A winning concept

The Story

Birth by Heart was born in 2009 in Sweden as Birth Without Fear, where we still have our largest business with about 400 certified instructors and 10 certified care units. The book is published in Swedish, English and Finnish, and since 2020 we have also been building up our operations in Finland and UK.

The mission

Our mission is to make it possible for every birthing woman and partner to experience an emotionally safe, confident and loving birth. The organisation Birth By Heart is passionate about health in childbirth and about building a society in which both the pregnant woman and the healthcare professional have full confidence in the body, and the baby’s, ability to give birth and to be born. We want to strengthen parents’ confidence in their own ability to cope with the challenges of birth, parenthood and of life, which leads to deeper connections, greater meaning and better mental health and well-being.

For the healthcare professional, we want to provide increased knowledge and confidence in offering support through our tools and models that focus on preventing a fear of childbirth, complications, and a need for interventions, and thus to work in a long-term, sustainable manner towards better and more cost effective care.

I was another Susanna!

22 years ago, I was 8 months pregnant and worked as a theatre director. I stood on a bridge in Sweden and thought: “I will do something other than theatre. Help me find something where I can actualize my desire to contribute, use my body and be creative. ”

 One month later, Etienne, my son was born. And I was one of those women…

 … Who went into full battle, against what was happening in my body. I panicked. I who had been so optimistic and positive thought “SHIT, what is this? It just hurts! There is no point! ” My poor partner tried to help, but I just got angry. More tense. I was completely terrified.

 Luckily, I had a midwife to call. When I talk to her, she is firm and determined on the phone: “You have two choices Susanna; fight it – or work with it. ” She changes my breathing to silent. Says that “Now you need to work WITH the pain. Because it means your baby”. She guides me to get heavy in the contraction and pain. I say you’re crazy, she says trust me. You’re not alone. I am here. She repeats and “flashes her lighthouse”, I just follow. And after a while I start to let go.

 I experience it as if I am sucked out of chaos and into work. Suddenly I feel how my child and I meet in the body. My partner gets help to take over as a lighthouse, and in the cruising comes the sound. I cry, say “yes” and receive my first child in my trembling arms.

As he lay there in my arms, it was as if a candle was lit and an insight fell into me. I knew that what I had just experienced had changed me completely. And that I would work as a midwife.

As a newly trained assistant nurse, I saw woman after woman face the same stress and fear, and go into the same struggle. I saw how they were left. I saw what traumas were left in their bodies. I started guiding and helping them find the power – in the same way I was helped – and it worked just as magically. Each time. I practiced and started to see patterns. But nowhere in maternity care was there the knowledge I was looking for WHY it works. How are emotions connected to the birth process?

 I found that knowledge instead in the physiotherapist education. In parallel, I continued to define the tools and started writing my book. When I then started working interdisciplinary with the method, it went quickly. The women started talking to each other. The midwives wondered what was really going on in those rooms. They started coming to the courses, and I developed the care model that is today used by over 20 hospitals in Sweden, and which now also spreads abroad through Birth By Heart – our own proud parent organization.

 The need for an emotionally safe birth experience exists all over the world. And wherever it is, our method needs to be there. In women’s bodies and thoughts. It is all about creating conditions for them to give birth through the intuitive ability that they all carry within them.

Birth By Heart’s vision is a society that feels full confidence in that ability to give birth in each and every women. All parents and children deserve to experience a safe and loving birth and go out into life- strengthened and empowered and with more trust in each other and the world.

Whether the birth was easy or difficult is no longer important:  I made it. We did it together.

/ Susanna Heli.