Birthing Centre Newsletter May 2018

Newsletter May 2018

Birthing Centre Newsletter | May 2018





In this issue



International Day of the Midwife 2018

Milestones at Bethlehem and Te Papaioea Birthing Centres




Letter from the founder 

Dear all,

Ever since I began this intimate involvement in birthing I have been astounded by my interchanges with midwives. Well, they are not actually interchanges as the knowledge has mainly been one way. I ask myself, ‘why have I never known this?’ and I am constantly excited by this journey of learning. And especially by the discovery of the layers to midwifery. I think, I hope, I have been accepted into the sisterhood in an honorary capacity.

So, I was walking through the Bethlehem Birthing Centre carpark the other day and I came across two midwives (LMCs) and I stopped to chat. The conversation turned to women giving birth to girl babies and the importance of vaginal births, where possible, as hormones are transferred this way that better prepare those girl babies for birthing their own babies. Please excuse the layman explanation. I expect most of you reading this know this. A very pleasant conversation with an obstetrician gave some comfort that non-vaginal birthing mothers are put on a drip to obtain those hormones. But I got to wondering, how many women don’t know about this natural process that prepares girl babies for their own birthing experience? If we are to talk about women’s choices for birth, shouldn’t women be informed of all aspects of ‘the miracle of birth’? Being the last of six girl babies, I give thanks to my own mother’s capacity to birth. Thanks mum x.

Literally, each new day brings new learning if we open our eyes, ears, and hearts. I went to Christchurch to meet with an incredible group of women led by Dr Patricia Champion. For over 40 years Dr Champion has immersed herself in the care of premature babies. Now I know this is beyond the scope of primary birthing, but none of us are beyond the scope of caring for and supporting those families who meet the special challenges that may arise with a premature birth. The anxiety of a mother and father, especially when they cannot, for any reason, be with their child 24/7 along with the specialist care that baby needs and all the mother wants is to be attached. They spoke of feelings of long held guilt, of attachment issues, the physical and emotional development of the child. Again, I found myself captivated by what is, and what can be. A book will be written that will shine a light on the complexities of premature birth and will be shared with families throughout New Zealand. I would like to give thanks to Patricia, Steph, Abby, and Julie for sharing with me their vision, their love, and their soon to be published book.

In moments of reflection I ask myself, ‘how is it you grew up a tomboy, no interest in dolls and ‘girl’ play?’ and yet here I am totally immersed in the sisterhood and babies? I put it down to my skill at rescuing birds from the cat, my Catholic girlfriend, and very tolerant and compassionate parents. But that is another story.

We talk of collaboration, of sharing, of ‘growing the good’, but at times if we feel excluded or don’t have a voice, then think of the words of Edwin Markim:  (slight adaptation)

They drew a circle that shut me out,
Rebel, activist, a thing to flout,
But love and I had the wit to win,
I drew a circle that took them in.

May kindness be our guide,

Chloe Wright
CEO, Birthing Centre Ltd





International Day of the Midwife: May 5


Midwives play a crucial role in the community. International Day of the Midwife, which was celebrated on May 5, was established by the International Confederation of Midwives to highlight the work of midwives.

This year’s theme, ‘Midwives leading the way with quality care’, is indicative of the importance of the profession.
International Day of the Midwife is an opportunity to pause, reflect and say thank you to midwives for their work.
At Birthing Centre we are committed to advocating for midwifery recognition, and support the midwifery-led care system in New Zealand. Midwives – both LMCs and staff midwives – play a crucial role in the service provided at Birthing Centre.
Midwives practice autonomously while fostering collegial team ethos in the community. They work hard physically and emotionally, and are connected to their mothers’ want and needs. Their clinical skills are balanced with their empathetic qualities.
Midwifery offers an opportunity for personal growth. Midwives advocate for women - being the experts in primary care, they empower women. Through a relationship forged in trust, women relate to their midwife years after the birth - they can tell their stories and share the growth of their children.

Read coverage of Te Papaioea Birthing Centre’s celebrations in the Manawatu Standard.

Read coverage of Bethlehem Birthing Centre’s celebrations on the Sun Live website.




News from Bethlehem Birthing Centre

The team at Bethlehem Birthing Centre was delighted to see a record number of births at the centre in April, with 43 births – and every one of these mothers leaving the centre exclusively breastfeeding!

We passed the significant milestone of 1000 births in late January: check out the NZ Herald clip on our exciting milestone and the impact on the community.

Our free antenatal classes are proving to be very popular and are booking up fast. Women who are planning to birth at the centre are given priority – please see our website to book or for more information.

Our Milk Café group, facilitated by our Lactation Consultant Shauna Walters, is also extremely popular. This weekly group, held on Thursdays between 9.45am and 11am, is open to all breastfeeding mothers, and has a regular following each week. The lactation consultancy service at Bethlehem Birthing Centre is available to women who have accessed the service for their entire duration of breastfeeding.

The focus of all of our classes is to strengthen our community and foster coffee groups, primary birthing and support networks for the new mothers in our community, and we’re thrilled to be receiving excellent feedback on them!


We’re proud to let you know that Bethlehem Birthing Centre is now a distributor for Pepi-Pods – a portable sleep space for babies.

The Pepi-Pod sleep space programme is one approach being applied in some regions of New Zealand and Australia to enable more vulnerable babies to have a safe space for sleeping every time and place they sleep.

Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about the Pepi-Pod programme.

Pounamu cord-cutting tool

We are proud to announce that Bethlehem Birthing Centre now has a pounamu cord-cutting tool for use at the centre. We had a blessing of the pounamu at the Wairoa River and are delighted to offer this option to our mothers. We also have available for purchase, at a subsidised cost of $10, the Muka tie to tie pepi pito (baby cord). Please ask us if you have any questions.

Life Education Breakfast

The team from Bethlehem Birthing Centre recently enjoyed an outing to the Life Education Breakfast in Tauranga. We were treated to uplifting speakers including former Black Stick Gemma McCaw, Barter Barber Sam Dowdall and GP Anna Rolleston, on the topic of mental and physical wellbeing – a topic about which we are all passionate!

The breakfast included a Q&A session with each speaker sharing their thoughts on what "wellbeing" meant to them. Thank you to Chloe for inviting us, and we can’t wait for the next get-together with this fantastic group of women on our Bethlehem Birthing Centre team.




News from Te Papaioea Birthing Centre

At Te Papaioea Birthing Centre our opening target was 150 births by the end of June. We’re really excited to have already reached this target!

We were delighted to celebrate the milestone of 100 births in March. Read about our special 100th baby in the Manawatu Standard

We’re also really excited to have started a weekly Breastfeeding Café support group here at Te Papaioea, for all breastfeeding women of our region. As at Bethlehem Birthing Centre, the focus will be on connecting mums and offering support and answering questions about breastfeeding. Please give us a call if you have any questions about this group.

Te Papaioea Birthing Centre Midwife Jane Spilman is facilitating an Ipu Whenua Weaving Workshop this month, for local midwives to learn the basics of weaving a harakeke basket. Staff have also been weaving Ipus, making them available for families birthing at the centre.




Getting close: our new birthing centres, Melling and Nga Hau Mangere

We have been working hard behind the scenes to get our two new birthing centres up and running as soon as possible!

Melling Birthing Centre is on track to open for primary birthing on July 2.  Women in the Wellington region have been lobbying for a primary birthing centre for 40 years, and we are delighted to soon be able to offer this option.

This Wednesday (May 16) the centre will be open from 1pm to 6pm for midwives to visit the centre and talk to some of our team. Later in the week we will have a session for invited guests.

Construction on Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centre in South Auckland is progressing as scheduled, and the centre is on track to open this coming summer. We’ve been welcomed with open arms into this community and are enjoying collaborating with various stakeholders.

We’re really excited about the educational initiatives for families planned for this centre including a Milk Café breastfeeding support group, and a focus on maternal mental health and bringing communities together.




Robyn Beals

We introduce you to Robyn Beals, who has been a valued support staff team member at Te Papaioea Birthing Centre since the day the centre opened.

As part of the support staff team, Robyn’s role involves helping ensure the birthing centre runs smoothly, whether that’s supporting the midwives so they can do their jobs, keeping the rooms tidy, or serving meals.
But her favourite aspect of the job is interacting with the new mothers and helping in whatever way she can – lending an ear, having a chat, or holding a baby.

“I love the contact with the women, just gauging where they are at and what they need. Some of them have a lot of family and friends with them, and others are not quite so busy and really do appreciate a chat,” says Robyn.

“It’s beautiful and quiet and restful here, but sometimes they need someone to have a chat with - especially in the middle of the night when they might be having a hard time. It’s good to be able to say ‘everything is going to be okay, you’re doing great’.

“I love making them feel at home and comfortable, and like they’re not alone.”

Robyn often leads tours of the centre for expectant parents, and enjoys meeting them again when they are at Te Papaioea with their new baby.

She loves her co-workers and enjoys the peaceful atmosphere of the centre.

“I always say to people on the tours that even when the centre is full, and there is a birth going on in the next room, you probably won’t know because you have your own little oasis, which is peaceful and quiet and wonderful.”

Robyn, who is a mother of two, step-mother of three and grandmother of one, came to Te Papaioea Birthing Centre from a similar role at Palmerston North Hospital, and prior to that home-schooled her children for 14 years. Being a mum and a nurturer has been good preparation for her role at the birthing centre.

Te Papaioea Birthing Centre clinical manager Annie Kinloch says Robyn is a valued member of the team who is very conscientious and great with new mothers. Annie also acknowledged Robyn’s instrumental work in organising the centre’s support staff systems and fine-tuning consumables for cost efficiency.

Robyn has found this part of the job challenging and rewarding, and says she enjoys the satisfaction of creating systems to help the birthing centre run smoothly.

When she’s not working, Robyn enjoys spending cherished time with her family and friends – eating out, watching movies, and just enjoying each other’s company.




Birthing Centre is owned and supported by the Wright Family Foundation, of which Chloe Wright is also CEO.

The Wright Family Foundation’s Love Grows Brains initiative showcases the importance of bonding and love in a child’s early years in determining their future.

"Birthing Centre is a practical way we can help facilitate this and make a difference in the lives of families,” says Chloe.

The Love Grows Brains clips are fantastic viewing for anyone who interacts with babies and young children. Check them out here.




Find us online

Our website,, is a great port of call for anyone who wants to find out more about primary birthing, our philosophy and service.

Check out our Facebook pages too: 
Bethlehem Birthing Centre:
Te Papaioea Birthing Centre:





Quote of the day

“Children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.” – Nelson Mandela







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