Meet the team

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Chris Warren, Yorkshire Storks Founder, Retired Midwife, Birth Companion

Yorkshire Storks started as “Your Way Midwifery Practice”, in Kent, in 1990. I felt the only way to combine supportive midwifery with hands on mothering, was to work independently; my daughter was 8 months old. She is now 26 and I feel just as passionately that we need supportive midwifery for our children and grand kids. Currently Independent Midwifery provides woman-centred care that respects the whole family and is based on evidence – where it exists and an acknowledgement of when it does not. I believe that giving birth is part of a continuum, a life event and that supportive, enabling midwifery helps keep everything normal. Evidence shows that care and birth at home is usually best for everyone butback up help and intervention in hospital is sometimes necessary and at times most sensible.

Due to family commitments, as of Feb 2017, I have decided to let my midwifery registration lapse, as I can no longer reliably offer continuity of carer. Now I can offer antenatal and postnatal support alongside my midwifery colleagues and if clients wish, I can also be a birth companion. As always, I will be a sounding board and sign post people to useful information and help support their route to informed decision making. I believe fully in continuity of carer and know how vital it is for women to be attended by their chosen health care professionals and friends. My new role will be a work in progress and I look forward to exploring it as part of the Yorkshire Storks team. I have just been nominated for the MaMa Awards 2017!

image1Debs Neiger, Midwife

After 3 years in the NHS, the catalyst for my becoming an independent midwife was the home waterbirth of my son Gabriel with the Yorkshire Storks. I believe that a woman’s birth experiences can have a huge impact on her life and want to be able to support women in getting the birth they want. I believe birth can be joyful, empowering and a highly transformative experience. I am passionate about giving women the confidence to make the best decisions for them and their families. I now also have a daughter, Esme, also born at home in a pool with a Yorkshire Stork in attendance. My special interests are breastfeeding, babywearing and supporting families to find a way of gentle parenting that works for their family. I love knitting, reading and all things pregnancy and birth, even in my spare time, and I recently won the Gentle Parenting Award in the Health Care Professional category for 2016.

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Sharyn Lock, Midwife

I came to midwifery via a music degree, many years of ecological activism and human rights campaigning including lots of volunteering in the Middle East, community development work in the UK -  generally being interested in community and individual self-empowerment, autonomy and self-determination in all sorts of contexts. At first I thought midwifery was a step in a new direction, but it turned out not to be at all! I am passionate about supporting the autonomy of women as they make choices right for them, and protecting the delicate yet extraordinarily resilient ecology of birth. I enjoy exploring the increasing scientific evidence-base for what women have always known – that our bodies are expertly designed to give birth. In 2015 I received an Iolanthe Midwives Award to plan a return to Gaza where I have previously volunteered, to explore midwifery-led normal birth there. I have also published a book and contributed chapters to two others, including Here We Stand: Women Changing the World, winner of the Bread and Roses Award 2015. I am based in North Yorkshire’s Craven district, happy to cross over into West Yorkshire and East Lancashire too.

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Claire Harbottle, Midwife

As a photographer and artist it seemed perfectly normal to have photographs taken at the birthing of my first child in 1998. This decision sparked my longstanding interest in pregnancy and birthing and my eventual decision to retrain. I love the collaborative approach independent midwifery facilitates, and being able to offer truly individualised continuity of care.

Midwives generally want to support women’s choices, but many midwives are constrained by time pressures from being able to fully facilitate and promote informed decision making. Working independently provides me with the opportunity to spend as much time as it takes for women and families to make the decisions that are right for them in their unique circumstances. There is no ‘golden path’ for us to direct you to: each parent must negotiate the journey for themselves, with support, encouragement, up-to-date unbiased information and the full range of choices available made clear.

Through your pregnancy we get to know you well enough to understand and anticipate your wants and needs during your birthing, and to be supportive in your early parenting. Not everyone makes the transition to motherhood easily and while your clinical health is important, so is your psychological wellbeing at what can be a trying time. All midwives were once encouraged to be ‘professional friends’ to those in their care. Working independently and with a holistic approach to your welfare we still can be.

As an artist I photographed and filmed many home and hospital based birthings, and researched the visual representation of pregnancy and childbirth when studying for a masters in Fine Art practice. Much of this work is available online (see http://claireharbottlebirthwork.blogspot.co.uk/ for further information)