2020 has been a year that without doubt we will ALL remember, even if some of us want to forget it!

It has also been the year of the frontline worker. The people who have faced the fear and the unknown everyday, and done it anyway, all in the name of OUR health and wellbeing.

That is why this month for our ‘Real World Women’ interview series, I couldn’t be prouder to introduce you to two AMAZING women. Izzy and Leanne are both Emergency nurses, registered midwives and most recently, have started their own business called The Holistic Midwives designed to educate and empower women about the FULL experience of becoming a mother, not just the birthing of a baby.

Check out their inspiring, vulnerable and educational interview below!

Ladies, THANK YOU for taking the time to share some of your world with us in this interview! Firstly though, can you tell us in a couple of sentences a bit about who you both are and what you do?  

Thank you so much for having us Claire!

I'm Leanne. I am 39, from Scotland, and am an Emergency Nurse, Registered Midwife, educator, and Yoga teacher in training.

I'm Izzy. I’m 33, was born in England. I have lived in Singapore, Indonesia, USA and Canada growing up, but Australia has always been my home! I am also an Emergency Nurse (that’s how Leanne and I met working at the Hospital), Registered Midwife and Mumma to a beautiful little girl Amelia who has just turned 1, as well as 2 fur-babies, Cleo our cat, and Sophie our Labrador.

The Holistic Midwives is your BRAND NEW business which provides such a fantastic offering designed to help transform the way women and their partners experience birth. Tell us, what prompted the idea for The Holistic Midwives?

The Holistic Midwives was birthed in Africa in 2017, when Izzy and I were there for a month teaching Emergency Nurses. We both have a passion for education, women’s health and childbirth and knew we were destined to somehow work together in this field but didn’t quite know how this looked at the time. In our daily jobs as midwives we have seen a real lack of education, women not believing in themselves or their bodies and their partners not knowing how to support. We wanted to create something that encompassed all these aspects so that women and their partners felt empowered during this life changing event.

izzy in africa

What advice do you have for women who are thinking about starting a family and might be feeling completely overwhelmed by all the different information that is out there?

There are 3 key pieces of advice I would give to women who are thinking about starting a family.

  • Prepare – holistically look at all aspects of your life, physical, nutritional, emotional, spiritual and relational and reflect on what needs to change, evolve or be reflected on.
  • Do your research – know what your choosing and how this looks. Choose a care provider that truly supports your values and wishes.
  • Surrender – accept that life is about to change, celebrate who you are now and prepare for a new season of life. Birth is a truly spiritual journey if we allow it and you are not only birthing a baby but re-birthing as parents.

Amazing advice – thank you! Now…. starting your own business can be scary stuff! You are essentially putting yourself out there to the world and being completely vulnerable. Can you share with us some of the learnings that you both had as you were setting up The Holistic Midwives?

Leanne: It was really scary to be ‘seen’ but we realised that in order to be relatable with our community we had to be transparent and 100% our authentic selves. We initially hid behind the title of The Holistic Midwives, but then realised this wasn’t allowing us to be the individual women that we are, which goes against the philosophy of midwifery, so we had to start practicing what we were preaching!

Izzy: Yup that was definitely the biggest one! We watched this amazing inspirational Jim Carey video where he states to “Let the armour go. Risk being seen in all your glory.” This was our greatest challenge, to let go of the self-doubt and to be our true, vulnerable, authentic selves. To also realise that this is bigger than us and is just so needed for women and their partners out there, and therefore it is so important for us to share the knowledge and our personal experiences.

Also learning to stay focused is critical, which is why we invested in a business coach to help us access and guide our vision as we both have so much passion and so much to say when we get together!

the holistic midwives izzy leanne

The Eating your Cake too methodology is about getting the f*ck out of your own way and seizing opportunities instead of shying away from them. Its about having the self-belief, the confidence, and the courage to take action to go and get what you want. You have both clearly done this with The Holistic Midwives, but tell me, were there times when you doubted yourselves and how did you deal with that?

Leanne: Absolutely! It helps that we both think each other are awesome nurses and midwives – haha!

Our question to each other is always “Is this doubt from our heart or is this fear?”.

Our vision, values and beliefs were aligned so we just keep bringing it back to our heart space and have been learning to trust in our gut feeling. We meditate connecting to our breath to get clear, but our connection is pretty good that we know each other well enough to know where the doubts are coming from.

Izzy: Self-doubt has always been a big one for me as well as being quite hard on myself! I have had to consciously work on showing myself the same kindness and compassion that I show others and being gentler on myself. I have just started yoga and bringing mindful practice into my day as well as listening to podcasts that reinforce the importance of self-care and self-love. I am currently loving the podcast “get your glow back,” especially after having Amelia and doing some soul searching on who am I now that I am a mother. You definitely go through a personal re-birth. It’s been an interesting journey!

Often as women, and particularly even as mothers we put so much pressure on ourselves to try to be ALL the things, to ALL the people, ALL the time. What advice do you have for women in terms of reducing this pressure?

Leanne: Say it out loud, someone else is usually thinking and feeling the same. Community and connection are so important especially in these early days, you don’t have to be all the things (FYI - society has lied to you, our ancestors relied on other women to lift each other up). Its ok to ask for and accept help, you are not a failure, you are just doing the best you can!

Izzy: OMG yes! We do not need to be able to do everything on our own and it is okay to ask for help! Especially as a new mother it really does 'take a village' to raise a child. You need all the support for both the physical, emotional, spiritual demands in this really challenging and vulnerable time where you are not only getting to know your new baby but also yourself and learning to trust your instincts.

Success is such an interesting word, because it can and should mean different things to different people. We should all consider and decide what our own unique definition of success is and then live by that definition. What does 'success' mean to each of you?

Leanne – Success to me is being healthy physically and mentally, being kind and compassionate, and just being a god damn good human, that’s real success to me.

Izzy – Success to me is having a real work/life balance. Having a job that I enjoy, creating a positive impact, being happy, healthy and not taking myself too seriously. Taking time to enjoy new experiences, travel and quality time with family and friends.

Finally, what is a quote that you live by?

Leanne – “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” (Jim Carey)

Izzy - “You have two choices in life. Love or fear. Don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.” (Jim Carey)

Haha, snap!!

Thank you so much ladies for sharing so many pearls of wisdom with us! If you want to stay connected with The Holistic Midwives, be sure to follow them on Instagram @theholisticmidwives!