Online support: The best decision

Asking Sharyn to be our independent midwife was the best decision we made when I got pregnant. Unlike any other health care provider, Sharyn took time and genuinely cared for us. It was not just a job but a commitment, a relationship of trust and friendship. These months of pregnancy, birth and the first weeks of postnatal care are life changing times and Sharyn was our harbour whenever something unexpected or worrying happened.

We met via Zoom at pre-arranged times which worked really well. We would talk about any questions we had about pregnancy, develop a birth plan or just chat. Sharyn was amazing at understanding what we were needing and wanting, supporting us in those decisions with the vast amount of knowledge she has.

Sharyn’s approach to midwifery is rooted in Quaker values of care and mindfulness, accompanying the journey of pregnancy and maternity with patience, respect and loving kindness.

NHS guidelines and procedures are not always very holistic and caring. Sharyn helped us to navigate the medical system. Being independent of particular NHS trust guidelines, she can draw on the most recent and most convincing research rather than being restricted by some protocols or tick lists. She would listen carefully, give advice including advantages and risks of different choices and send us additional resources to draw on. This really helped us to find our own voice when confronted with decisions.

Because of current issues in IMs accessing birth insurance, Sharyn couldn’t attend the birth itself. But she was vital in making a natural birth possible and was a huge support in the postnatal days when our baby had to be in special care. It would have been very difficult to make some of those decisions without Sharyn’s advice.

Even though I had a straight forward, low-risk pregnancy, we had a few panicky moments and it was invaluable to be able to call Sharyn and talk things through, knowing that she was supportive of our values. I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my NHS midwife. Calling Sharyn felt more like calling a friend for advice.

L & S, First-time parents, Yorkshire, 2021

Birthing my daughter: A feeling of empowerment, choice, and agency

I had to have a midwife I knew and trusted attend my second birth… after having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following the birth of my first child I can fully attest to how impossible it is to feel like a good and competent mother in a PTSD state. It’s a steep learning curve. I couldn’t be left on my own with my son for long, or have catch up day time sleeps for a year – sleep deprivation is exacerbated by PTSD. It’s actually physiologically impossible to feel that parent child connection when in a PTSD state.

The birth experience is so delicate and fragile that trauma in some form is possible, and I hate to say it, even common. But that doesn’t mean that leads to PTSD. We can do hard things and we can grow from them. PTSD is caused when, during an experience of trauma, we are not supported or respected. We are disempowered and lose control over our situation.

In labour you really do not have control over your situation, it is a wild ride, and need to have trust in those around you to guide the situation to a positive conclusion – whatever that may be. So the power imbalance is inherent in the situation. It takes great skill and self awareness on the part of the people around you to guide you through it keeping the power in your control and not picking it up and running off with it, as it is so easy to do when someone is so vulnerable.

With the skill of the amazing midwife Sharyn Lock (and of course my doula and partner!) I managed to birth my daughter with a feeling of empowerment, choice and agency, despite coming into the situation hyper sensitive and PTSD-ready! It really healed me and therefore healed my family and gave my daughter a truly wonderful start in life.

D, second child, birthed at home, 2019


Above and beyond expectations

Sharyn is amazing. She completely respected all my wishes and empowered me to be the one in charge of my pregnancy and birth experiences at all times. She was thorough with any issues that came up for me, offering information when I wanted it, and never pushing anything unwanted. She was always compassionate, respectful, and went above and beyond expectations as if it is just how she breathes! She’s an inspirational person to know. I’ve learned so much from her and feel blessed to have had her as my midwife.

M, 2nd baby, at home, 2018

My body, my choice

You are an absolutely amazing and wonderful rockstar midwife and we are so grateful for having you by our side. You really helped us build our power as parents, specially mine as mother, and that’s very special and unique. I will always remember: MY BODY, MY CHOICE!

Mariel and Adam, 2018

Truly comfortable and confident

Sharyn walked up a hill, in the rain, at midnight, to attend to me in labour. This is the sort of dedication Sharyn brings to your care. 

Throughout my pregnancy I got to know Sharyn so that I felt truly comfortable and confident with her. In labour I was able to focus completely, safe in the knowledge that her watchful waiting and expertise would keep me and my baby safe, and that I could trust her care and advice implicitly. Post partum, Sharyn gave me dignity, a sense of security, and invaluable help and advice in the hazy and sometimes dark days of early motherhood. 

Throughout my whole experience with her, she also showed warmth and love in a way I have never experienced from a health professional. With Sharyn you will be in the very safest and kindest hands. 

Love from Holly and Bean

A unique partnership

I gave birth on 14th January 2018, to a little girl. She was born at Airedale hospital with the midwives and doctors support there, as well as with the support of the Yorkshire Storks independent midwives, who I had seen during my pregnancy and who have supported me postnatally.

This is our second daughter. After my first birth, when I had pre-eclampsia and had to have a caesarean, I was determined to have a natural/ physiological birth if I could. I also wanted to have a home birth, or as much as the birth as possible at home.

The Yorkshire Storks midwife team were incredible in getting to know me and my family, listening to the choices I wanted to make and supporting me to the fullest extent. They are extremely knowledgeable and experienced, and it was a joy getting to know each of them too. I felt confident in their support for my birth, whatever happened. I think it is this personalised care and continuity of care which I am really grateful for. My labour began naturally at 40 weeks+5 days and I laboured for some time at home, in the birth pool and in my bedroom, with the support of my partner and Sharyn from Yorkshire Storks. I then transferred to Airedale, where I continued to be supported by Sharyn and the midwife team in hospital.

I was so impressed with how the Airedale staff and Yorks Storks team worked together and were extremely mutually respectful. It is a unique partnership which these independent midwives have with a hospital and I truly hope it continues to flourish, as I hope it means more women and their babies can benefit.


For Birthplace Matters’ Homebirth Midwife of the Year 2017…

“…I nominate Sharyn Lock, who has worked with our family to welcome 2 out of our 3 babies into the world. Sharyn and her team have provided us with the best continuity of care I could ever have wished for, seeing me from my booking appointment right through to the end of my postnatal period.

In the run up to my second and third births where I was ‘overdue’ Sharyn supported me with how uniquely normal my pregnancies were, filling me with confidence for birth happening as it is supposed to, at the right time.

During labour, Sharyn respected all our wishes – home, pool, homeopathy, privacy…the list goes on. She was incredibly present without interfering and ultimately she gave me the confidence to feel that I could achieve the births I want because I knew with her support I was invincible.

And I was! My most recent birth (Saturday!) was truly magical and I couldn’t have achieved it without her. She now continues to support me with postnatal advice-breastfeeding in particular-and I feel so well cared for and understood. She never judges me, and she constantly reassures me and allows me time to make the choices that are right for me and my family. I am so pleased to have Sharyn working with me.”

Ali Morpeth

Visit Birthplace Matters

I knew immediately I wanted to book

Originally Posted by Sarah on her blog

“Sharyn came to my home in order that both my husband and I could be there (and our son in bed!). We spent an hour talking about what our concerns were with this pregnancy, and also the kind of birth that we were seeking… I felt assured that I’d be supported every step of the way, whatever happens. There is no price that you can put on this feeling! There was a connection, a relationship being built already. For the first time in this pregnancy, I felt respected. I knew immediately that I wanted to book.”

My HBAC birth after a preemie!

Originally Posted by Sarah on her blog

“I’m absolutely over the moon to be able to share with you my birth story for my second baby, beautiful Freddie, who was born on a beautiful and warm Thursday evening in June. A month ago to be exact: Thursday 9th June 2016 @ 8:32pm.

According to my dating scan, I was 42+1 when my surges began early in the morning. I woke up at around six, with that common crampy feeling I’d been experiencing through the night for the past couple of weeks. Unlike the other nights though, I’d finally got my show. I knew that it was the day we’d been waiting for. I felt sick, and I wasn’t sure if it was the hormones or the excitement!

Chris had some pretty important meetings to attend at work, so I sent him off with a stern warning that he was to be firmly attached to his mobile at all times! He joked that I’d said for the past few days that “today might be the day”, but he knew that on that morning, something was different. So as he went off to work, the excitement I’d been feeling for months was bubbling up inside me, ready to spew out, as I realised that we would soon be meeting our baby.

I was having surges frequently, but lasting only a short period of time, and in no sort of pattern. Although my second baby, this was my first labour, and so I had been pre-warned to let the midwives know what was happening before I thought I needed them, just in case things progressed faster than I realised. I texted the midwives, and carried on dancing around the kitchen with George in between. At around 10am, a pattern had started to develop.

I had thrown up the banana I’d eaten, and I was struggling to give George the attention he needed, so I contacted Chris and asked him to come home. I also asked Sharyn (my main midwife) to come and see me so that I could check in. While she made her way over to me, Chris got home with a beautiful big bouquet of flowers and was a buzz of frantic energy. He busied himself around me, cleaning the kitchen and tidying the house. His nervous energy was massively upsetting my mojo, so after I had a go at him for disrupting my flow, he banished me to the bedroom with my hypnobirthing MP3s while he set up the birth pool in the lounge. I had The Calm Birth School Birth Rehearsal and Affirmations audio on repeat as I swayed around the room.

Sharyn arrived before long, and given that she was happy I was in the earlier stages, she wanted to leave us to progress in peace. She went off to a coffee shop while Chris, George and I danced and swayed to my pre-planned playlist of cheesy love songs (the same playlist we used for massages and romantic meals during the pregnancy).

When my surges came, I found myself leaning forward over the bannister to provide relief, while Chris used a light touch that Sharyn had shown him over my back. It seemed to miraculously dissipate the uncomfortable sensations and it felt amazing to be so connected as we worked through each surge together.

As things progressed, I wanted to get into the pool. It wasn’t long before I was feeling the power rise up, and the surges intensify with it. At one point I decided to get out of the pool for a cool down, but one surge out of the water was the equivalent to about 10 in it, and I soon jumped back in!

IMG_5292-300x200Before long I felt the urge to start pushing. The urge went as soon as it had come, but things were definitely changing. It was a totally relaxed atmosphere as Chris stroked my back and I closed my eyes and rested my body in between surges. Resting my head on Chris, I could hear George giggling as he played outside with my mum, totally oblivious to this imminent new life making its way through my body.
My most comfortable position was on all fours, either with my hands on the pool floor, or resting on my forearms on the side. My shoulders and arms were having a pretty intense workout and I needed food. The problem was that I couldn’t even keep water down. As the surges grew closer together, I was dozing off in the 30 seconds in between. With my head rested on the side of the pool, I would begin to slip backwards into the water, which soon woke me with a jolt. The small burst of energy that was afforded by my 30second naps was enough to propel me through each surge as it came.

As things were getting more uncomfortable, I decided to change from love songs to my Calm Birth School Powerball MP3, which I had listened to religiously throughout my pregnancy from about 20 weeks. I’d been using my breathing techniques up to this point in my labour and they’d served me well, and so decided that it made sense to ramp things up a notch on the hypnobirthing front.

In under a minute, I realised it was totally the wrong thing for me to be listening to and I shouted at Chris to turn it off! I felt different. I didn’t want to be relaxed. I felt powerful and wanted to match that. I had discovered a forceful energy – I was heeding my animal roots like never before. Getting excited knowing my baby was coming meant that Suzy’s dulcet tones just didn’t seem to fit this new energy, so I switched it up for a loud, upbeat grime/hip hop/r&b playlist – the type I’d bounce around to when I was having dance offs with George in my pregnancy!

Music that made me feel powerful and sexy. Perfect!

I felt the head coming, but it was just a tease. It was beginning to venture out and then retreating back inside, like dipping a toe in the cold sea and pulling it out just as quickly. After a few of these excited and optimistic “it’s really coming” moments I had a deep, very real and very disappointing, sense that it wasn’t coming at all. I said out loud “I can’t do this” to which Sharyn very softly, but matter of factly, replied through a big knowing smile, “you are doing this”.

Chris & Sharyn (and Claire, surreptitiously in the corner of the room) continued guiding me through my breathing and reminding me how amazing I was. Then, all of a sudden, I felt like a goddess. I realised my body was doing this. This incredible experience that I had dreamed about – this was my dream coming true!

I was having my baby at home, in a pool, with no drugs, no interventions, no stress and surrounded by people I love.

After what seemed like forever, the head was finally out, and I felt this little body squirming around inside me, choosing the best position from which to push out into the world.

And just like that… I did it!

My baby was in the pool. Sharyn told me to reach down and grab my baby. In total shock, and after nearly sitting straight on him, I did. I couldn’t believe it. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Our beautiful, amazing baby had entered the world, in the exact way I had visualised over and over.

Sharyn realised the cord was wrapped around the arm, waist and neck, so after a little dance and unwind under the water, I was able to lift my baby up onto my chest for my first cuddle. I was totally elated. On cloud nine!

That feeling was short lived though. There was no cry, no gasp for air, and within seconds, both Sharyn and Claire were jumping on us rubbing my beautiful new baby with towels to stimulate breathing. I was told to get out of the pool to sit on the floor as my baby was resuscitated. I had that horribly familiar sinking feeling that my baby wasn’t going to make it.

Thankfully, I was wrong. It took a while, but no sooner had he took his first breath, than he began to root and latch a little clumsily! Being a chiropractor, I immediately checked his spine and skull for signs of nerve interference (which we know can affect the ability to nurse in babies). Following a gentle fingertip-pressure adjustment, along came the latch – this time, like a boss! Literally, he was breathing unassisted at 8 minutes and breastfeeding at 12!

IMG_5309-300x200My uterus was contracting as I fed, and I eventually felt the need to go to the bathroom to birth the placenta. The midwives had it all set up so my precious placenta wouldn’t fall down the toilet and I sat there with my gorgeous baby boy at my breast. After 73 minutes (you read it right – 1hr 13 minutes!), my cord was white, stopped pulsing and my placenta came out with a plop. Chris cut the cord and was able to enjoy some skin on skin cuddles with baby while I moved over to the bed, and laid down, ready for my post-birth check.

Freddie David Keen was born as a home VBAC (against the advice of many midwives and a GP) at 42+1 weeks, weighing 9lb 6oz with no interventions, no painkillers and no tearing. I’m confident that this is the result of creating a real dream team around me, and I will be forever grateful to all those who have given me the information to be able to have such an amazing and empowering experience.

With love,
Sarah x”