You’re a Mum-to-be who feels, deep down, that you’re experiencing one of the greatest transitions in your life. It’s an incredibly exciting time for you and you just want to immerse yourself in every moment, becoming more aware of those little sensations and feelings - knowing this is the start of your connection with your little one.
Yet, you’re finding that you seem to be on a ‘conveyor’ belt of hospital appointments, scans and tests that make you feel that you’re just a small cog in a great big ‘birthing’ machine which creates a fear that you’re losing you’re own identity as well as any possibility of individualised care.
I totally understand where you’re coming from. It reminds me of one of the greatest frustrations that I felt during career as a Midwife. I always seemed to be up against the clock. My clinics were so busy and the time that had been allocated for each woman was never enough. And so, I was always balancing my time, trying to offer the best care and support that each woman needed (and deserved) whilst not letting the clinic run too far behind schedule as, of course, this created frustration for everyone!.
But now I work with expectant mothers in a different way … one that holistically supports their desire to create the pregnancy and birth that they’re seeking. Without the time constraints, I can support them in such a way that allows them to dive deeply into that stillness and wisdom that resides within … enabling them to confidently choose how they ‘do’ their pregnancy and birth … in their own unique way.
So who am I to be able to do this?
Hi, I’m Annie Barber . . .
And, if I was to take you back, many years, to the time when I left school, I was incredibly unsure what I wanted to do in my life. I had enjoyed my education but I hadn’t been inspired (or studious enough) to go to university.
But, I had always been passionate about horses and it was my dream to compete at a national level. My father encouraged me to pursue this and I found myself training and competing at some of the top yards in the country.
However I found that, during this time, many people asked if I was ever going to get a ‘proper’ career, where I could gain a qualification and earn a decent living. As, of course, working with horses was proving to be an incredibly hard life, with long hours, very little money and a real potential for injury.
But what could I possibly do instead?
I knew that I enjoyed caring for others - having helped my mother look after my elderly grandmother, and thought that if I did my nurse training, I would be able to make a real difference to the lives of the patients I cared for.
And so this is what I did although, before I started my training, I had very little idea what the role of a nurse really involved!
In fact, it was a huge culture shock for me. I was ‘transported’ from an outside lifestyle to the bustle and busyness of the wards . . . where patients, relatives, other members of staff were asking for help, giving me information and direction, sending me on errands - seemingly all at the same time. I found it quite overwhelming at times, noticing that as soon as I put my uniform on, patients regarded me as someone who could provide them with the answers they were looking for!
However, I learned so much about myself during my training and my early career as a Staff Nurse. I realised that I possessed a huge strength and capacity to care for others, being able to support them through whatever they were facing. In a variety of roles, which included A&E, Paediatrics, general medicine, surgery and Palliative Care, I was really privileged to care for many brave souls.
You know, I still remember some of them today . . .
I was inspired, as well as deeply touched, by being with someone as they received a poor prognosis from the medical team, then witnessing them take this news with such courage. After the news had 'sunk in, they'd often share with me their deepest fears and anxieties, and I felt honoured to be trusted by them for this experience.
I knew that nothing I could say would make things any better for them and, so, I learned to just hold space for them and for whatever they needed it to be. Being able to hold this space of open hearted listening and non judgement is such a valuable skill that continues in my work today.
And then there were those patients who faced an ‘uphill’ struggle with their recovery after major trauma or surgery. Watching and supporting them in the best way that I could . . . often meant ‘not doing’ things for them - but encouraging them to do it for themselves. Witnessing their persistence and ‘dogged’ determination was such a huge inspiration but it, sometimes, meant that I had to almost ‘sit on my hands’, and just be present with them. In doing so, I learned that the tone of my voice and the power of my words could motivate and educate others to achieve great things . . . which is another skill that I use in my work today.
Part of my nurse training had included some maternity experience where I was fortunate enough to be involved (albeit in a very minor way) during a number of births. I remember that I worked with an amazing midwife mentor during this time. She was confident and skilled in her practice and she really inspired me to dream of a time when I would do my midwifery training . . . and be just like her!
This didn’t happen quite as quickly as I had hoped it would . . . as ‘life’ got in the way a little bit - as it tends to do!
I was gaining seniority within my nursing career, I was married and had a daughter of my own . . . as well as a number of horses in the stables at home! But it was always ‘there’ for me (wherever ‘there’ is!) and one day, I just knew that the time for further study and the acquisition of new skills had arrived.
And so, this was the start of my new career, supporting and caring for Mums-to-be through their journey into motherhood and beyond.
I held many roles as a midwife and whilst I found it beautiful, as well as a real honour, to be present during the labour and birth . . . my real sense of purpose and passion was supporting women throughout their pregnancy.
This seemed to be such a pivotal time for many Mums-to-be. So much was happening for them, there were so many changes and some women faced total overwhelm. Some felt that they’d lost control of their lives and found themselves on a ‘conveyor belt’ of appointments, scans and blood tests.
And, I found it frustrating too. Running full and busy clinics and surreptitiously watching the clock so that it didn’t all run too late . . yet somehow finding a balance so that women would get my full attention and all the care, support and advice they needed.
However, I was always totally blown away as I observed the changes that were occurring within these women as they approached motherhood.
Of course, there were the physical changes but, on a deeper level, there seemed to be a sense of connection and a wisdom that was growing too. At the time I couldn’t actually identify what that was. I needed to learn another part of the puzzle of all the parts of us that forms our human experience.
So, around this time, I had begun to explore and experience the benefits of complementary medicine. I have to say that this opened my eyes to a totally new way of providing care and support for a healthy lifestyle. Yet it was so ‘outside of the box’ of conventional medicine that I had been serving, by now, for a lot of years. And so I was really excited at what might be possible . . . but I was also a bit nervous about what my medical colleagues would think!
The first therapy that I learned was the Bowen Technique and I didn’t think it was too ‘way out’ as there were many physiotherapists learning this technique too.
This is a gentle, hands-on therapy which uses small movements on the skin that has an effect on the superficial facial layer sitting just under the skin. It really is a super effective therapy and it never ceases to blow my mind when clients tell me of the improvements that they feel.
Another great benefit is that it’s suitable to use on animals too. So I am able to combine the love I have for animals, and the desire to improve their wellbeing, with my passion for this wonderful therapy.
Once I had learned Bowen I had a real drive to know more . . . and more about different therapies. A series of synchronicities led me to study with great teachers, where I learned new techniques that offered me amazing opportunities to help my clients in deeper and more fulfilling ways.
However, with each new therapy learned, I noticed that I was being drawn deeper into the world of energy medicine. Although I wasn’t aware of it then, this wonderful healing modality would provide me with all the tools that I needed for my own healing journey that was necessary around that time.
It is said that it’s easy to be wise in hindsight.
But, personally, that doesn’t make things any easier . . . you see, around this time, my life changed forever.
My sister had noticed some changes in her body and I recommended that she see her doctor, who didn’t seem unduly concerned but referred her to the local hospital anyway. The appointment came but she was discharged with the doctors having little concern for what she was experiencing.
But, l had a feeling that she was really poorly . . . yet I bowed to the knowledge of the medics and disregarded my own intuition.
Sad to say, within a very short time, she became incredibly poorly and I gave up my midwifery career so that I was able to care for her during her illness and her ultimate death.
You can imagine how shocked and grief-stricken my whole family was. Yet for me, there was an added sense of guilt and regret that I hadn’t done more . . . why hadn’t I challenged the medics, or pushed for a second opinion, or sought help from other sources . . . and, most frustratingly, why wasn’t I better and more confident in all of these wonderful new therapies to be able to offer her something alternative?
I would suggest that this was probably the darkest time in my life. The sense of loss along with the despair that, somehow, I had let my sister down were such that I realised I needed help to heal. Not from conventional, ‘here take a tablet’ medicine but from this new, yet ancient, form of holistic medicine that would heal me as a whole . . . the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual parts of me.
This healing has happened over a period of time where I have allowed myself to be guided by a universal power. Some may call this God, but my belief is that it’s not religious based . . . but that it is that very life force from which we are actually formed.
By trusting, I was led, by a number of synchronicities, to the teachings of the ancient medicine techniques practised by the indigenous shaman from Peru.
My Own Healing journey took me to Machu Picchu . . . to the Indigenous Shaman who live and work there
This has proven to be an incredible life changing experience for me personally and for my clients.
Over a number of years, I have continued to learn and hone my skills with these wonderful healing tools. I have noticed huge personal shifts that, once upon a time, I wouldn’t have believed possible and have witnessed seemingly magical transformations in my clients too. This really is the essence of how energy medicine can make such a difference to peoples’ wellbeing through its ability to remove life limiting issues and blocks from the energy field.
And do you know what?
I believe my greatest gift, now, is that I can bring ‘all of me’ to my work. My lifetime of training, intuition, experience, my own personal healing story along with a huge sprinkling of passion creates a totally bespoke service for my clients that’s not limited by time.
How cool is that?
So, today I work with Mums-to-be who want to make their journey through pregnancy unencumbered by the fears and beliefs that would get in the way of them experiencing this ‘life changer’ in their own unique way. I love that I am able to guide and support them during this time, witnessing as they connect with their own amazingness to discover that stillness and wisdom within.
And one of the best parts for me is that during our work together, we can make every moment count . . . without having to count the moments!