Healing Birth was initially set up under the name Voice For Parents in 2015, after many months of planning, researching and discussion.
Carla’s background in midwifery and other birth support work led her to an appreciation of the demand for an organisation whose primary purpose was to look after the emotional needs of parents who were struggling to come to terms with a traumatic birth experience.
"I came across you on the web when I was tracking information about birth trauma and found the great report you wrote. Congratulations on it - it’s a wonderful piece of work, sadly, sadly with so much relevance here in Australia. I’ve referenced it in a few presentations I’ve made on birth trauma."
Rhea Dempsey, CBE, presenter, counsellor and author of Birth With Confidence and Beyond the Birth Plan
How did Healing Birth come about?
In 2015, Carla conducted a survey that set out to establish the needs of parents, traumatised by birth, and to reveal what sort of support they believed would have been most helpful to them. Impassioned responses poured in, cementing the belief that setting up Voice For Parents was a very necessary and worthwhile undertaking.
Carla also recognised the strong need to raise awareness of the existence of birth trauma within society and to educate those who work in perinatal care about the implications of birth trauma, and ways to decrease its incidence and support its healing. To that end, she has conducted numerous workshops for people who work in perinatal care.
In 2021 Healing Birth was born, bringing birth givers and their families the same birth trauma support services under a new name. Carla decided that Healing Birth was a more fitting and descriptive name for the work that she does.
The power, mystery, love and rawness surrounding pregnancy and birth have intrigued Carla since childhood. In 1998 she became New Zealand’s youngest graduate from the Direct Entry Midwifery programme, and began work as a midwife in Tauranga.
Life as an optimistic and impassioned young midwife was eye-opening for Carla, to say the least. She became acutely aware that the power and mystery of birth had, for many it seemed, been flipped on its head, with medical minds, hands and machines seeking to control, categorise and sanitise the innately unique and unpredictable experience of birth. Where was the love?, Carla lamented. What were they doing to these new parents and babes? Despite the birth of her own daughter in 2000 being the loved up, dreamy, miraculous occasion that nature intended, Carla felt disillusioned, knowing that her experience was depressingly rare.
Fast forward to 2013 (with two more wondrous births in tow), Carla fulfilled her long-held dream of publishing a book of NZ birth stories… not just any stories, but births that were empowering and positive experiences. The stories in Where the Heart Is were intended to inspire and inform readers, encouraging them to apply the not-so-magical ingredients to their own journeys, so that they too could experience joyous birth.
One of the stories in that book, Rockford's Birth by Annaleise, tells of the powerfully healing experience that Annaleise had following a previous traumatic cesarean birth. She had talked through her trauma with Carla and discovered what it would take to give her the best possible chance of the birth experience she was seeking. Equipped with a renewed respect for her birthing capabilities, a wonderfully supportive midwife and a fierce determination to own her experience, Annaleise absolutely rocked her birth! For both Annaleise and Carla this healing birth journey brought about such profound satisfaction that, in essence, it was the seed for what has now become Healing Birth.