Kicki Hansard, author, educator, mother and founder of BirthBliss Academy (www.birthblissacademy.com) grew up in Swedish Lapland – the land of the Northern Lights and the midnight sun – on the shores of a lake, surrounded by deep forests. She trained as a doula in 2002 with BOND which was run by Cassandra Clemence and Ingrid Lewis, two Birthlight teachers.
The two traits that she learned from this environment was patience and acceptance of any situation as it is. Winters lasting for 8 months with temperatures below -25 degrees Celsius, with no more than four hours of daylight shapes you as a person and builds stamina and resilience. These are skills that Kicki cherish and uses in all areas of her life. Kicki strives to inspire others and she is known for her positive and optimistic outlook on life. Her passion is to support and encourage those around her to claim their own power by making informed choices and owning their experiences through the different phases of life.
Kicki has various ties with Birthlight. She has been a speaker at one of our Womb to World conferences and Birthlight teachers have benefitted from her special guest workshops. In 2014, Kicki trained the very first doulas in Shanghai in association with Birthlight to complement our Perinatal Yoga training course, starting the doula movement in China. Kicki’s philosophy is close to Birthlight’s:
On 2nd September, Kicki has been motivated to launch a campaign to safeguard women’s and couples’ ability to make choices about their babies’ births. As everything Kicki does, this campaign is as sensible as it is inspiring. I felt motivated to call Kicki and to share her call with all Birthlight members. We just cannot be silent at this crucial time when women’s maternity rights are in jeopardy.
When the first lockdown restrictions were put in place, we all agreed to them wholeheartedly to support the NHS and, as Kicki puts it, ‘for the sake of the planet’. When the 5th June guidelines were issued for maternity care, some restrictions were lifted but the lack of consistency in implementing them across NHS trusts created a lot of confusion and anxiety. Doulas’ admission was truly unpredictable while partners continued to have to sit in hospital car parks waiting for the news of fully established labour to reach them, often too late. The rationale for measures presented as protecting staff and patients is getting increasingly obscure given the lift of restrictions in other settings. How is risk evaluated? Transparency and accountability are empty words: How and Why are legitimate questions.
Birth Choices Scotland’s recent campaign was instrumental in the Covid19 Phase 3 Scotland’s Route Map (9th July 2020). The full range of birth options will be available across Health Boards, including home birth, from 31 July. This includes the option of two birth partners.
In the rest of the UK, there is a risk that closures and restrictions might become ‘the new normal’. We simply cannot let this happen. There is so much research about the importance of reducing maternal anxiety, promoting a secure parent-baby bond and having a fulfilling birth experience. Women’s resilience cannot be used to erase hard won maternity rights.
Taking the pacific route and appealing to compassion as well as reason, Kicki’s campaign urges us all to make calls or put pen to paper to ‘tell’ our local MPs why maternity choices should be safeguarded at all costs rather than targeted for cuts.
Pressure can achieve results. We just need to keep going, Kicki says, we can win this tortoise and hare mad race.
- So currently you can go to the pub but your partner cannot come to antenatal appointments or scans,
- You can travel abroad with your family but you have to go into maternity alone for an induction of Labour
- You can have a social bubble but can’t have who you want in your birth bubble
- You can work in the hospital while pregnant but you can’t have who you want with you during the birth of your baby
If PPE works, why do we have all these restrictions?
Whilst valid at the start of the pandemic, these restrictions are now unnecessary and adversely affecting the health and well-being of parents and their babies. There are countless stories emerging about increases in traumatic births, stillbirths, women birthing alone. And yet as many organisations, MVPs and members of the public fight for change, they are not being heard.
#Enough We need to take action before these restrictions become the new normal.
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