My Birthlight Journey – Wendy Langshaw
My Birthlight Journey began in 2000 when I started Bellies, backs & babies which is a Physiotherapy practice focused on supporting Mums and Mums to be in Adelaide, Australia. I was passionate about working with pregnant and postnatal women and started aquanatal classes and pregnancy and postnatal Pilates classes. Personally I had been going to regular yoga classes for a number of years and often wove yoga into my work. Around that time I stumbled upon Francoise Freedman’s Aqua Yoga for Pregnancy book in a local bookshop. It was a chance finding and I was really excited to find resources that fitted beautifully with how I ran my classes. My connection to Francoise’s work and Birthlight began.
Several years later we moved to the UK for work and travel. Whilst in the UK I wanted to pursue learning acupuncture, women’s health and pelvic floor assessment and I was keen to train with Birthlight however at that stage I could only train if I was a qualified yoga instructor. Whilst that is one of my goals, the timing wasn’t right to pursue it so I continued to train in other areas of interest.
Whilst I was pregnant with my first baby, I looked at some details on Birthlight to see if anyone locally was holding classes. I was overjoyed to discover that, for the first time ever, Birthlight was running a Birthing Lightly Course for Health Professionals. I was so excited! I immediately rang and spoke with Francoise- could I do it? Yes –there was no reason not to as long as my baby didn’t arrive early.
So at 36 weeks pregnant with my first baby, in a quite extraordinary turn of synchronicity I returned to the hospital I’d been born at in North London 35 years earlier, to complete the first part of the course. We’ve moved from London to Australia when I was 6 months old so I had never returned to the place of my birth. It was eerie as well as exciting.
Birthing Lightly was amazing. My body and soul totally lapped it up. It felt like my baby did too. I felt surrounded by deep love, care and connection and extraordinary wisdom. The Birthlight team on the course – Francoise Freedman and Obstetrician Dr Amali Lokugamage and other members of the Birthlight team leading the course – oozed the essence of Birthlight – to bring the joy into birth and babies. I learnt so much that weekend at a core body and soul level as well as cerebrally which led me into my birth and postnatal recovery as well as providing me with a wealth of additional knowledge and teaching skills for the future.
At 38 weeks I was also asked to join Vipuli, Amali and Francoise in filming Birthlight Yoga Dance for Pregnancy using inspiration from Sri Lankan classical and folk dances taught by teacher Vipuli which was another extraordinary experience. Last year I saw footage for the first time and my daughter, then 4 was very excited to see the dances and know that she was part of that experience. Together we returned to finish the postnatal part of the course when she was about 6 months old and it was wonderful going full circle.
Starting training with Birthlight triggered a chain of events that has continued in a wonderful way as I have woven Birthlight principles into my life as a woman, as a Mum and wife, and in my work as Physiotherapist. Whilst I had previously done yoga, training with Birthlight has added something deeper into my practice and work. For me the Birthlight approach is accessible, well-grounded and for every woman and baby. It deepens my connectivity to myself, others and my world and brings joy and light.
I am forever thankful that I have been able to be train with Birthlight and weave its essence into my life and my work as a Physiotherapist and I look forward to continuing to train with further baby and well women courses. Whilst I am now on the other side of the world, I am delighted to see more Birthlight growing in presence in Australia, and I know that Mums, babies, women in general and families and community at large will all benefit from the wonderful ripple effect. Thank you all for being part of this Birthlight family, sharing the joy and continued expansion on so many levels.