A local mum has been honoured with an award for her work to help mums in Ballymena and beyond have better births.
The Positive Birth movement is a fast-growing phenomenon which sprang from a social media group set up to promote the message that with the right support and information, birth can be a “triumphant” experience.
As part of the first ever Northern Ireland Positive Birth Conference this month, heroes in the NI birth world were recognised for their work to give every family their best chance at a positive birth experience.
Jess Higgins, who teaches Daisy Birthing pregnancy classes with The Daisy Foundation was the winner of the Community Care award, sponsored by ALC Events.
Mrs Higgins, 41 has been teaching the Daisy method in her Galgorm studio for over 5 years, welcoming over 1000 Mums in that time.
She said: “I am so honoured and humbled to receive this award. I see women who are utterly terrified of birth in the first class become calm and confident in just the space of a few classes and go on to have the positive birth that are right for them.
“It is so rewarding to think I am part of a movement to improve birth for all women.”
“We wanted to highlight the importance of compassionate care and involving women in their experience, making sure that they felt they were part of the process instead of a body on a bed with no choices.”
Daisy Birthing is a ground-breaking active antenatal class that blends yoga-inspired movement with breathing techniques, birth hypnosis and traditional antenatal education to help women build their confidence as they prepare for labour.
Instead of aiming for one particular type of birth, The Daisy Foundation is passionately committed to empowering all women to make the informed choices that are right for them and their family.
In a health care system where mums and mums-to-be are unlikely to see the same health care professional at each appointment the continuity of care that The Daisy Foundation can offer is invaluable.
Once babies are born then parents can return to access a full range of post-natal classes including baby massage and yoga, breastfeeding support, newborn care and calming techniques and even post-natal relaxation classes just for mums.
Jess says: “This award is not about me, it’s about the fabulous network of new & expectant Mums who come to my class.
“Being able to deliver knowledge and education that will help a Mum to understand her choices in birth, and how to have the best birth for her is an incredible part of my job, and my voluntary role.
“To be recognised in this way has meant the world to me.
“I shared the stage on Friday with a group of women from Consultant Obstetricians, to experienced midwives to other birth workers like Doulas, and it was humbling to hear the impact our work is having on the experience of women all across our country.
“It is a wonderful privilege to be able to support a Mum from pregnancy to toddlerhood and the value in that continuity of care cannot be underestimated.
“It is something that mums miss out on in our current system and it is crucial to improving maternal mental health and that is what drives The Daisy Foundation and all its teachers.
“This award is a great honour but serves as a reminder of how important our work is and how much more there still is to do. ”