Birthing Centre Newsletter August 2018

Newsletter August 2018

Birthing Centre Newsletter | August 2018





In this issue



Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre now open

World Breastfeeding Week 2018




Letter from the founder 

Dear all,

I am not about to give thanks to a higher deity for midwives, no, I give thanks to midwives for midwives.

I have been closely involved in a number of literary initiatives recently and what I know from literature is that it gives cause for reflection. No instantaneous reaction but deep pondering and actions based on reflective heart and mind consultation.

Having a grasp of Ayuvedic and traditional Chinese medicine from an anthropological viewpoint heightened my quest to understand more fully the complexities of birth within a traditional cultural framework. I sought women’s stories. Age does not dim the memory of how women felt at the birth of their baby and in large part their experience hinges on how they were treated during their birthing experience.

For those of us who birthed at a time when a clinical process was compensated by the length of secondary stay enabling education, care, a time to ‘attach’ and establish breastfeeding, we count ourselves fortunate. Even if we did miss out on the one-on-one women-centred experience of having a midwife support us through the journey. We were just expected to get on with it with the occasional reference to the scripture ‘in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children’.

I have read an eye-watering amount of psychoanalytic and behaviourist accounts of mother-infant relating, proto-narratives, the Motherhood constellation and transference. I have read anthropological studies on birth practices but there is nothing so powerful, for me, as the direct narrative of women and the midwives who serve them.

It is outrageous that in these times, with the pressures of life, particularly for women to be all things at the same time, that the role of midwife is not fully supported and protected. She who endures years of study, holds precious new life in her hands, works collegially while practicing autonomously, supports breastfeeding, and works with the family to achieve the best outcomes for women’s empowerment and maternal mental health, must be recognised.

I encourage politicians to look at the ‘burn out’ rate. Look at our appalling rates of maternal suicide and depression. Protection for the vital role of midwifery comes with the fiscal recognition of the practical and social skills of this profession. Support of midwifery comes through valuing these professionals who, with a mixture of clinical skill, generous hearts, and a love of being with women, meet their complex needs on their birthing journey.

I have had the privilege of meeting many midwives and I have never met one I didn’t feel was in it for anything other than to support women with her heart and her practice. A government that is truly concerned with the long-term mental health of our citizens should look to the beginning of life and put words into action. Support those who support the mothers who are raising our nation.

Every mother deserves quality post-natal care where their support person can stay with them, to learn mothercraft, establish breastfeeding, and be treated like a queen. This is what we are aiming to deliver at Birthing Centre. We hope others follow our lead and the Government will take note.

Nga mihi,

Chloe Wright
CEO, Birthing Centre Ltd




Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre now open


“How can anything be more important than the care of a new mother, and the time of attachment between her and the baby whose beginnings will affect that person for a lifetime?”

So said Chloe Wright at the official opening of Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre last month.

We are absolutely delighted that after a long wait, birthing women in the Wellington region now have a primary birthing centre available to them – providing another choice after more than 40 years of mothers requesting this service.

Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre was officially opened on July 16 in a morning of celebration and community, after the centre was blessed.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us on this special day, and who has shared in Chloe’s vision for the centre.

In the spirit of the collaborative approach which is central to Birthing Centre’s philosophy, the ribbon was cut by a group of women who have been integral in the centre’s beginnings – the advisory group. It was great to see these women – consumer representative Shilo McJorrow, lawyer and writer Janet Miller, Chris Martin of Supergrans, lactation consultant Liora Noy, and LMC Judi Slankard standing in for Susan Lennox – as part of the official proceedings.

We were delighted to welcome Robyn Maude, a senior lecturer in midwifery at Victoria University, who emphasised the significance of the opening of the birthing centre in giving women another choice.

Jacqui Paine, the centre’s wonderful clinical midwife manager, said women in the community had been looking for options other than home birth or hospital birth.

It is Jacqui’s vision – and all of ours - to see Te Awakairangi as an integrated part of the community, and to create beautiful birthing stories for women.

Our carving
We are exceptionally proud of and grateful for the carving which sits in pride of place in the reception area. This taonga, unveiled at the official opening, was gifted by prisoners at Rimutaka Prison, who crafted the carving to represent conception through birth.

Our services
Like our other birthing centres in Tauranga and Palmerston North, Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre is for healthy pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies, and is free for women from the greater Wellington area who are eligible for care in New Zealand hospitals. The centre also provides to birthing mothers, free of charge, a post-natal stay of up to two nights for rest, breastfeeding support, and mother-baby education.




World Breastfeeding Week 2018

"All breastfeeding is worth it."

That's the message Birthing Centre shared during World Breastfeeding Week earlier this month, as our centres supported Big Latch On events in their areas.

At Birthing Centre we are passionate about supporting mothers in their breastfeeding journey - however long that may be.

Big Latch On events are a great way to get mums together to celebrate and acknowledge the effort they make in breastfeeding and caring for their babies.

Te Papaioea Birthing Centre was the venue for their local “latch” and provided morning tea for the fabulous 96 mums who attended. This was a fantastic increase on last year’s 30 latches. The Big Latch was hosted by Community Birth Services and supported by Parents Centre, Barnardo’s antenatal and parenting classes and La Leche league.

Bethlehem Birthing Centre teamed up with Western Bay of Plenty Breastfeeding Coalition (Ukaipo) - a group of health professionals, health funders and consumers who come together to progress breastfeeding support in the community – to support the Tauranga event, with 65 latches.

Breastfeeding journeys are special, however long or short, and are worth every moment. We know it can be tough - in fact, most mums need a bit of help, which is important to know. It's not always easy to begin with, and we are here to offer that support.

One of the ways in which Birthing Centre supports breastfeeding mothers is our weekly Milk Cafe breastfeeding support group at our centres.

The groups are open to all breastfeeding mothers and is a chance to meet other mums, have a chat, and ask any questions about breastfeeding.

One of our goals at Birthing Centre is to connect mums with each other so they can form strong bonds and friendships and support one another - providing that 'village' to help raise a child.

Last year the Wright Family Foundation, which owns and supports Birthing Centre, made a $500,000 donation to Plunket to ensure that New Zealand mothers would have access to breastfeeding help and advice around the clock.

Thanks to the donation, PlunketLine staff will be trained as lactation specialists who can support breastfeeding mums at any time of the day or night. The donation will also allow Plunket to offer video-calling technology, so mums can show the lactation consultant how the baby is latching, allowing them to offer better, more targeted advice.




Kelly Pidgeon

We introduce you to Kelly Pidgeon, who is a valued LMC using Bethlehem Birthing Centre.

Kelly was drawn to midwifery from a desire to care for her fellow human being.

“As midwives, we want to nurture the mother, and we want for her to have the best child-bearing year experience, including her birth, that can possibly happen,” says Kelly.

“For a woman, having our children is life-changing and we can either become stronger and more confident through that, or in sad circumstances we can become more traumatised and damaged through the process.”

It’s this desire to give women a beautiful experience that motivates Kelly. While some may think a midwife’s role is simply about birth, it is so much more. In addition to crucial antenatal and post-natal care, a midwife plays many roles.

“We need to have multi-faceted skills – we have become a resource and support for women in lots of areas,” explains Kelly.

“The role of the midwife involves mental health and identifying and providing some support around that. We can sometimes be housing officers, social workers, marriage counsellors, drug and alcohol counsellors. We are advocates, we are stop-smoking people, safe-sleeping people, domestic violence prevention and support people.

“We are safe-guarding the whole family, because we have a duty of care to every child in that family who we come into contact with. We have an absolute responsibility.”

Kelly, who trained and worked as a midwife in the UK since 2001 and has worked as an LMC in New Zealand since 2008, is passionate about the importance of the profession.

It’s for this reason she took a leadership role in the Dear David campaign, which asked midwives to send stories about their work to Health Minister David Clark, calling for more funding to make their profession sustainable.

“The main motivator was seeing all of my colleagues in distress and midwifery at a crisis point: under-funded, under-resourced, high stress and poor working conditions,” says Kelly.

“Lots of midwives are leaving the profession, and it impacts us all. Midwifery needs to be valued in society because I fear we are on the verge of losing the model that we have, and that makes me very sad.”

It’s important to Kelly that women have choices and are supported in those choices – a philosophy aligned with Birthing Centre.

“Bethlehem Birthing Centre is a nurturing environment for both the woman and the midwife. It honours the mother by giving her that time, because they need nurturing, gentle care in those first few days after giving birth.”

Kelly, who is mother to three children aged 18, 15 and 12, has always been interested in holistic tools supporting natural birthing. After using hypnobirthing herself, Kelly began offering this as an option to her mothers.

“Hypnobirthing sits very well with the normal physiology of birth. It’s basically guided meditation around positive affirmations for birth - it gives tools to journey through birth in a much calmer way. There is research that shows if a woman is calm and relaxed, the birth has a higher probability of going well and being normal.”

Despite the challenges facing her profession, Kelly loves being a midwife and making a daily difference in the lives of women.

“If I can support women and their choices and give them the best experience around their birthing year, that’s what it’s all about.”




The Wright Family Foundation

Birthing centres are part of the Wright Family Foundation’s vision to support New Zealand families from the very beginning to have the greatest impact on communities.

The first 1000 days of a child’s life are a crucial and unique opportunity in their development. Experiences in these early days set the stage for a child’s lifelong health and emotional development. It’s a time of enormous potential, as foundations of brain development, health and growth impact on a child for life. It is imperative a mother gets the best extended care, nurture and education she needs and deserves. Parents are the first teachers - it’s about best beginnings, love and bonding.

Follow the Wright Family Foundation Facebook page.

And check out the website 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:
Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre at Melling:





Quote of the day

“Just as a woman’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth.” –
Virginia Di Oriof







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PO Box 13 465 Tauranga Central 3141

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