The story behind our antenatal course – Lola Otiko

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Hi all! My name is Lola and I am a midwife. I am very excited to be part of the antenatal course team at The Village.

My experience

My career as a midwife started quite by accident. Being a Nigerian who studied all the sciences in school, my default career was medicine. However, on moving to the UK I chose midwifery at the suggestion of a friend and I’m glad I did. I feel so honoured to be part of one of the most important events in a family’s life.

18 years on and I am still learning. One of the greatest lessons I have learnt along the way is that the best support anyone can give to expectant parents is the knowledge and understanding of how their bodies work so that they can make informed decisions about their pregnancy, birth and parenting.

I have worked in quite a few hospitals over the years and I have always made sure that I was part of the antenatal education team. We know from the evidence that the more parents know about their bodies, the less likely they are to have unnecessary medical interventions and the more likely they are to have a positive birthing experience.

It is incredibly rewarding to see parents grow in confidence and learn about the amazing things their bodies are capable of. Years ago, while teaching a course, I noticed that one couple hadn’t come back after the first class. A few days later I received an email from the woman to say that she had gone into premature labour and given birth 6 weeks early. She said that all she remembered in the back of the ambulance was the breathing exercises that I had taught them in the class. She was so pleased with herself and very grateful.

Finding The Village

I found out about The Village through a friend who runs a choir there. I liked the idea of working in the community and being ‘useful’ and I was really impressed with the holistic philosophy of The Village and their commitment to improving mental health.

I met with Yasmin, Sarah, Lisa and the rest of the team and together we devised the antenatal course. I think one of the things that makes our course different is the fact that we put as much effort into the postnatal period as we do birth preparation. We have dedicated sessions to breastfeeding and postnatal planning. We aim to help our parents adjust to their new lives with a baby and we recognise the importance of good mental health, which is discussed in all our sessions. 

From my experience, I know that what people usually want from an antenatal class is ‘black and white’ answers to their questions. ‘How long will my labour be?’, ‘Will it hurt?’, ‘How soon can I have pain relief?’, ‘How will I know when to call the midwife/ go into hospital?’ I am here to teach them that there are no straightforward answers to those questions but by attending this course and getting to understand/ gain confidence in their bodies, the answers to these questions are not important.

My methods are all about teaching parents that they don’t need me or any midwife to tell them what to do. We are simply here to encourage and guide. I can’t wait to start this beautiful journey with The Village community.

 

Don’t walk behind me: I may not lead,

Don’t walk in front of me: I may not follow,

Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Albert Camus

 


 

Find out more about our antenatal course Birth and Beyond and to book your place. Please send the link to your pregnant friends, too.

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