the ass in 2008 and my entire life changed within a week! I left my job unexpectedly with no idea what I was going to do and two days later a friend told me about working as a doula, I walked straight through that beautifully open door and learned so much and healed so much and discovered my purpose and passion in life; to support women and families through this sometimes rocky journey and to impress the very real importance of preparing for birth and parenting! In 2010 I gave birth to my second child, Noah in a fabulous birth pool at a midwife led unit. I had practiced yoga throughout my pregnancy and was determined to birth naturally, encouraged by all my learning over the years and armed with so much empowering knowledge that I knew to very centre of my being that this birth would go as planned, and it frikkin did! This time I experienced a seamless transition from birth to breastfeeding which Noah and I continued to enjoy well passed his 2nd birthday. It all went as nature intended it to. I met Cheryl MacDonald, YogaBellies founder when Noah was about 7 months old and once again I took a giant leap of faith and threw myself into my wonderful new life as a YogaBellies teacher and Birth Rocks mentor.
What does your work involve and why do you feel it’s so important?
In my YogaBellies classes for pregnancy the focus is on preparing the pregnant woman’s body, mind and spirit for birth and motherhood through gentle yoga practices of breath and body awareness as well as deep relaxation and self-hypnosis. We have weekly discussions, encouraging woman to interact with one another and form friendships with other pregnant woman. Over the years I have watched these friendships blossom and grow as these woman support one another through the post natal period and as their babies grow up together. To me this is such an important aspect of what I do within my community.
At my YogaBellies for Mum & Baby class I create a fun and relaxed environment where mothers can continue the boding process through play with their babies using lovely baby yoga moves and focus on calming the mind, healing and strengthening after birth through beautiful and specific yoga practices. Once again these classes encourage friendships to form as women support each other through this often challenging period.
As a Birth Rocks mentor I guide couples through a journey of self-discovery as they work together to release fears, learn to relax through hypnobirthing and beautiful yogic techniques and fill up their “birthing toolbox” with practical support measures that are suited to the birthing mothers inherent coping mechanism – We are in birth as we are in life!
What is the most important piece of advice you would give a pregnant woman?
Don’t put your blinkers on, it will not help you, I know this first hand! If something feels instinctively important to you regarding your choices for birth then look into it, know the facts, NEVER allow your hopes to be dismissed. Read just one brilliantly, positive birthing book, and keep re-reading it! Practice yoga to develop a deeper awareness of your ever changing body and to bond with your baby as you relax and build up your physical, mental and spiritual strength! Lastly have faith in your wondrous, womanly body and your incredible feminine inner strength and breathe, breathe, breathe………….
What is the most important piece of advice you would give a new mum?
Trust YOUR instincts! Don’t get dressed for at least 6 weeks, NEVER be afraid to ask for support and breathe, breathe, breathe….
Do you have any great tips for childbirth or a ‘must have?’
Mindful, yogic breathing and relaxation are two of the most powerful birthing support measures –FACT! Move instinctively with your labouring body as your primal mind takes over, it’s awesome! Choose the best birth partner for you, someone who supports your choices, knows and respects your hopes for your birth and hire a doula!
What is your personal birth philosophy?
Become empowered through POSITIVE knowledge of the birthing process and believe right down the centre of your very being that this is what your body is made to do. You are a WOMAN, it doesn’t get much better than being able to nurture and grow your baby through pregnancy and then to birth them from you own body into this world, does it???
What are your thoughts on preparing for childbirth?
It’s vital, whatever that preparation may mean to you. Essentially it is so important to focus on your overall wellbeing through pregnancy. You might relax more, pray, meditate or practice yoga, attend birth preparation classes, hang out with more pregnant woman, talk to mothers with positive birth stories, read books, watch births on youtube, swim or walk more. Keep up your strength and fitness as much as you can, eat what your body commands of you and embrace a positive expectation of YOUR birth!
Your top tips for getting back to work after birth and working around your family?
This is a tricky one as everyone has such different situations but in a nutshell I would say take as much time off with your baby as you are able to. If it doesn’t feel right to go back to what you used to do before you became a mother then perhaps it’s time to take a leap of faith and follow your heart, I did and I have never looked back!