healing keloid scarring

keloid scarring and cultural competency


this is a subject close to my heart and on my mind for a long time. the incompetence I often find among practitioners of western medicine when it comes to keloid scarring post birth.


keloid scarring is a body raising a scar –  building too much scar tissue. the western medicine solution if its problematic is to cut it away. in this last year I have helped three women avoid having a part of their lower abdomen cut away when a caesarean scar began to keloid and the other two were being offered surgery to cut away a piece of their perineum right at the vaginal opening. no other treatments or options suggested.


keloiding is so quick and easy to treat with traditional medicine. the latter two of these women had been living with tight uncomfortable scarring in the worst place for over a year. they came to me very distressed. the implications for a woman’s physical comfort, her sex life and thus her relationship and her mental health are huge. 


traditionally we treat raised scars like this with daily castor oil compresses – ideally overnight. a great kitchen cure all. a little castor oil on a piece of brushed cotton on to the affected area with a heat source placed over it like a hot water bottle. all three of these women had a huge reduction overnight and were almost completely back to normal within a matter of days.


why don’t healthcare practitioners know this? I’d put forward the idea that it’s because it mainly happens with black and brown people and our western medicine model is geared towards white men. just ask a woman suffering from fibroids, lupus or endometriosis.  the treatments offered are often extreme and few and far between. traditional medicine has so much to offer and can frequently heal the problem altogether.


I have so many urgent questions.


how many black and brown women are having a good part of their genitals cut away? experiencing all that comes along with that very challenging experience. I’m imagining a fair few in light of the fact we know there are way more interventions and much more risk in this group of women.


why did someone need to travel 26 miles to find a bottle of bloody castor oil which used to be a kitchen staple? someone will pipe up that it’s toxic. so is bleach but not if used properly and most of us only have to walk a few steps to a local shop to buy this.


how can we get this very simple, easy remedy to be common knowledge among midwives and GP’s and gynaecologists and plastic surgeons so women avoid the extreme alternative?


how can we get this knowledge out to women so it’s widely known? 


what is the resistance to recommending non-pharmaceutical solutions?


help me by sharing with mama’s and midwives and birthkeeper’s of all kinds. 




Bleeding in lockdown – what the **** is going on?!



After just a couple of weeks of lockdown in Scotland I began to get direct messages, emails, texts and calls from women all around the world. A trickle which soon became a deluge. They were all worried and fascinated women who’s cycles were up the swanny. Missing, late, heavier, more painful, less painful, lighter, more frequent and just different to how they always are. My mind started ticking.


I put out a general shout for women’s experiences and this is what I found.


Despite evidence to the contrary women living together were pulling their cycles together. “Syncing”. I wonder about that evidence because there is seemingly no doubt that women living together bleeding together is a common occurrence. Aside from all the women in the house falling into pre-menstrual energy together mothers particularly seem really heart warmed they are bleeding with their daughters. 


There has been some extreme PMS. This is no surprise while we are under such stress, drinking more alcohol, eating more sugar and moving less. Alcohol particularly makes it hard for the body to process its soothing chemical mechanisms. I’m all for women doing whatever it takes to get through this time but wigging out monthly for a week probably isn’t doing us any good. We could make whatever effort we have available that week to go easy, nourish, invest, bath, hydrate, magnesium up, retreat, whatever it takes. An older sister of mine once told me “it’s okay to give your children cake for breakfast from time to time” – I turned that into a whole mothering philosophy. Pretty sure I didn’t ever give them cake for breakfast but I knew I could! A week off from the sourdough, structured play, home-schooling, kombucha making, artisan life path will do everyone the world of good! I’m reminded of the blog I once read clearly shouting it’s no good shouting self-love at a woman that needs community and family love – reach out and support your women with a text, a call, a package, a story, a song, a meal. A little effort may go a long way.


A few have noticed a decrease in their PMS symptoms. Feeling they have more room to honour feelings, rest and retreat when necessary.


Others feel their Circadian rhythm is completely off-kilter. Lots of time indoors, late nights, and too much blue light from screens is giving our bodies a different message to what’s really happening in our day.


Much more intense bleeding. Some feeling it’s the super moons we have experienced pulling on their internal tides. All those things that affect your PMS affect your bleed too. One woman told me she notices she seems to let go of all she has stored with her bleed. Women of the world are collectively grieving with their wombs. Clearing the way. Shedding. Healing.


Much lighter bleeding. For sure we are right in the middle of a major threat to life. We don’t say it out loud while we soldier forward blitz spirit style but it’s there running in the background slowing down our speed. Some feel they haven’t ovulated over this time. The body that is super stressed can make a calculation not to conceive. Maybe this is how the bleed ought to be for this woman when she’s not running around, back and forth, doing the work of about twenty as we do.


Some are having two cycles a month. Sometimes the super stressed body makes a different calculation to conceive! We see birth rates going up not down under challenges like these. The brain can tell us to make love not war. Prioritise what’s really important. 


A “period app” has reported this morning that around half of all women using their app are affected. That’s a huge number. I’m ever interested. Please send me your thoughts and experiences. The question to ask is do we need a solution? I think we will all have slightly different ideas about what that looks like so I’m not going to provide you with a ten-step 30 day blog style plan but we can list below some useful things to try if you feel led to.


  • Hydrate
  • Rest more 
  • Check magnesium intake and maybe bathe, and oil and up your dietary intake of magnesium rich foods
  • Don’t forget your woman’s health herbalist, aromatherapist, homeopath, traditional midwife, asian medicine doctor and general herb witches will all have remedies that can ease difficulties. Western medicine has very little unfortunately. We need another post about how it’s mainly centred around the health of white men!
  • Look for your womb specialists in particular – Arvigo and Mizan practitioners can really help you if you are suffering. They can show you old ways of steaming and massage that you can continue yourself.
  • Put some of your blood in the earth. Pretty much all indigenous people understand this as grounding for you and healing for the planet. Western women see blood as dirty. We need to get through that and out the other side. It’s not helpful.
  • On that note finding some rituals that honour this incredible process can really help you integrate how you are feeling. We can also hook you up with amazing women doing this work.
  • Retreat. In any way you can even for a few moments especially from that screen
  • Get out in the natural light and put your bare feet on the ground as much as you can (not when it’s cold though!)
  • Little less alcohol
  • Little more good food going in
  • Take a walk
  • Take a holiday from your “standards”
  • Connect with women and talk about what’s happening for you. It really helped me to hear I wasn’t alone in this.
  • If it’s really getting to you reach out for a therapist – so many are online now. We have three exceptional women we recommend at Red Tent. Reach out for a recommendation.
  • Get my sister from another mister Maisie Hill’s incredible book Period Power so you can really understand not just what’s going on but how to harness the seasons of your cycle.


Our wombs speak to us. They weep. Go on strike. They direct. They lead us. Talk to her. Journal with her. Gift her rose oil and wrapping. Listen.


Find out more about me here and what’s on offer over this time here.


Final thoughts

What a trip to be here at such an interesting time. Three different cities with hugely different energy.

  • Gentrification is such an issue in all three cities. Million dollar plus homes with homeless people right by. Emperors new clothes. Evolutions of cities fascinate me.
  • We need to sit with our elders to put our own lives in perspective and LEARN.
  • On this trip I’ve met several beloved people I only knew virtually from the Internet. Social media love affairs are very real. I love them all dearly.
  • Connecting with old friends is nectar for the soul. Call up someone right now.
  • Meeting said old friends family is just as delightful. To see them all suceeding makes me so happy.
  • Manhattan is surreal. Everything you recognise on crack. Way too much for me.
  • Trump tower was a magnified version of that. Military police with huge guns and absolute mayhem. 
  • When travelling I’ve learnt to trust my instinct and follow my nose. This took me to the most amazing roti breakfast of my life.
  • I have seen some amazing art in NYC – i find it enthralling but always have the sense of cheating by just wandering by when I should really spend an hour in front of each one. Monets water lilies – van goghs starry night – Jackson pollock – an endless list of greats including the amazing art being created in the studio next door to my bedroom.
  • Our children need other adults. No1 daughter just got the best lecture about never dating a loser from a man who thinks men who don’t support their children should go to jail. We need more male voices of this calibre.
  • Yesterday I thanked God for all the martial arts training in my life when I dodged a giant hand angled at my head by a crazy dude in Harlem.
  • Whilst eating in Harlem I was rather disturbed that the gentlemen next to me told me he was packing in case some Isis motherfuckers roll up in here – he wants to be a hero.
  • So happy I can hang with my child and experience life.

Now I’m off to nap in a series of lounges, planes, trains and automobiles. Happy holidays y’all 

Leaving LA

What a joy it is to be with your birthkeeper sister in her home town seeing the city and eating everything in sight.

  • The gap between rich and poor here is like nowhere I have seen. Many many homeless desperate folk. Prayers.
  • Visiting Agape church and witnessing it’s incredible experience. What a sermon. Look forward to your successful self. Beckwith is great – I’ll be live streaming on Sundays when I get home. If you like the secret and believe in God I strongly suggest you check it out.
  • If ever in LA you MUST visit Panns Diner – original waffle flavour. Hairnets and all.
  • Gentrification is a disease. Affected coffee shops are the spots. They are springing up everywhere and I love good coffee but I’m not sure we need quite so many in the world. Trying to talk to the staff in the one we used was excruciating – I was mos def not cool enough. Coffee was good – attitude sucked.
  • The way we are inflating property prices in our big cities is ridiculous.
  • Nutella and salted pretzel shakes are a genius idea.
  • LA has many women who don’t really eat.
  • It’s normal to have mandatory bible study at the shelter for vulnerable pregnant mums.
  • Please donate to Guiditta’s foundation – it is vital. So good to meet the crew of LA doulas and promised midwives serving these women. http://www.joyinbirthingfoundation.org/donate.html
  • I ate a brightly covered cookie and had a crazy allergic reaction. Must remember food rules are different here!
  • Dude asked me for a light for his doobie as he left the Disney film. Medical marijuana dispensaries are everywhere and I think it’s a great idea. Why are we throwing people in jail for a weed?!
  • Today I learnt you see LA cops at the green juice spot not the donut store.
  • I just said store – I must not come home with that weird mid Atlantic lingo or accent – am ordering myself
  • Goodbye LA you are beautiful – I will be back.

Spas and culture

I had a jam packed day and am almost over my jetlag. More thoughts on the USA.

  • Today I went to the Korean spa and was naked with lots of women. Women should be naked with lots of women. Young and old. Large and skin and bones. The sauna had a tv showing advertising in it – I imagined my Scandinavian friends fainting at the thought. I lament the disappearance of pubic hair. Having a naked oil massage on a plastic bed is dangerous people.
  • In a big city you get to visit so many other places. We visited china, Japan, Korea and Mexico today. One word churros. Who knew you can buy dumplings with soup in the middle?
  • You realise you listened to way to much west coast hiphop growing up when you are constantly recognising Crenshaw boulevard, inglewood and la county jail like others recognise Big Ben.
  • It’s not unusual for postpartum doulas to be filmed while working in the US by the parents or asked to have vaccines
  • Still bowled over by the level of manners
  • LA has some amazing historical buildings – seriously God loves me once upon a time my host was a tour guide
  • Guiditta is running an amazing foundation here giving free doula support to vulnerable women. Can you help her in anyway? Please donate – this is vital http://www.joyinbirthingfoundation.org/donate.html

Thoughts on my trip to america

I’m on an epic trip across the states to hang out with some of my dearest friends and wanted to gather my thoughts as it’s such an interesting time to visit. Hoping to post every day or so.

  • Halal really is the best option on a flight, in hospital, in jail – I felt so happy eating my spinach and paneer with chapati while everyone else ate something that looked like flavoured plastic in gravy
  • All my flight crew were 55 plus which meant I felt like a set of grandmothers were looking after me – way to go America with not discriminating on that 
  • Said grandmothers definately turned a little frosty after delivering my “special” meal through gritted teeth
  • Snowden is a great movie – maybe don’t watch it on a flight to the states
  • So grateful for my essential oils and my rebozo shield from the man in front of me who had BAD gas
  • First class passengers get an extra strap – worth the extra thousand dollars?
  • Too much grilling, fingerprinting, photographing for my liking – homeland security now own my photo and prints 
  • Watched in horror as I was stamped and waved through easily and every Asian and melanin shaded person got a double grilling
  • Last night I experienced the opulence of LA when I saw a yacht that had a helicopter on top
  • So far everyone is super polite and happy 
  • I love Mexican food – expect a chubbier version of me on my return 
  • Am grateful for my host and all she does for mothers and babies – what would we do without the birthkeepers? They are vital to changing the state of play by facilitating that love relationship
  • Corn syrup is the first ingredient in most baby formula here 
  • If you really want to know someone visit them in their home – it’s just so special to see all their things and experience that energy 

burkinis or bikinis?

I was asked for my thoughts on the burkini debate and got on a roll – i thought it might be useful to share it


“…..yes….we have a problem don’t we! being forced to strip by the religious police of france is a big statement as to where europe (and much of the western world) is going with this demonisation of muslims that is going on


for me i am reminded of the women who had their heads shaved for daring to love a nazi soldier…..zaynab and her caravan of women and children having their clothes torn from them as they were walked from iraq to damascus in the sun ….mary magdelene being marketed as a prostitute by the male version of christianity….the midwives and witches being called whores because they could survive without men and very often did ….i think on the whole muslim women are searching for peace and love and God and trying hard to be charitable with their acts and their goods for the sake of Her and that is why they are being demonised in that same vein…


for me a woman should always have choice and indeed many of the major religions (including the religion of secularism) have this at their core so why we should now be saying you should dress any kind of certain way – even in the quran it tells us over and again there is no compulsion in religion – covering is a choice that some make and some do not….i think we should all be free to dance along the beach in our thong or swish along it in our burka as long as that is our choice..the debate should come in about what might be better for us!


do they really believe that banning a certain way of dressing is going to decrease terror attacks? how many of these terror attacks are actually carried out by women? i’m betting under 1% – as my dear mentor mama tells me all the time we need to start saying male-based violence for ALL of these things….i might suggest that this sort behaviour does little but fan the flames…


i might add that i’m equally appalled at religious police in other countries that force women to cover up and demonise those that don’t – this goes both ways for me


can we also imagine for a moment if a policeman in iran for example came down on a nun like this and made her remove her habit?! i believe such an act would start a war…that nun is wearing that outfit for the very same reason that this woman had her burkini on because they want to live the tradition of mary (peace be upon her) – what on earth is wrong with that?!


we need muslims women’s voices on this issue of course but i am so buoyed by voices of those women that are from other walks of life – it’s a sign to me of how women are coming together to support and grow and protect one another and it is truly a beautiful thing to behold


for me this is an issue for all women. if we ignore this we go back to the days of men having ultimate control of women. we still have so far to go – let us not step backwards at this point in the worlds history…”


This debate for me is indicative of the stories i face daily with the women that i work with of being forced under duress and “law” to carry out humiliating tasks they would never choose that damage the fabric of their life forever.


feminists, tribes and complete w@$%ers


i woke up this morning fairly peaceful – drinking my tea and catching up on the world i came across the news article that RooshV (google him i WILL NOT be linking to his site in any way and increasing his traffic!) is organising a tribal meeting for men who subscribe to his views this saturday at 8pm in two venues in scotland but also elsewhere in the world. they are meeting in a public place and going off to a secret meeting place.

“…any women attempting to come along will be filmed with footage sent to his worldwide “anti-feminist” network who will then “exact furious retribution”……” read more about it in the article i saw in the national here .  this to me is like a red rag to a bull – of course we have to go and make sure this doesn’t happen. i wonder what that furious retribution is? why not make this threat to any man that might come along too? its not surprising that this threat was directed at women is it? this is a man who believes that rape on private property should be decriminalised. furious retribution from a man who is famous for talking about legalising rape intimates they will be raped or subjected to some kind of sexual violence – even by words on the internet.  i have three women in my family who have been raped – two of them more than once – all on private property – every time it was non-consensual sexual violence – every time they were hurt and damaged beyond belief – every time this will impact their life and those they love forever – every time all our hearts tore apart.  rape is NEVER justified and should NEVER be encouraged and ANYONE that is supporting him is a potential rapist or enabler – we must go to these meeting points as women AND men and object and protest and be heard. sexual violence is very, very common and on the increase – lets change that.

i admit i went to his website to gather further information – he puts his points across very eloquently and articulately under the guise of rebuilding and healing the fabric of our society that has been so damaged by feminism. i read carefully the post entitled “do not have sex with feminists” including comments on how its just like not picking up fat women (for fucks sake!!!!) and how to rid yourself of a feminist if you come across them in a bar or nightclub (which interestingly he suggests you shouldn’t be picking women up in anyway) – i was particularly taken by the advice that if a woman says to you as a man if you believe in equality you are a feminist your response should be lol i don’t talk to feminists and you immediately turn your back on her. i’d like to see how this one goes down in glasgow on saturday night – please do let me know if you hear about the ensuing woman on man horrible violence that is sure to follow this behaviour! guess what rooshV? feminists generally don’t actually want to have sex with misogynistic rape-friendly wankers so i think you’ll all be safe. there was however one woman commenting asking if she could come along to the all male meeting – i like to think she’s going to let off teargas or something but i fear it may be that she has some issues she needs to work through.

i am so angry and what better thing to do with that anger than use the energy. so i wrote this and i call you all to join me at Glasgow’s George Square or Edinburgh’s Grassmarket or wherever it may be in your local city that men are gathering at 8pm to go off to their tribal meeting (don’t even get me started on the term tribal!), contact the police, call your MP’s office, do whatever you can and let your voice be heard. we really need to hear mens voices on this too – we need men to be really vocal in saying they don’t want this for their gender, for their partners, sisters, mothers and daughters. lets shut this down before its even started.

2015 in review


96 countries – that makes me so happy – we are literally changing the world with gentle birth.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Weekend babies on the NHS


I woke up this morning and as is my habit, tuned into LBC.  I like to keep up with what the great British public are thinking about and medicate my homesickness for London.  This mornings birth news story was repeated over and over again. A discussion began about what can make birth safer. I asked a non-birth world friend (already a parent three times over) how they would feel if they were having a baby now and they came across this article “……frightened….like I would want to do the impossible and try and keep the baby in if it was coming on the weekend……” of course – this is a reasonable response to hearing that one in six baby deaths during birth at the weekend in England could be avoided.  Tuesday is the safest day.  So what will happen now with parents?

Tuesdays will be over run and I can imagine many women deciding not to turn up at the weekend if they can avoid it and maybe if they can’t too.  Not turning up when they are worried about their baby, not wanting to have an induction on a Friday, if they burst their amniotic sac of fluid, if they would ordinarily be ready but staying home that extra night in fear.  Fear we know is an adrenalin producer. Adrenalin we know is a direct inhibitor of oxytocin which is our love hormone.  Physiologically we need oxytocin to make our cells contract to open the womb for our baby to get out.  We are designed so well – this means if something frightening happens we can stop giving birth and deal with it.  It’s troublesome to not be able to produce it in abundance because you are freaking out your baby is coming on a Saturday night.

This was no small study – it can be found in its entirety here.  Imperial college London analysed 1.3 million births and found that babies were 7% more likely to die during birth or in the first week of life if born on a Saturday or Sunday. Infections after birth were 6% higher and the chance of the baby suffering an injury was also 6% higher.  Researchers found clear evidence of poor care and this was not due to a lack of senior doctors either.

So what can we do as mothers and fathers to counterbalance this?  Carefully considering your place of birth is a really good place to start.  What will be safest for you? Where will you feel safest? What is their reputation? You can often find feedback sections for maternity units on their websites and we are also in the fortunate position that we have an independent organisation that collates figures and facts called Which? You can find them here. The Birthplace Study has found that home and birth centres are generally safest for most women – even high risk – you can read more about that here.  My experience supporting at births over the years reflects this.  At home you have two midwives dedicated to caring for you and your baby and they can go nowhere else – they are with you constantly once you call.  We imagine that labour wards with doctors, equipment, theatres and medication will solve all manner of ills and there is no doubt at all that they can be very useful when needed but with all of those technologies come a further degree of risk – seemingly we are frequently introducing this risk to women and babies without having the staff to monitor as closely as needed or indeed the capacity for surgery that is needed once those higher risks manifest.

Also thinking about who you may choose to have with you can make a real difference. Having another woman with you who has given birth before has been known to greatly reduce risk. It significantly reduces the chance of c-section, instrumental delivery, induction, epidural and ups the chances of breastfeeding – this all lowers risk considerably.  Have a look at this piece of research here. I had my sister with me for my babies but this may also be your yoga teacher or someone who does this professionally like a doula. You can read more about doulas and find one near you here.  Doulas are fantastic at lowering risk. Why? They are on constant watch to make sure you have all that you need and sometimes its the doula who spots the clinical risk when the professionals haven’t. This is a very controversial issue as it is most definitely out of their scope of practice but what are you supposed to do when you can see blood pooling under an increasingly pale woman and the midwife is tapping away on the computer in the corner? When you see your maternity notes being handed to another woman who’s going in for her antenatal appointment? When a woman is convinced she is having a stroke and no one is listening to her? (I spoke with three midwives before a doctor arrived about 45 minutes later to check out the patient) When a baby is actually coming out and both mum and dad are saying this and the midwife is still asking who the GP is whilst again tapping information into a computer while dad is shocked and trying to catch? (in this case mum was a doctor). When syntocinon (a hard-hitting synthetic version of the  hormone associated with greater risk) is clearly going into a womans tissues rather than her blood supply and her hand is swelling and swelling? These are all real life situations I have personally witnessed and I could go on before I even begin to add in all the others I have heard of as a mentor.  This isn’t an attack on midwives and doctors – I’ve seen and know many who do a fabulous job at doing their absolute best to keep everyone safe and loved.  It seems to me that these over sights are often the result of a HUGE amount of bureaucracy and policies and procedures and machinery to read and attend to before you can fully concentrate on the mother.  We know that their is a problem with listening – this article here helps you to understand that. We are currently spending millions in the NHS on the Compassionate Listening programme. Alongside serious staffing issues which are clearly much more to do with not funding enough midwifery posts to deliver the standard of care that keeps everyone safe and supported including the midwives and much less to do with a shortage of midwives.

Something needs to change. My first thoughts when I heard this headline this morning were that this would generate a whole lot of unhelpful fear and stress. With some reflection I think what it also does is open up the discussion that when we are overworked and over stressed we cannot work safely and we need to be having that discussion over and over until something changes. It’s just the human condition. Now this is out in the open we can begin walking towards change one step at a time keeping mothers, babies and staff loved, safe and happy.

nicola mahdiyyah goodall is a revert muslim who grew up with hip hop based in edinburgh, scotland and london, england. she works with women trying and mainly succeeding to build circles of knowledge and community primarily with birth. read more about her and find out how to access her services here. she is now also part of a new doula collective in london called birth in the city launching 2016 – watch this space!

she is also the director of wysewomen publishing and facilitates wysewomen workshops and red tent doula courses.