Collaborating with Bernadett Kasza of ‘Womanly Art Of Birth’

Womanly Art of Birth

We are delighted to share that Tops Day Nurseries has forged a valuable partnership with “Womanly Art Of Birth,” an initiative spearheaded by the dedicated and highly knowledgeable Bernadett Kasza.

So, who is Bernadett Kasza?

Bernadett Kasza is a well-established birth professional in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, and the New Forest area. She has been working with women for over 15 years now.

She is an expert in pregnancy and birth physiology, passionate about education and research (with a special focus on pain theories) and a gritty advocate of her client’s birth choices.

Her Doula support service boasts of a 100% satisfactory rate for women having the birth they wanted! All her clients choosing to give birth vaginally used no pharmaceutical pain management (no, not even gas and air) during their labour and birth, and had a very low birth interventions rate thus babies are born to mothers supported by Bernadett are strong and healthy with a high Apgar score at birth.

Bernadett applies the bio-psycho-social-spiritual-environmental model to her work at the Womanly Art of Birth

And now that we’ve learned a bit more about the founder of “Womanly Art Of Birth,” Bernadett Kasza, we’re thrilled to share an insightful piece she has generously crafted for us, aimed at providing valuable guidance to expectant parents.

How to prepare for the arrival of your new baby following a traumatic birth experience?

Are you thinking of growing your family or did the exciting news finally hit you following the (last) positive pregnancy test?

While waiting for the arrival of your squeaky new family member there is so much to consider, prepare, plan and arrange.

But sooner or later your attention will be naturally directed back to your previous birth experience(s). For some women and birthing people, it can be quite challenging to think about it.

You will naturally compare your pregnancy to your previous one(s). You will naturally think that your second (or subsequent) birth may be similar to your previous one. Generally speaking, no two pregnancies are the same, equally, no two labour and birth are the same.

In our busy lives, we often have to brush negative (birth) experiences under the carpet in an attempt to recover quickly and move on. We may attempt to come up with some explanation or excuse as to ‘what happened at birth had to happen’ and such.

Sadly, birth trauma is becoming a general norm in our modern society.

Understanding Birth Trauma: Breaking the Silence

The term “birth trauma” is used to encompass everyone who feels that their birth experience is continuing to affect them in a way of not being able to talk about their birth without feeling sad, regretful and/or tearful. Feeling guilty or emotionally numb, having flashbacks or nightmares and developing PTSD (in severe cases) can also be a sign.

There is no one size fits all description of what causes trauma as what we find emotionally or physically traumatising is unique to us as individuals. 

Maybe your labour and birth didn’t turn out how you had hoped for.

Maybe you had a very fast labour and birth, or a very slow one.

Any intervention such as induction, c-section, forceps or ventouse delivery can be the source of a traumatic experience, especially if they cause further damage i.e. a perineal tear or injury to the newborn.

How you were treated during your labour and birth can often be extremely disempowering. Maybe the medical staff was disrespectful or inconsiderate towards your wishes. Feeling left alone and not supported during such a vulnerable time can be extremely frightening.

Please, be assured that birth trauma is a topic that is more common than it’s talked about. If you have any negative feelings regarding your previous birth(s) please know that you are not alone. 

How can you prepare for the arrival of your new family member in light of such previous events?

I have worked with many second-time mums and families who have had a wide variety of previous negative birth experiences. Some of these women had severe, often temporarily disabling physical birth trauma that left a heavy mark on their emotional health as well as on their physical bodies. Some of my clients just wanted to be sure that what happened previously would not happen again and that their wishes and rights would be represented and respected in the birthing room.

Such traumatic experiences should be faced and processed and there are certain steps you can take to work through them:

  • Write down your birth story

However difficult it is, try to face your story and write everything down to ‘a T’. All your feelings, everything. Make notes on how certain parts of the story still affect you. Some might be easy to write but some will be difficult. Those difficult parts of your story are the ones you still have not fully processed.

  • Talk about your birth story

Telling your birth story to people you deem trustworthy can facilitate emotional healing.  It is good to speak to as many people as you can trust and find sympathy in because it will help you face your story, process it further and find courage within yourself.

  • Reflection

Think about what worked well for you during your labour and birth. What coping strategies did you manage to apply for the first stage of labour? Which elements of your experience do you want to avoid the second time around? What would you like to do differently? Think about how you can make this happen.

  • File a request for your maternity notes to the hospital where you gave birth 

You have the right to access your maternity notes, the NHS will keep your records for 25 years following the birth of your child.

  • Learn about your options and your rights

Depending on what type of birth you had before, i.e. you may have had a C-section but wish to have a vaginal birth with your second baby, you can begin to explore your choices and educate yourself about your birthrights. 

  • Knowledge is power

It’s time for research! Dig deep into the topic you wish to know more about. There are many good-quality books published in the field of pregnancy and birth. Be careful with simple searches on the internet. It is extremely important to understand the difference between good and bad quality information.

Alternatively, you can attend local antenatal classes and Hypnobirthing classes. You may have attended one before however, attending another (maybe even a more informative one) can spark light-bulb moments and may even give you more specific information regarding your current situation.

  • Work with a birth professional

When an expecting parent turns to me for birth trauma counselling or doula support, we go through all the steps described above. I work in a trauma-informed way, keeping an inclusive and non-judgemental safe space for intimate conversations.

I go through their maternity notes and give an independent and professional evaluation of the series of events that occurred during labour and birth.

We unpick the story step by step to where we can tie in policies and procedures, birth physiology, current medical knowledge and sometimes outdated practices to understand why it happened the way it did. This provides the most powerful realisations in my practice of working with women during their second (third or more) pregnancies or when they turn to me for a birth trauma consultation after the birth of their child.

This can often be complex work however the outcome, speaking for my own clients, is always a 100 % success in achieving a healing birth next time around.

If you wish to discuss your birth story with a deeply understanding birth professional or just simply writing it down, I am here to listen to you.

with Womanly love,

Bernadett Kasza

(Womanly Art Of Birth)

Posted in: Advice, General