Happy Birthday Big Steps Little Feet
Posted on 8th April 2021 at 11:46
This week I am celebrating the 6th anniversary since the birth of Big Steps Little Feet in 2015. As I reflect on this achievement I can honestly say that setting up my own business was never on my list of things to do or ambitions for my nursing career.
A nurse from the start ..
I started my career as a healthcare professional as a student nurse in Ireland in 1990. Actually, I started before then – I worked in a medical centre for people with physical and learning disability, a maternity care home and a residential home for the elderly between 14 and 19 years. I wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. So, it was a big deal to leave a 23 year nursing career in the NHS.
Even more challenging was the fact that I had no plans, no onward job to go to when I left. I remember how hard it was to let go, let go of all I recognised and, in many ways, of what I felt defined ‘who’ I was. A set of circumstances gave me the push to leave. The sense of discontent had been growing for some time. No longer could I work in a way that felt good or was supportive to the families I met and worked with as a Family Nurse. I remember the great fear I felt, the pull and desire to have the capacity to honour the enormity of birth and the needs of the newborn baby and their family. I wanted to do break free of the shackles of protocols and agenda of the system. I wanted to be free of the time constraints, the bureaucracy and red tape.
Darkness and uncertainty
It was a dark time as I stepped away from it all and into the unknown and the uncertainty of ‘what now?’ That was vulnerability for sure. What I didn’t recognise, I suppose, at that time, was the great courage I had to honour what was coming up for me at this time and listen to my heart. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! There have been many other times in my life where I have had to resist the urge to push away the intense feelings, denial and pain and find the courage and strength to allow what was coming up for me to come through me. In these times, it has felt like I am the only one that is experiencing this experience, the associated negative thoughts and the darkness of despair. However, it has also been my experience that when I share what is going on for me in spite of the negative voices and narratives that say "no, don’t do it", “this is just you”, “you have failed here”, or whatever it is saying. When I share the thoughts and feelings of where I am at, 80% of the time I get a response which is one of connection, support and a “me too” in some way shape or form. This immediately quietens the fears and sense of isolation and aloneness. That point before stepping into vulnerability can feel like a very strong resistance. A deeply protective pull to stay small and hunker down.
Out of the darkness...
With no plan or vision, I started to train in an area that sets my heart alight – the world of new beginnings. Where the deepest strength and vulnerability reside side by side – the world of birth. I have learned, grown and developed. I have found amazing connection, support and passion within a diverse community of yoga teachers, independent midwives, birth, breath and body workers. I have developed my knowledge and skills a thousand-fold. I have harnessed all that I learned as a mother and a health professional and poured it into this mix. I am still learning and as many of you are aware this evolution continues.
Evolution of Perinatal emotional health services
The services of Big Steps Little Feet have developed and changed in this last 6 years in relation to what I offer and who I am today. Experiences as an Independant Health Visitor and then as a doula opened up the world of perinatal emotional injuries and trauma. I reconnected with the memory of my own traumatic experiences in birth and the overwhelm I experienced as a new mother. It was clear that there was a need for real and practical emotional support and healing. Although I had a plethora of training in compassionate mind therapy, NLP and Solution focused therapy, I recognised the need for more tools to offer to the increasing numbers of people coming to me with intense emotional pain and symptoms as a result of birth/postnatal trauma and overwhelm. Further study and training ensued in Rewind therapy, as a yoga teacher and hypnotheraist. My tool box of therapeutic offerings expanded. I am currently in the middle of studying a diploma in trauma therapy and look forward to offering EFT (Emotional freedom Technique) in the future - more magic!
One thing that has not changed in this evolution are the values I hold dear - realism and honesty. These values help to create a real sense of safety and support authenticity in my practice.
From a practical and business perspective what has changed and evolved is the Big Steps Little Feet website. Its now easy to navigate and includes an online booking system! See /book-now/
In the last 2 years I have created a studio space where I offer my workshops and appointments from. In this studio special 121 antenatal and newborn baby workshops are facilitated. I get to share all I have learned and know as a foundation for new parents to be. Together we explore their excitement, fears, tears and share fun and laughter.
I love this space and the sanctuary it provides to the brave and vulnerable people who come to see me as a Perinatal Therapist. I value and honour the courage they have to dig deep, past the resistance and pain of vulnerability to honour difficult births, loss and deep hurts.
What's next for Big Steps Little Feet?
I don’t expect to take over the world with Big Steps Little Feet but I do wish to continue to share my knowledge, awareness and passion to support new mothers and fathers and their babies. In the last year I have developed a brief therapeutic reconnection service for mums and dads who would like to acknowledge the difficult start they have experienced with their new baby, a space to facilitate repair any sense of rupture or sense of failure. This way they can then make space for the rest of their parenting journey, without the hangover of the trauma or challenges they have experienced at the start. My goal for the seventh year ahead is to continue to offer trauma informed 121 birth and baby workshops for new parents who want to have a more concious and connected process. and to offer more opportunites for resetting and repair for those who feel that their relationship with their baby has gotten off to a rocky start.
The last year has been a most difficult year for everyone. It has been especially difficult, lonely and traumatic for so many who have been pregnant, given birth and navigated the maternity system during Covid 19. My intention is to continue to offer 121 support for those affected by birth and perinatal trauma and emotional injury. I am in the process of creating a community space which offers support to those who have struggled and are struggling in the shadow of their experiences and pain. I welcome suggestions and collaboration to create this space. I feel called to continue to treasure the investment that positive antenatal, birth and postnatal teaching and healing offer new parents and even more importantly the next generation of children. My pledge of practice within the services of Big Steps little Feet is deeply dedicated to the emotional healing of perinatal mental health issues which are affecting so many mothers, fathers and babies. Early intervention and emotional healing makes space for pleasure, joy and connection – one family at a time.
Now, that was never on my vision board six years ago. I wonder what the universes vision is?! Lets see...
Happy Birthday Big Steps Little Feet!
If you would like to find out more please don’t hesitate to contact Melanie
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