What is the Caesarean Warriors Project?
The Caesarean Warriors Project was founded by Jen Shipston and Kate Russell, after the caesarean birth of Kate’s daughter in 2016. From what was initially a photo session for Kate as a way of finding peace with her scar, an idea was formed, born from the desire to provide other women with a chance to be heard, and to heal. The Caesarean Warriors Project aims to support women in working through the complex emotions surrounding the day their babies were born, and to honour their strength and beauty as women and mothers. Photographs and stories are shared as a part of the project, as a way of raising awareness and celebrating mothers whose babies came into the world via caesarean, and bringing peace and healing to those who need it.
Who can participate?
The Caesarean Warriors Project is an Australian-based project, however we welcome women from all over the world to join our Facebook group. Australian members may have the opportunity to participate in a Caesarean Warriors session, including photographs and a chance to share a letter – to themselves, their baby(s) or their scar. Women from outside Australia are encouraged to join the Facebook group, where they can share their own stories, pictures and letters if they wish. Any woman who has had a baby by caesarean can join the group and participate in the project.
How do I join?
If you are in Australia and would like to have your own Caesarean Warriors session with Jen (who is an established photographer and doula), you can complete the registration form here. Jen is travelling Australia from August 2017 and will endeavour to photograph as many women in as many locations as she is able to.
What does it cost?
There are different pricing options for Caesarean Warrior sessions. This project is very much “heart-based” and personal, and prices are kept low so that sessions are accessible to as many women as possible, whilst covering the time and associated costs that will allow the project to continue into the future.
Option 1: 30 minute session and 3 digital images, including a recording of your letter, with the option to upgrade/purchase extra images at a later time. $50/$30*
Option 2: 45-60 minute session, 10 digital images and slideshow with recording of your letter. $150/$100*
Option 3: 1-2 hour session, including a rebirthing ceremony (petals or herbs provided by me), 20 digital images and a slideshow with recording of your letter. $250/$175*
*Discount applies to those willing to allow their images/slideshow to be publicly shared as part of the Caesarean Warriors Project. Limited spaces. Maximum of 8 sessions per month.
Where do CW Sessions take place?
The sessions will take place all over Australia, in each participant’s home (or in an outdoor location if preferred).
Who runs the CW Sessions?
The sessions are run by Jen, an experienced photographer and doula who has worked with many mothers over the past 6 years. She holds much awareness, compassion and respect for the feelings of women in both their birthing and mothering experiences, and is willing to gently and kindly hold the space for women as they work through these feelings before, during and after these sessions.
What happens in a CW Session?
During your session, you will have the opportunity to tell your birth story(s), read your letter and have photographs taken of yourself with and without your child(ren). Each session will be unique, as unique as each of the stories that has brought us all here.
What do I need to bring to the CW Session?
Each woman is asked to have a letter with them – written to themselves, their child/ren or their scar. There is no length or time requirement for these letters, and they will all be unique – there is no formula for how or what to write. Ideally, reading the letter should take 2-4 minutes. I also encourage women to wear clothing that will allow them to show their scar/the marks of their motherhood, if they wish to. This may seem confronting, but the idea is that by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we can become stronger. Children will be included in the sessions, but there are no specific requirements for clothing etc.
Do I have to share my images/ video?
I have created two different session options, so those who do not wish to share are still able to participate, for themselves. So no, it is not a requirement for the images/video to be shared.
How do I refer a friend?
The Facebook group Caesarean Warriors Project is a Closed group, so you are able to invite your friends to the group (they will still need to be approved by admin), where they can participate in the discussions, and register their interest in a session.
Is there any way to be involved if I don’t live in Australia?
Absolutely! There are women from all over the world in the Facebook group. If you are outside Australia, you are encouraged to participate by sharing your story and experiences, taking and sharing your own photographs, and writing letters to yourself, your child/ren or your scar to share with the rest of the group.
Is this a counselling service?
Whilst we are able to offer support, and a space to safely share your story and experiences, we are not trained counsellors and encourage you to seek further help from a professional if you are struggling.
I’m really struggling to come to terms with my birth experience, where can I access more help?
We are compiling a list of resources in the Files section of the group, titled “Resources for Support.” Please be patient as we work on this. We will also have some copies of the book “How to Heal a Bad Birth: making sense, making peace and moving on” available to borrow and “Pass it Forward”. If you’re interested in borrowing a copy, please add your name to the list in the Files section (How to Heal a Bad Birth: Lending List). Also, asking your local midwives or doulas for recommendations of supportive therapists may be a good starting point.