How did I become a Fertility and Postpartum Practitioner? And what exactly is that?

Many moons ago my grand plan was to be a psychologist. So I started on my journey completing a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University. I LOVE all the brain and neuro stuff. I also love working with people. I do however like having a range of options when it comes to who I work with. After chatting with my best friends’ mother who was a social work uni lecturer, I decided that after my arts degree majoring in psychology, I wanted to do a more practical course. I then went and completed my Bachelor of Social Work, which included 2 lengthy in-field placements. I was lucky to gain employment both times after each placement. For a short while I worked with a foster care agency with at-risk youth doing social activities. My second placement was at Monash Medical centre in Clayton, and a few years later I gained employment there as well.

After I graduated, I worked for The Salvation Army working in transitional housing and women’s crisis accommodation. We then went on our big overseas adventure. We lived in the UK for 12 months. During that time, we travelled but mostly worked to save. I was lucky enough to get work in an adoption agency. I really enjoyed working with people who so passionately wanted to become parents. I wish more work in Australia was available to work in adoption. After working we backpacked around Europe for nearly 6 months straight before returning home.

Once home (and newly engaged), I managed to get a social work job back at Monash Medical Centre. Over the 6 years I worked there, I worked mostly in the neurosciences (stroke, neurology and neurosurgery), palliative care and a small stint at rehab. It was a fast paced, challenging environment with lots of learning opportunities.

During my time working there, I got married and started our long journey of trying to conceive. I went through two miscarriages during my time working there. I had a super supportive manager, supervisor, and some close colleagues. But I think I knew in my heart, as I left that office now 6 years ago, finally on maternity leave, it was likely not where I would return. I wanted something more family friendly, no on call, and not as crazy paced.

I then spent the next 5 years having baby after baby! Deep in the trenches of my mothering season of winter. During that time, I strongly felt the urge to work with new mamas. I just was not sure in what capacity. I considered going down the mental health social work avenue (which is on my future to-do list), but I kept coming back to wanting to support mamas in their home during the early days after their baby was born. I also always knew since going through our fertility and loss journey that I would want to work and/or volunteer in the area of fertility and pregnancy loss.

Before Lily’s birth I came across Julia Jones from Newborn Mothers. I looked into her course for postpartum doulas. I had never heard of this before. I also had never anticipated or thought about starting and owning my own business. I held off until after Lily was one, to really start exploring my options. I kept coming back to the Newborn Mothers Collective course. After much discussion, in 2018 I took the leap and did the course. As well as other small courses around perinatal mental health, perinatal loss, trauma informed care and the list continues.

I have played around with what I am in a professional sense. I want a role that ties in all my training, knowledge, and mothering experience. So, I am at this point in time calling myself a Fertility and Postpartum practitioner.

So, what do I do as a Fertility and Postpartum Practitioner? There are so many aspects and offerings to what I do. Firstly, the postpartum aspect. My role is to support the new mama (and her family) as they experience the transition through Matrescence. What is that you may wonder? Matrescence is “like adolescence, it is the emergence of a whole new identity: physical, emotional, societal, spiritual. It starts with the first thought of pregnancy, and does not really end…Matrescence is the emergence of the new identity-mother- while you’re still trying to comprehend what happened to the old identity. It’s the acknowledgment of the birth of a whole new you”- Amy Taylor-Kabbaz (Mama Rising-Discovering the New You Through Motherhood 2019).

As a mother myself, I experienced this change. I also felt the pressure to just get on with things after my baby was born. It can be so hard to ask for help and to build your village of support. I am the person who can support a new family as they navigate all this change. I provide the opportunity to mothers to rest and heal after pregnancy and birth and help them harness their intuition when it comes to the care of their baby. I can be the one that knows what resources are available to mama and then be the one to link her to what she needs. I am, what use to be, the local village women, who cared for the mamas during that critical fourth trimester. I am also that fellow wise women, who shares knowledge and stories to help mamas feel confident in their own Knowing.

My fertility and loss support comes in a variety of ways. I can help you do a plan on wholly preparing for pregnancy via assisted conception. I can also be part of your fertility support team and support you through your IUI/IVF cycle. For those that have experienced the tragedy of pregnancy and infant loss, I can be there in your home caring for you while you physically recover and emotionally heal. Just like the postpartum packages (you are still going through postpartum even after a loss) I am there to allow you space to rest, be nourished and to be the listening ear while you process and reflect on all that has occurred. I am also a Pink Elephant’s peer support ambassador. So, I currently work online moderating the online groups and providing support with online live chat. I also have developed a pregnancy and infant loss hamper for those that have had a loss.

As you can see its been a fairly long journey to where I am now. I have my business A Mama is Born, and I have called myself a Fertility and Postpartum Practitioner. I have a range of experience with my studies, courses and mothering and parenting journey. This world of babies, children and mothering has always been in my bones. I am so glad I have landed where I am now with it all. Get in touch if any of this resonates with you and I can help you personally or work with you professionally.

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