Midwife for 30 years and The Due Date Club is where I get to share all the teachings, wisdom and midwife magic with you.

What I've been up to the last few years...

 

  • Supporting hospital and home birth
  • Spinning Babies with Gail Tully
  • The Mama Bamba Way with Robyn Sheldon
  • Active Birth with Janet Balaskas
  • Overcoming Breastfeeding challenges with Dr. Jack Newman
  • Hypnobirthing the Mongon Method
  • Hypnotherapy National Guild of Hypnotherapists
  • MARI Mandala Art Therapy
  • Hatha Yoga and Prenatal Yoga YTT 200

Why the Virtual Midwife?

What I know for sure is that  online classes are an essential part of your birth preparation. You’re going to be online anyway – but do you really trust Dr Google to guide you through the  most important event of your life? 

My motivation for teaching birth preparation classes started while I was working as a midwife in the labor and delivery room. I assisted women who screamed their way through labor, eyes wide with fear. Others swayed their hips, calmly breathing through every contraction. Some slept as the epidural flooded their body with aneasthetic. Some needed constant back rubs, eye contact, words of comfort and others paced silently, inwardly focused. 

I spoke with every single one of them afterwards.

  • “What worked?
  • What would you do differently?
  • What do you wish you’d known?” 

 

This is what they told me

  • Some had been  led to expect it didn’t have to be painful, so all other preparation went out the window.
  • Some were derailed by the physical sensations and went into  state of panic.
  • Some had read all the books but not done any of the mental preparation for the intensity of birth. 

And out of it I understood that a lack of control and a sense of having suffered made their births feel traumatic. Traumatic experiences that could be have been avoided or different with the right support, information and preparation. So I set about incorporating their answers into an online birth program based on Information, Preparation and Confidence. 

  • A birth preparation course that does not lull you into a false sense of security with unrealistic expectations. 
  • A birth preparation class that prepares you for the intensity of the labor experience by using the language you already know and real life experiences. 
  • A birth preparation class for women who are committed to having a positive birth experience whether it’s in hospital, at home or in the back of the car.
  • Whether the baby is born vaginally or surgically.
  • Whether interventions are required or not. 

Why you need birth preparation

You may hear comments like “why do you need a class to do something that is so natural?” or “in my day we just went in and came out with a baby.”

But with 70% of babies being born in hospitals that are run as businesses, with protocols based on legal rather than medical outcomes, you need to be prepared. 

What does being prepared mean?

Being prepared means understanding what might happen when things don’t go to plan. If these topics are not covered in your birth preparation class you may be led to believe that everything not discussed is unlikely to occur, or is not important to know in advance. 

A positive birth experience is one where you feel in control. Where you have a deep understanding of the nature of birth. You trust yourself, your partner, your health care provider and your place of birth. Pain in childbirth is only one factor. Feeling empowered, feeling in control and feeling you have choices can all contribute to a positive birth experience.

This is what I help you achieve

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Karen Wilmot - The Virtual Midwife

Every birth I have attended has changed me on some level and taught me something about the incredible wisdom of women and babies. I still practice, but I now attend mainly home birth where you have autonomy over your body and your choices.

I host regular online workshops as I believe that it is only through effective education and sharing of information that the landscape of birth will change so that all women will be given the freedom of choice based on evidence based practice.

We can not separate body, mind and breath. I was drawn to study yoga through my experience of working with women who practiced yoga and I saw the difference it made during labor and birth. I incorporate powerful breathing techniques into all my teachings.

I’ve been a midwife for 30 years and I have watched trends come and go, seen birth practices change. But even so, nothing about the physiology of birth has changed. Eveything you need is already inside of you. Let me guide you to access your inner resources and knowing.

The Virtual Midwife in the Press

International Conference Speaking Experience

1st Annual GCC Natural Birth & Breastfeeding Conference 2015, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Finding our WHY in Antenatal Education – the impact of informing and empowering women to restore normality to childbirth.

27 – 29 March 2016 Dubai , Obstetrics and Gynaecology Congress : Embracing technnology in Antenatal Education

16 October 2016 Inherent Birth Online Summit: The mother’s role in attaining better birth outcomes and Birthing the Maternal Bond.

March 2018 FIGT (Families in Global Transition) The Hague, Netherlands: Health Literacy for Global Living – using technolgy wisely to inform and empower women during pregnancy.

May 2018 Sensitive Midwifery Conference JHB: Technology and increased access to vast amounts of information online: enemy or ally?

Karen is on the organising committee of of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife annual 24hour conference. 

A pioneer of change, Karen opened the first independent midwife led community practice in Muscat, Oman in 2009 which later became the first Mother and Baby Wellness Center in the Gulf region. 

My story – the birth of a midwife

I grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the youngest of 3 children in a busy household where my mother was a midwife and my early years were full of her stories of women, birth and babies. She instilled in me a sense of awe and wonder and I would beg to go with her when I saw her packing her birth bag and heading out the door. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be anything but a midwife. 

I also loved babies and you’d often hear me telling my dolls that I was going to have a hundred babies. Often my mom would find me under the dining room table  drinking milk (which I hated) and trying to breastfeed my doll. I disappeared often, knocking on the neighbours doors to enquire if they had a baby for me to look after!  If there was a new baby in town, I would find it.

So there was no doubt in my mind that I would become a midwife and a mother. During my student years I was like a sponge soaking up everything I saw and learned. I would often stay long after my shift had ended so that I never missed a birth. I was constantly amazed at how no matter how much I learned, every birth was different and each one taught me something more.

I was fascinated by how differently women responded in labor. I was constantly  exploring different methods of labor support and marvelled at how although the physiology of birth was the same, different methods worked at different times and in different ways.  This fascinated me and started my quest to explore the impact of preparation on the experience of birth. 

Over the years I brought  these tools into the labor room, marvelling at how simple techniques could transform a difficult birth. 

Fast forward 30 years and hundreds of births and not one of them my own. Many women have questioned how I am able to be a “good midwife” without personal experience. 

Becoming a midwife did not hinge on my personal experience of birth. I never knew that I would never get to use the tools and techniques I had learned for my own birth, I just kept learning. I hold  every woman in labor they way I imagine I would have like to have been held. I bring the wisdom and experience of every one of the hundreds of births I have attended into her sacred space while honouring her, and her only. I do not project my experience or wishes or beliefs on her.  Surprisingly, it has made me the best version of myself guiding me to never stop listening and learning from mothers. It opened me to possibilities that I might never have considered. If I had my own experience, it would be one more experience to add to the thousands that have shaped me and that allow me to guide you through your own unique and magical journey. The only thing I can say is that I was and always will be a midwife. My learning began as a child, listening to the stories my mother told me and connecting with the joy and wonder of pregnancy and birth. It continued through my student years and into the work that I still do today. I feel so blessed to be able to share my knowledge and wisdom with you in this way. 

A sneaky peek into my life

How Karen helped me!

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