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05th May 2021

Meet the Irish midwife in Australia who is helping women worldwide access childbirth classes

Trine Jensen-Burke

Aoife Kenny Back to Birth

“I knew I had to do something.”

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has upended all our lives in one way or another.

Aoife Kenny is an Irish midwife, clinical midwifery specialist and childbirth educator living in Melbourne, Australia. Before setting off on her travels, Kenny studied and worked in the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin for six years. 

When the pandemic hit last year, she was working as a clinical midwife specialist in a large tertiary hospital in Melbourne.

“In June of last year, Melbourne was quite a different place to it is now,” Kenny explains.

“We were in the midst of the world’s strictest stage 5 lockdown, international boarders were closed, which led to an influx of friends and colleagues leaving. As well as that, many colleagues were suffering from COVID and Melbourne’s icy winter was in full force.”

It was a scary time. Aoife explains that despite the acute restrictions, Melbourne’s COVID 19 numbers continued to rise, along with the anxieties and fears of many expecting families and healthcare workers.

“Antenatal appointments spaced out, face to face appointments became phone calls, doulas were no longer allowed to enter the doors, partners tragically only had a two-hour window and our new PPE appearances were unfamiliar to us, and intimidating to others.”

Se dette innlegget på Instagram

Et innlegg delt av Aoife Kenny (@back_to_birth)

Aoife says she knew she was only scratching the surface of expecting couples’ anxieties and concerns once their 20minute antenatal appointment slots were up.

“I felt I was going blue in the face attempting to reassure couples, even though the future appeared so uncertain to us all.  I knew I had to do something. So I did.”

And with that, Back to Birth, a social media platform and virtual childbirth classes – was born.

“Back to Birth is a childbirth educational service purposefully created to support, educate and empower couples to make informed decisions about their body, birth and baby (ies).”

Through Back to Birth, Aoife offers a range of private, virtual educational classes via zoom, which covers all relevant need to know topics such as pregnancy expectationslabourchildbirth, the postpartum period, newborns and feeding methods. And since the ‘birth’ of Back to Birth in June 2020, Kenny says she has supported, educated and virtually connected with women and their families from all over the world (Ireland, across Australia, the USA, The Caribbean and Hawaii).

“Calculating the time differences have been fun let’s just say. However, as I have been a shift worker for over 10 years, I welcomed the unusual working hours with open arms – and still do.”

Se dette innlegget på Instagram

Et innlegg delt av Aoife Kenny (@back_to_birth)

Talking about why she set up her business, Aoife explains:

“Back to Birth’s Instagram page and educational bundles create an invaluable opportunity to connect, to be reassured and to be empowered by an experienced passionate midwife, from the comfort and safety of home. I firmly believe, now more than ever, that quality education is vital and can go a long way in boosting confidence and reducing anxieties.”

Knowledge, the Dublin-native explains, really is power.

“Sure, I see it every dayBeing prepared, informed and empowered will greatly influence the outcome of birth.”

Se dette innlegget på Instagram

Et innlegg delt av Aoife Kenny (@back_to_birth)

As for how her services work, Aoife explains that you can predominantly find Back to Birth on Instagram, @back_to_birth, where you will discover unbiased evidence-based relevant posts, free available to download birth and hospital preparation templates for home use and a myriad of useful links, website resources, book, podcast and ap recommendations. 

“If you are expecting and interested in learning more about Back to Birth’s class bundles, click on ‘Back to Birth bundles’ on Back to Birth’s homepage in the highlight column to discover more about what is offered.  Otherwise, you can DM/email me via Back to Birth and I will promptly respond – unless, of course, I am busy just then supporting couples birthing their babies!”

Se dette innlegget på Instagram

Et innlegg delt av Aoife Kenny (@back_to_birth)

And the couples she has helped, have nothing but praise for the young midwife.

“To anyone interested in classes but unsure if Back to Birth and or childbirth education is right for you, click on ‘testimonials’ on Back to Birth’s homepage in the highlight column so you can see first-hand how first and second time expecting parents found the classes.  (Keep an eye out for their beautiful babies also).”

As for her goal with Back to Birth going forward, Aoife explains:

“Back to Birth’s overall goal is to be an international space for connection, learning, encouragement and support; as nothing is more uplifting than women supporting women. There will always be a fundamental element of fear to childbirth and the unknown but with support, education and community I believe those fears can be faced with poise and calm.”

Today, May 5th, marks International Day of the Midwife, and this year’s International Day of the Midwife (IDM) on 5th May 2021 is being celebrated under the theme of “Follow the Data: Invest in Midwives.”