Milk and Masuki kids clothing founders, Rachael Freeman and Ishak Masuker first did the Calmbirth program in 2012. They loved the fact that it nurtured them so much as a couple, whist preparing them for all aspects of their birth and the family they would become. They said the program also created this sense of joy and excitement around birth and was almost a modern day antidote to the horror birth stories which float around and scare new parents to be. Rachael says, “Calmbirth gently took us through the facts of childbirth whilst celebrating the beauty and wonder of birth.”

It was this celebration of the beauty and wonder of birth and bringing up their young family that made them give up their inner city living and make the lifestyle ‘tree change’ to move to the Southern Highlands and get creative. Rachael says, “my ethos is that kids should be free to just simply be kids. Which is why our clothes reflect the kooky complexity of little people, whilst being super comfy. In other words, we make threads for climbing trees, dancing, playing, summersaults, jumping and simply being. “

We talk to Rachael about her Calmbirth experience and revisit her family.

How did you first find out about the Calmbirth program?

We first heard about the program through a lovely midwife I had during an early check up. I told her I was a bit worried about the birth and had experienced bouts of anxiety during my life, so she thought it was something that might be helpful for us.

How did the Calmbirth program help you during your labour and birth?

During my first labour with my son, I did a lot of visualisation. I really felt this helped me stay focused and keep me in touch with my body and all of the new sensations that were going on. The breathing practice was a powerful tool for me to get through the labour which was really long.  What I found was my breath was a constant matter of what was happening around me or inside of me, it helped me stay calm and focused.

What was the best thing about your birthing experience(s)?

Apart from meeting my children for the first time, the best thing about my birthing experience was the amazing feeling of pushing out a baby by myself and the feeling of how empowering that was.

What was your overall opinion of Calmbirth?

Calmbirth is a really wonderful program that absolutely nurtured us as a couple and prepared us for all aspects of birth. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of useful and practical information it gave us about birth which was delivered in a supportive, non judgmental environment. I felt like we were all given a chance to express ourselves including our fears and worries.

The program also created this sense of joy and excitement around birth and was almost a modern day antidote to the horror birth stories which float around and scare new parents to be. Calmbirth gently took us through the facts whilst celebrating the beauty and wonder of birth.

What do you think were the main points your partner got out of the Calmbirth program?

I think the program helped Ishak change his approach to birth, from being a scary and unknown thing, to something that we could go through together as a team, and be the start of becoming a family.

Every birth is different. How were your births different?

I have two children, Noah 5 and Holly 3. They are crazy and amazing. Noah’s birth (like many first time births) was very long, however I had the most incredible midwife and support team who got me to the end. My contractions were starting to become weak as my uterus started giving up on me so there was a tiny bit of intervention at the end to get him out, but it was a still a natural birth with no pain relief. I don’t remember feeling scared only excited to meet my baby. Calmbirth helped me feel calm and confident in my ability to birth my baby.

Holly’s birth was amazing and fast! From when I was 6cm dilated I’m pretty sure she was born 40 minutes later. She was not positioned well and the nurses were concerned it was going to be a trickier than usual delivery (she had a hand raised up which was in the way of the birth canal) then she literally moved herself into the right position at the 11th hour and out she came. I remember the midwives’ amazement, and thought my baby was pretty clever.

So yes, they were both incredible births, both so different. But then I’m not surprised because they are chalk and cheese to this day.

What made you move to the highlands?

Honestly speaking we needed a lifestyle that would suit bringing up a family. I am a city girl born and bred but I remember being 5 months pregnant and walking through Newtown in Sydney and having to cover my face from the fumes because they were making me feel so incredibly sick. Then I thought gosh, I bet my baby isn’t enjoying this air either. We love the highlands, it’s great for being creative and growing our family. And this is where the idea for Milk and Masuki was born.

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