Nicola Mahdiyyah Goodall
It’s been almost twenty years since I first began to support families around birth. Getting deeper and deeper enmeshed through my own childbirth experiences. Living close by to Michel Odent and Lilianna Lammers in South London, I was lucky enough to be amongst the first Paramana doulas officially taking his course in 2002.
Moving to Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2004, I became one of the founding members of the Scottish Doula Network. Although I am now becoming involved with many other different projects I still support at births and offer some early days postnatal support.
I have also worked as a birth educator with the NCT after completing a Dip Ed in Adult Education and independently in London and Edinburgh and greatly enjoy sharing this magical journey with parents.
After working together for several years, in 2013 I became the main facilitator on the Mindful Doula core workshop programme put together by Scottish doula extraordinaire Adela Stockton.
After taking part in the Scottish Birth Educators course in 2006-2008, I was inspired to begin Wysewomen workshops. The drive behind these workshops is to bring about the traditional sharing, learning and storytelling amongst women – facilitating workshops where there is no one teacher and all have something to contribute – keeping the flow of love and knowledge moving with creativity. The end result taking everyone home with solutions, more experience and love.
I’m now very fortunate to be working alongside Giuditta Tornetta of Joy in Birthing and Ibu Robin Lim CNN Hero of the Year 2011 on the Loving the Mother Workshops in Greece, Spain and Bali. This year we travel to Finland and Findhorn to take part in the Healthy Birth, Healthy Earth conference in September. In 2016 i facilitated at Da a Luz on their midwifery preparation course.
2015 saw me taking up the very nerve wracking task of presenting a TED talk – you can watch it here
My journey into birth work began after the birth of my first child in 2009 when I was supported by the most wonderful Doula. My birth experience really laid important foundations for me as a mother. I found myself informally supporting other women with their birth choices and in 2010 returned to University to retrain as an antenatal practitioner with the NCT. I have supported hundreds of families as they prepare for the birth of their babies.
In 2015 resigned from my fourteen year career in the public service to focus on my work with expectant parents. This decision was nerve wracking but by far the best decision I made! My particular interest is in the use of mindfulness techniques as birth preparation and parenthood. I love working with people and supporting them through one of the biggest transitions in their life. I continue to facilitate NCT courses in Yorkshire and also work as a NCT Assessor. I have run local birth choice groups and been involved with the maternity voices partnerships (formerly MSLC), representing the voices of families in midwifery care.
Change is challenging, it has pushed me out of my comfort zone but following my passion has been an incredible journey (if I can learn how to navigate running a business whilst juggling small children then anyone can!) I was thrilled to be asked to join the Red Tent Doula’s team as a facilitator in the North of England.
In my spare time I love running in the hills and going on campervan adventures.
Alexandra lives and works in Snowdonia, North Wales as a birthkeeper, end of life doula, healer, spiritual counsellor and independent minister and ceremonialist. Her introduction to working in service of the Soul began young; her father died when she was 14 and intuitively Alexandra knew how to midwife his soul; this early encounter with death and the reassurance of what she experienced beyond the veil sparked her spiritual quest through Buddhism, past life regression, Reiki, imagework, training as a yoga and meditation teacher, yoga scripture, Sufism, shamanic practice and working with ancestral voices and soul clearance before training as an interfaith minister and spiritual counsellor.
In recent years Alexandra was surprised and delighted to be asked to attend friends’ births and so she trained with Nicola Goodall of Red Tent Doula Preparation. Amazed from the outset at how the issues so often encountered in her journeys with people to and through death are paralleled in our birth experiences and also sensing a Homecoming and sacred recognition of that ancient midwife archetype Alexandra felt she had found a community to which she completely and utterly belonged. As the death and birthwork has interwoven a key area of focus for Alexandra has been on grief and working with grief as a pathway to healing and joy.
Lena is an empathic and compassionate yoga teacher, doula and acupuncturist. She has over a decade’s experience in treating a variety of conditions with acupuncture within clinics in Edinburgh and Northumberland. Her experiences in the acupuncture clinic treating women during pre-conception, pregnancy and postpartum motivated her to become a doula and educator with the Red Tent. Growing up in a Chinese family Lena has such great lived experience of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and the birthing year.
My Journey as a birthkeeper started after the birth of my 2nd child. I was glowing after a doula-supported birth and home birth with very supportive community midwives. My daughter was a rainbow baby having had a 11.5 week miscarriage when my son was 11 months.
I felt so empowered and ready to take on the world that I enrolled into NCT teacher training and a doula course with a newborn and 2 year old. Needless to say the first year I read until my eyes bled, drinking up all the knowledge and then went on to support at my first doula birth just under a year later.
12 years on and another 2 children later (feeling very grateful for another rainbow baby after multiple miscarriages), I am still doulaing for a handful of people whilst I juggle the demands within a family of six. I have been in most birth situations from planned caesareans taking photos to planned freebirths and it is a privilege to be there at each woman’s side.
I started working two years ago as an Independent Sexual Abuse Advocate and work closely with men and women in this field. This has given depth to my birthkeeping and working with those who have experienced previous trauma.
In 2011, I started preparing new doulas as an assistant with Nicola on the Mindful Doulas Course written by Adela Stockton. By 2013 I was a lead facilitator in Yorkshire.
In 2013 Nicola and I joined forces to create Red Tent Doulas and set up our own Doula Preparation. The last few years I have taken a back seat running a few courses in York yearly.