Teachers

Evony Lynch

I’m Evony, founder of the With Woman Birth School, midwife, teacher, writer and believer in possibilities…

In 1999 I started my midwifery journey, having had one baby in hospital, strapped unnecessarily to a bed, and one at home in the dark with a midwife. As I read Childbirth Unmasked by Margaret Jowitt, learning properly for the first time about the hormonal interplay so easily disrupted by the medicalisation of birth, I knew what kind of midwife I would be. The feminist within me was set alight, and so began many years of love and tears to stay true to the calling in my heart. To be ‘with woman’, at her feet, serving, supporting, and ferociously defending the right to autonomy in childbearing.

Three years, one new baby girl and the loss of my father followed, graduating as a midwife with Bournemouth University in 2002.

Those three pivotal years of my life, focused on developing true ‘with woman’ skills in physiological birth, waterbirth and out of hospital birth. I was privileged to spend time as a student with several independent midwives, including the late Tricia Anderson, and now elder midwife Mary Cronk. They taught me that birth is inherently safe and our bodies can be trusted to do this work.

My first post as a newly qualified midwife in a busy Devon hospital made me question this calling as I soon felt demoralised and unable to practice in the way I had been taught. So within 9 months I turned my back on the NHS and we packed up three little children in one small caravan and travelled to Spain. Ironically where I ended up working in the highly medicalised spanish health system as a midwife. It was here in Malaga I attended my first doula training “Paramanadoula” with Dr Michel Odent. My belief in undisturbed birth was cemented later that year attending the birth of one of my fellow students as her independent midwife.  In an oxytocin filled bathroom as she swayed in the twilight, a new dad caught his own baby.

Since returning to the UK I have worked with women as a midwife independently and within the NHS, believing in the inherent power within them to make informed choices and birth their babies in the way that is right for them.

I studied with Kate Woods at Conscious Birthing in 2012 and was mentored by Maddie McMahon with the full intention of letting midwifery go in order to serve women on their own terms, as a doula.

But midwifery isn’t ready to let me go just yet.

Following a period of burnout several years ago, I have focussed on learning how to be balanced and kind to myself, exploring self care, nutrition and stress reduction tools, and am hoping to share this knowledge with students and midwives, often facing high stress levels and burnout rates.

Current work

I work in the community as a midwife part time, serving the women of West Cornwall. I’m also studying an MSc in Advanced Midwifery Practice , with a focus on promoting and supporting normality across the spectrum of needs in pregnancy and birth.

Once a year I also teach a module on the Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training Course in Cornwall with Amy-Yoga.

Some things I’ve done...

  • Practicing midwife in home, community and hospital settings both independently and in the NHS, in Wales, Plymouth and Cornwall and also in Murcia, Spain  
  • Paramana doula course with Michel Odent and Liliana Lammers
  • Conscious Birth Doula Training with Kate Woods
  • Birthing Within – Birth Art with Pam England
  • One year studying reflexology, massage, herbal medicine and homeopathy units
  • Developed and delivered a one day workshop for maternity support workers in the local maternity unit. ‘Supporting a woman in early labour’
  • Public speaking  in Spain WHO Recommendations for Normal Birth
  • Midwifery Today Conference Steward – x2  full day study with Dr Michel Odent and Robbie Davis-Floyd and 3 days of midwifery workshops
  • Conscious Birth Emissary Training   
  • Spinning Babies study day               
  • MMBRACE Panel member reviewing term intrapartum stillbirth in midwife led settings  
  • Former Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs student and creator of MamaCafe 
  • Advanced Diploma in Midwifery with Distinction                                                          

Published work

Supporting physiological birth – a case study. All4Maternity, May 2018.

Breathing Out a Baby..or not. The Mother magazine (2014)

Reflections on Midwifery in Spain. RCM Midwives. 2007 Sep;10(8):384-5.

A Taste of Freedom. Association of Radical Midwives, October 2006.

Mandy Bellenger

Hi, I’m Mandy, I have many years of experience as a midwife supporting women both at home and in a hospital setting. I have a passion for exceptional midwifery care and believe that continuity of the right carer, the art of listening, and the sharing of knowledge and skills are key to this.

I am completely passionate about teaching, teaching the skills, I have learnt over the years. Skills not only absorbed by watching other Midwives at work or through reading so many fascinating midwifery/wise women/men texts, but also from the women/families I have had the pleasure to care for. We are all wise, we all hold special and unique qualities, and we all have a voice. Listen to that voice, listen to lived experience as it is key in learning and achieving. Be the best you can be, always.

True midwifery is holistic in nature and grounded in an understanding of the complexities of the social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical experiences of women. My practice and knowledge are then added to by the evidence and research that surrounds us in text and in lived experiences.

As a midwife I have confidence and hold trust in a woman’s innate ability to grow, birth and nurture her baby/babies. We must never forget this and always respect each woman in her journey and in her choices.

“Ask the woman, she will tell you everything you need to know…”

Ina May Gaskin

I have worked both within the NHS as well as privately and independently. I ultimately chose to step outside of the NHS to offer the true continuity of care that women deserve and desire. Research has proven time and time again that such care is the Gold Standard, and this is how I like to work. Working with a small clientele allows me to spend quality time with each woman in their own home building a trusting and unique relationship, enhancing their overall childbearing experience. 

Pregnancy and birth are a rite of passage for women and it’s a journey that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Having the right care provider is an investment and can make a huge difference to a childbirth experience.

I work as an Independent Midwife in Cornwall and in to Devon specialising in individualised, continuity of care and support. I have a specialist interest in supporting woman who have suffered previous birth trauma and those struggling with Perinatal Mental Health concerns.

I also practice part-time as a Midwifery Expert Witness supplying detailed reports concerning liability in cases of alleged medical negligence in support of both NHS Trusts and families, Nationally. This is very rewarding work as I can support not only women/families in another way but also support colleagues in offering optimal care and changes in practice. 

I am currently studying for my MSc Advanced Midwifery Practice with a concentration on Medical law and Ethics. I am especially interested in informed consent especially when a woman makes her decisions that are considered as against medical advice or outside of the sphere of a midwife’s skills and knowledge. I certainly enjoy a challenge!

Some things I’ve done…

  • Independent Midwifery Practitioner at Bellenger Midwifery bellengermidwifery.co.uk
  • Private Midwifery
  • Senior Midwife and as part of the Jubilee Home Birth Team, PUHT Plymouth, Derriford
  • NHS Integrated Midwife, RCHT, Truro
  • Administration/Facilitation of IMUK (Independent Midwives UK) ‘Making The Move’ Workshop
  • Meditation for Adults and Children
  • Holistic Fertility Therapy Advanced Diploma
  • Study of Maternity Reflexology
  • Ongoing study of Clinical Hypnotherapy and NLP
  • Spinning Babies Workshop
  • Hypnotherapy for Birth Workshop
  • Midwife Advisor for Mother & Baby Magazine
  • Worked on a Demo for a Midwifery documentary with Channel 5

Published Work

  • Contribution to: The Birth Continuum – Where Does Normality Sit? – The evidence, RCM Midwives, 2015
  • Mother & Baby Magazine, Midwife Advisor, 2015 – 2017