Next dates: 16th & 17th September. Bristol. £350

Part one of the Compassionate Birth Worker Training is a two-day immersive event called Preparing for Compassionate Birth.  By the end of the event students are equipped to deliver 'Preparing for Compassionate Birth' workshops with their clients either as part of the larger Compassionate Birth programme or as individual workshops from as early as 12 weeks of pregnancy.

A set of comprehensive, ready made teaching tools are provided to facilitate your workshops and you will be offered one free Reflective Supervision session within the first year of completing your course.

An underlying principle of Compassionate Birth is that we must have a lived experience of the techniques.  How can we teach compassion if we don’t practice it?

Students are also asked to approach their learning with a ‘beginners mind’.  This opens the room up to sharing and learning in a transformative way and frees us from ego.  Ego creates fear and by letting go, the oxytocin in the room rises exponentially; living it is understanding it!

Day one learning objectives and outcomes are to:

  • Explore the structure of the programme for parents
  • Understand Compassionate Birth Principles
  • Develop the foundations for Self-compassion
  • Develop the foundations of Mindfulness practice

We begin by exploring Compassion.

What is compassion and why is it important when preparing for birth?

When seeking to define compassion, we repeatedly encounter words such as understanding, concern, warmth, love, brotherly-love, tenderness, consideration and humanity. Compassion encompasses all of these themes and more.  The root Latin word of compassion is ‘compati’ which means ‘to suffer with’ which I often take to mean being able to walk along side and empathise with another.

The more we cultivate a compassionate mind-set the greater the benefits to us as it works on a very physical level; being compassionate leads to an increase in our endorphin and oxytocin production and these just happen to be two hugely significant and beneficial hormones in labour and birth.  It also increases the likelihood of inspiring compassion in those around us.  This means that their oxytocin levels are likely to be raised too.  This can only be good for birth as the more oxytocin there is in the room at the point of birth the better.

We listen to some Compassionate Birth Stories and reflect on them and students are encouraged to reflect on and share stories from their own birth work.

We then move into mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

To be mindful just means to bring our conscious attention to something without judging it or wishing it was different. Mindfulness as a practice is a very popular but often misused tool.  When mindfulness is misused it can lead us into self-absorption and can lead us away from the world.  In the western world, we do have a worrying culture of ‘I /Me’ and poorly applied mindfulness can exacerbate this unhealthy mindset.  What is often missed is that Mindfulness is only one wing of the bird.  With only one wing we fly in ever decreasing circles.  We need to use both wings and the other wing is Compassion.

I trained in the therapeutic use of Compassionate Mindfulness when working as the Specialist Midwife for Women affected by drugs and alcohol in Hackney, east London.  I have seen it applied successfully by women in such challenging circumstances as they work against the odds to emerge as a mother. It is a powerful tool but can sometimes appear inaccessible to people, possibly because they have been taught it in a very complicated way.  The Way of the Koi is simple.

We immerse ourselves in Mindfulness and experience its simplicity throughout day one.  We also explore the ways in which you can share your lived experiences of Compassionate Mindfulness and teach it to the women you serve.  You are introduced to the tools that are provided by Way of the Koi for use in your Compassionate Birth workshops.

If you'd like to try a moment of mindful calm just click here.

We close on ‘setting intent’.  This is a simple yet powerful process.  Students are guided and supported to arrive at a place of ‘bone-knowing’ through this element of the course.  It brings the other elements together in a moment of clarity that you will draw into your bones as a wisdom that you will embody. As you live your journey as a Compassionate Birth Worker your intent will change and evolve, and so it should if you are to retain your beginners mind, but the process of setting intention provides a powerful medicine to both you and the women you serve when it becomes an authentic part of your practice.

Day two learning objectives and outcomes are to:

  • Understand the importance of language in birth work (and learn how to manage others negative language!)
  • Learn how to use Birth Art with your clients
  • How to use labyrinth work
  • Experience Bubble Breathing
  • Skills for self-care (for you and how to teach your clients this)
  • Experience Hypnotherapy – becoming a confident practitioner: The Gift

You will be given the opportunity to explore the ready-made teaching tools for your use when delivering Preparing for Compassionate Birth workshops and access to the online resources section of this website.

We start by examining our own use of language before considering how this has the power to affect our own mindset as well as influence those around us.  We then explore the language of autonomy, using positive language and how to reframe using some simple exercises.

Birth Art: Using art as a form of self-exploration in pregnancy and as preparation for birth is an incredibly powerful tool even if suggesting it sends a shiver down some peoples’ spines!  "I can't draw" they will say, but by using carefully selected projects to guide and empower them to tune into their inner voice they soon come to cherish their creations.  Compassionate Birth Workers do not analyse art work but we support our clients to find its meaning for them-selves.  Birth Art is also used to support clients to start preparing for parenthood (not just birth!) which is frequently overlooked in antenatal classes.

Labyrinth Work: Close to where I grew up in North Cornwall, a labyrinth was discovered in Rocky Valley in 1948, carved into a rock face and hidden for who-knows-how-long beneath the undergrowth. The symbol of the labyrinth is classically associated with journeys of transition from one world to another, one stage of life to another and was used by the Cornish Midwives of old (Gwelivedhes) in their practice. Learn to use this ancient tool to support and guide the women of your community as they not only approach birth but as they begin to consider how they will integrate their birth experience into their new reality post birth.

Self-Care: is about honouring, respecting and nourishing the self. How can we encourage and guide our clients to engage in this if we don't embody our message?  Learn to support women to fit self-care into their lives in practical and simple ways that they will be able to carry forward even into the all-consuming early days of parenthood and beyond. Learn to offer a simple relaxation script to women which will empower them to connect with their unborn baby and begin to embrace where they are on their journey rather than where they think they should be.

We end the day with a Hypnotherapy session for you: make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, take three deep breaths into the lower part of your abdomen and relax.  Let me take you on a journey to realise your own potential and the unique gifts you bring to birth work and the women of your community.

On completion of the 2 day course, to support you in facilitating your own Preparing for Compassionate Birth sessions, you will receive:

  • Access to the Facilitators online resources
  • A set of ready-made tools (hand-outs and Powerpoints)
  • Opportunities for reflective supervision (those completing the full Compassionate Birth Worker Training receive two sessions free in the first year after completing)

Cost: £350

Request an application form:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message (required)


Amazing art work credit (Koi Mama Water Birth): Huge thanks to Brittney Pelloquin / for giving her kind permission so generously.


Cancellation policy: Deposits are non refundable although a partial refund of fees may be considered in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of Way of the Koi. In the rare event that an event is cancelled by Way of the Koi a full refund is made.