When you first meet Jess you are struck by the kindness and gentleness that radiates from her being. She has an element of the earth mother about her which normally would be reserved for women of much greater years.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, to learn that she is a Registered Mid Wife who also practises and teachers Yoga. And yet she started out by studying Law with the intention of becoming a Diplomat. So what was it that drew her to the ancient practice of Midwifery?
I am fortunate to know the lovely Jess well, as she is our nearest neighbour. In conversations with Jess I have been fascinated by her unconventional career path, and believe how her decision to follow her heart might be of inspiration to others.
As Covid restrictions eased Jing photographed Jess near our homes in the Gather Dress, Gather Top, Organic Panel Tee and Sailor slacks; styles which are graceful, in which you can move with ease. Without restrictions.
And here you can learn of Jess’s story.
Can you tell us a bit about your career path and what drew you to midwifery?
The story of my career actually began with studying law. I had hopes of becoming a diplomat for the UN but quickly came to learn the reality of being a ‘lawyer’ and rethought my plans. After dabbling with psychology and taking time to travel I realised I am best when working with people and really enjoy supporting others to realise their full potential. I wanted to make a difference in the world and felt best equipped to do so at the level of the individual. I first considered midwifery when watching a video of a woman giving birth naturally. As with most girls, I was taught to fear childbirth, however watching this particular woman it seemed the most miraculous thing I’d ever seen, and the ultimate expression of feminine strength. I wanted to learn more and to help more women recognise the transformational power of this rite of passage.
Yoga is gaining a lot of attention these days for its benefits not just on physical health but also psychological health. What is your typical yoga practice and what does it bring to your life?
I am very lucky that yoga has been a part of my life since I was 15 years old. My practice has taken many forms over the years, adapting to meet my physical, mental and spiritual needs as they’ve shifted throughout adolescence to adulthood. My typical practice includes the physical ‘asana’ as well as pranayama (breathwork) meditation and study of yogic philosophy. I teach formal classes at various studios around Perth as well as the occasional private session. Right now I use a lot of my teaching skills to prepare women for childbirth and I’m currently completing my certification to become a recognised perinatal yoga instructor.
What do you love most about your job?
Witnessing women realise their ultimate strength and learn to trust their intuition as they embark on the rite of passage to motherhood. Cuddles with babies are pretty amazing too!
Any advice for mothers to be in terms of preparing for labour and birth?
Everyone is going to have unique needs, desires and expectations of what they want their labour and birth to be, so take time to figure out what that looks like to you. Think about where you’d like to be, what sort of atmosphere you want to create (lighting, music, scents), how you want to feel and surround yourself with people who will be your biggest cheerleaders. We birth best when we feel safe, secure, strong and able to trust in our bodies and our ability to birth babies. That said my advice would be to build a birth team – midwives, doulas, doctors, family, friends – that you trust and who you feel support you to cultivate confidence in yourself.
Clothing can be a powerful expression of how we define beliefs, our values and ourselves. How important is sustainability and ethics in your clothing choices, and do you place greater value on pieces you know are created by independent designers or made in a socially conscious manner?
I am aware that we live in a society that favours convenience and cost-effectiveness over sustainability and that it’s having a devastating impact on the physical, psychological and spiritual health of our planet. Though I’m far from perfect I try to minimise my footprint on this planet by consuming less and more consciously. In terms of fashion, where possible I opt for labels/brands that are local and I know are produced with purpose and meaning. With the rise of ‘fast-fashion’, I feel clothing has lost that sense of craftsmanship. There is something beautiful in the effort and care that is present in items produced by independent designers (like Kristin). You can literally see the love put into a piece’s creation as if it’s sewn into the stitching. The clothes become like pieces of art, embodying a character or personality of their own. It feels like a privilege to wear them.
Jessica Oma – Midwife
Images by Jing Song
Copywriting by Zoe Deleuil