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Jessica de Lotz interviews Victoria for her 'Heart on your sleeve' jewellery collection.

1. Can you just introduce yourself Victoria? What is Womb and Bloom and for what reason was it initially conceived?

Hi Jessica! Arrr, its lovely to be here, thank you for inviting me. I’m Victoria Lemmon, a proud mother of two children, life partner to a loving husband, a former production manager in the fashion industry and ex floral designer. Life experiences of birth, late pregnancy loss, secondary fertility struggles and IVF transformed me. This is where I finally found my calling, my third career, I hung up my floristry tools, closed down my events business and retrained as a birth doula, breastfeeding volunteer, hypnobirthing and active birth teacher. I am now a recognised birth doula with Doula UK, working with private clients and a wonderful charity called Happy Baby community since 2019 and most recently, founder of Womb & Bloom London.

Womb and Bloom London has been born out of a love of nature, pregnancy, birth and early parenthood hence its name. I was introduced to an Independent Midwife Nadia Abououf by a dear mutual friend in 2021. Nadia was her midwife at her two homebirths. We spent hours discussing a shared passion for all things pregnancy, birth and parenthood and realised there was an opportunity for us to work together. In the current climate with our NHS maternity system in crisis, we understand the enormous benefits of the support and village around women, people and couples as they journey into parenthood. We decided to introduce together 1-2-1 fully held, continuity of care packages with both a private midwife, a doula and other birthkeepers as part of a team so women, people and couples can relax, grow and bloom with confidence. The Womb & Bloom collective has grown organically with a gorgeous group of likeminded women offering our packages, services, group classes and in the near future products as well.

2. During my birth with Zee, you ensured that I always had a voice throughout the birth to speak out when things didn’t feel quite right and that I was always listened to and options were discussed. This alone was very empowering for me. What would you say is one of your most important roles as a doula to the birthing mother? and also her partner.

Thanks for saying this Jess. This makes me so happy that you felt empowered in your birth. Exactly as you should, wonderful X

Bear with me, there are many important roles, this is like asking me one of my favourite flowers, I can’t put one over the other. Ill have to tell you them all!

Foremost, it’s important to gain the trust and confidence of each client, so meeting or speaking to discuss birth preparation and feelings around pregnancy, birth & life with a new baby is a key role for me. We have the opportunity to get to know each other and really connect on their journey to new parenthood. We prepare physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I believe in physiological birth as a rite of passage but also my client’s choices to make informed decisions on the birth that’s right for them. My role as a doula or birthkeeper is to stand at the gate of birth, to observe from a hiding place and be a calm, loving presence. I hold the space for each client so they can consider options, using best placed evidence based information and support advocacy when required. My role is to be a loving connection for every birth, to sit and trust the process, to not disturb it and only if appropriate to suggest comfort measures, positions and to be available to serve to each client in their labour as it unfolds, offering gentle reminds of the beautiful power of their birthing body. My role is to offer breastfeeding initiation support and postpartum signposting and support as well as the space to talk about the birth experience. As I write this, I open my arms wide to show its an all round hug through pregnancy, birth and postpartum of protection,trust, strength, love and support.

3. You’ve told me before that you love having your period. Why is this and what is your favourite season and why?

Funny you remembered that. There was a period when I really didn’t want to receive my bleed each month as trying to conceive for over seven years with our second child, I rejected it as hoped for our embryo to implant. But, yes you’re right, I have always loved bleeding each month. I feel like a strong female. Growing up in a household of three big brothers and being teased for many reasons about my femininity, I came to feel empowered at each bleed. I still feel that way. I have spent the last 3 years actively tracking my cycle after reading Wild Power by Alexandra Hope & Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer and Period Power by Maisie Hill. I wish I understood more about my cycle in my 20’s and early 30’s! I love understanding how my emotions and hormones play into each season of my cycle and I’ve really come to find power in that. I love my summer season for promoting more energy, an external glow in my appearance and feeling so capable, like I can take anything on. But equally, I love my winter bleed for that release and inward nurture with a hint of inner strength – I feel more trusting of my intuition at this time. 5. Journaling. Do you do this? If so, when does it help you most?

Yes, I do journal, not as much as I used to. I go in phases. Its hugely beneficial for letting go of swirling thoughts. At the beginning of lockdown, I journaled every morning with The Artists way book by Julia Cameron. A wonderful book! It really developed a lot of personal growth for me at that time. I like to journal before I go to bed, it’s a brilliant practice to empty my head for a really restful night’s sleep. 6. Would you say that you wear your heart on your sleeve and you are open with how you are feeling day to day?

Maybe a bit too much, haha!!! I’m a very open and honest person so I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve. I have visceral reactions to my emotions so open to sharing them. I also deeply appreciate the power of being vulnerable and normalising our emotions for the benefit of our mental health. 7. Looking at our Emotion Guide that accompanies our Mood Ring (attached), which best describes your emotions today - and why?

Im in my spring, transitioning to summer, so I’m definitely feeling uplifted! 8. Your previous career was as a florist Victoria and lucky for me, you have sprinkled your floral magic throughout the shop for our current ‘ Heart on your Sleeve’ themed display… Is there colour that you are subliminally surrounding yourself with at the moment? Maybe there is a particular flower and if so, what is it? How does it make you feel?

Hmmmmm, a flowery question… lovely… well, we are heading into summer and the gardens are blooming with stunning roses right now so its got to be a David Austin garden rose. A hand picked bunch of yellow, burgundy, pink and orange roses sums up summer for me. This vibrant colour scheme makes me feel so happy and uplifted! The perfume, radiance, shape and textures of a bunch of roses ticks all my sensory boxes.

9. You also hosted a brilliant Emotions Bach Flower Tincture workshop when we had the new collection launch.

Can you explain a bit more about this please?

Yes, I really enjoyed that evening. Over the years I have found the benefits of using Bach flower remedies for myself, our children and even our cat. I decided after transitioning from my floristry career, I would take up a flower remedy course at Edwards Bach’s home in Oxfordshire so share his wisdom and remedies.

I think it’s important for us all to be open and understanding of our emotions to create harmony and balance of mind, body and spirit. Using the flower remedies allows us all the opportunity to stimulate our own self healing. The Bach system is made up of 38 remedies from flowers of wild plants, trees and bushes and seen as a way to treat emotions and not the triggers that cause them, allowing our bodies own natural defences to work more easily. They are an effective way to tap into the cause rather that the effect.

10. Regarding birthing, are there any books or apps that you would recommend? I found the gentle yet very informative books that you loaned me about hypnobirthing invaluable.

Oh yes lots of wonderful books to read.

I always recommend:

In your own Time by Doctor Sarah Wickham - A great reminder of the power and impact of the due date.

Reclaiming childbirth as a rite of passage by Doctor Rachel Reed - A brilliant reinforcement of physiology of birth as ‘herstory’.

How to have a baby by Natalie Meddings – a gentle and beautifully laid out book with practical information and lots of positive birth stories throughout.

Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin – if you’re looking for book full of birth stories from the farm of Ina May, its hedonistic and I personally found it liberating.

At Womb and Bloom, we have a library of FREE resource sheets now set up on our website which contain lots of nuggets of information and signposting from our favourite evidence-based researchers as well as tips from our collective. Go take a look, if you put your email address in, well send you all the free resources to peruse.

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