I grew up in Melbourne in Ashburton, and then moved to East Malvern which is where I did most of my schooling. I moved around between private co-ed schools. I struggled with the demographic and the culture and always felt I needed something more. I plucked myself out of the private school sector in Year 11 and enrolled myself in McKinnon Secondary College for Year 12 and I absolutely loved it. I had friends there and I thrived academically – it was so multicultural with none of the bitchiness. It was a public school and while my parents really wanted me to go to Wesley or some other private school, I was too head strong. After I moved schools I was much more settled and felt so much more comfortable in my own skin.
After school I worked really hard doing three or four jobs, saving money to buy a round-the-world ticket. So off I went on my own, and I didn’t come back to Melbourne for 15 years. I just kept on moving. I first went to Spain and then to London which was my base, and where I worked caring for the elderly and nannying to save money and then go off on another adventure. When I got to India I fully immersed myself in my Indian experience, spending two years there mainly doing yoga and meditation. I met my then partner in Dharamsala where the Dalai Lama lives, and we travelled a lot together and we ended up in Gujarat to do my first Vipassana meditation course. It’s ten days of meditation where you don’t write or talk to anyone, and where you sit and meditate for 10 hours a day. Once I made it through the ten days, I did it again because I loved it. It was physically challenging but I finally felt I’d come home, I finally found some peace and quiet in my mind. It was the missing piece from when I was younger. In all I did the course 20 times. I left India after two years and moved to Denmark for a year where I trained in massage, and did meditation and healing and ran workshops for women which was a real exploration period. People started travelling from other countries to meet with me because of the work I was doing in Ayurvedic and Swedish massage blended with my own intuitive touch. I’ve always been in a role where I am caring for or nurturing other people. I kept on travelling using what I had learnt, living in America and Japan before moving to Peru which is where I met Omkara’s dad and fell in love. He is Peruvian and lives in Cusco, the most magical place in the mountains. Omkara was born in 2006. Our home there overlooks all of Cusco and one of the Incan ruins. We still have a farm there even though Omkara’s father and I separated – he stayed in Peru and I finally moved home to Melbourne when Omkara was four.
When Omkara was born I became really fascinated with birth. I had always wanted to be around babies. My midwife in Peru was incredible. She was a German who had been trained in the Amazon and immersed herself in traditional midwifery. So I was this Jewish princess on top of a mountain in Peru giving birth naturally to my baby with a German midwife! I was like, call my dad and get me off this mountain right now! I did know I wasn’t going to die but I was out of my depth. It really awakened in me a fascination about birth.
I read a lot about midwifery when I was there, and then when I got back to Melbourne I was planning to enrol in a midwifery course but then someone gave me a flyer about training to be a doula which said ‘A Heart’s Calling’ – and it spoke to me. It was a one year course and I thought it would be a good step towards midwifery, so that’s what I did rather than doing a full on Uni degree. It was the right thing for me. As a midwife you have to be medically trained and you have that responsibility when you are helping a woman give birth, but as a doula I can completely be with a woman rather than having to follow medical protocol and legalities. My whole role is to enable a woman to soften her body so she feels safe, secure and comfortable to birth. I then also refocused on my massage techniques which I had been working on for 20 years, adding pregnancy massage training, as well as studying childbirth education and training and doing a business course at TAFE.
It was really hard arriving home in Melbourne as a single mum, having been away for 15 years. We started from nothing but I had so much amazing support from my father and my brothers and my mum. They fell in love with Omkara and I am so glad I came home. Omkara was able to build a relationship with my father who passed away last year. His passing threw my world into a spin. I really was so unsure of what direction to go in but I decided that I must go on, and his passing drove me to be more focused on where I needed to get to.
So Nurtured Birth launched in 2011. It all came about from my intense curiosity and passion to support women and help them to develop the confidence and skills to birth their babes. Now I have a real sense of commitment and clarity, of how I see Nurtured Birth growing. Once I made that internal commitment everything changed. I became so busy. There are three aspects to Nurtured Birth – pregnancy massage, birth doula support and childbirth education. I could see that my doula services didn’t really need to be advertised as I was fully booked and continue to be so, just from word of mouth. It was the pregnancy massage and childbirth education that needed most attention.
As I have a high turnover of clients – nine months or less is the general turn over with them – I focused on combining the sessions of induction massage with prepping the woman’s body and mind. I encourage women with childbirth education techniques and strategies to develop more confidence, excitement and trust. You can never plan for a birth but you can certainly have preferences and it is imperative to be prepared in your mind.
I became so busy that I have now recruited another fabulous masseuse, Lisa Reti-Waks, who is amazing, her touch is bliss! Apart from being a mother herself she is also a part time midwife offering massage and childbirth education at Nurtured Birth. It was a wonderful decision. I now feel like I can share the load with such a skilled knowledgeable massage therapist. Nurtured Birth has grown at my rhythm at what I could manage at every phase, I think that’s really important to recognise and not to over stretch oneself and become too stressed out. That just goes against my ethos.
Being a single mum and having my own business meant I had to work really hard. My son and my wellbeing come first, then the business. The whole idea behind starting my own business was so that I could work around his schooling. One of my very big challenges was to know what my weaknesses are. Understanding what support I need from family was important to my mental and emotional well being. Being called out at all hours for births means I need a really strong support network – Omkara is amazing at managing the demands of what I do, understanding my responsibilities and that there are no set hours. There is always a juggle and a negotiation. Being a mother in business, particularly a single mum, means you often feel isolated. You often feel like you can’t follow your passion. But you CAN do it – just take it slowly, it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Build your networks and your community of support where you can share the load. Nurture those relationships. My business may grow slowly but that is fine with me. Every day brings a new opportunity to continue developing. I have plans for Nurtured Birth’s future with opening up employment opportunities for other talented massage therapists and expanding the childbirth education side. All in good time. I am finally proud of my achievements – it took me a while but I got there!
Nurtured Birth offers birth support, pregnancy massage, relaxation and childbirth education. Sarah Goldberg loves being able to combine her body work skills (massage, reboze, body mindfulness, meditation, reiki, ayervedic understanding) along with her knowledge of birth to fully support and enhance birthing women.
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Copy: Melanie Quirk Photography: SomedaySomehowStudios
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