Four Trimesters Birth Sanctuary
PURE INTENT | Shifting the Paradigm of Birth
VISION | Empowering Women through Childbirth
MISSION STATEMENT | You deserve the Birth YOU Desire
Doulaing with a warm heart because birth matters.
1. Creating a Greener Eco-System to support women and their families through pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
2. Reconnect women with their innate ability to give birth by cutting out the noise that gets into the way
3. Empowering Birth Experience
4. Promote mother-baby bonding
We help parents access and understand the most current and important information regarding labor, delivery, and caring for a newborn so they can confidently make informed decisions. It’s about parents looking back on the birth of their babies, with a sense of satisfaction, feeling that they had the best birth experience for them no matter the path it takes. We promote mother-baby bonding postpartum and we encourage parents to strengthen their relationship to handle the stressors of parenthood more easily. After all, the birth of a baby also marks the birth of a mother and a father.
The doulas at Four Trimesters Birth Sanctuary nurture the continuum from conception to parenting. During pregnancy, we assist you in finding information to support the kind of birth that you want and help you work towards that experience. During labor, we support you in each and every one of your choices. Our doulas serve from the heart, supporting mothers eye-to-eye, breath-to-breath, heart-to-heart, serving and supporting mothers and their families through this magical time. During the early postpartum period, your team of doulas will be there to support your transition into parenthood.
We thrive to leave a legacy for our women, and our children, one birth at a time.
History of Four Trimesters
Introduced water births at National University Hospital and Mount Alvernia Hospital.
Started home births with Dr. Lai Fon-Min
First and only DONA Birth Doula Trainer & HypnoBirthing Trainer in Singapore.
Women’s Weekly Woman of the Year Nominee
First & only DONA Postpartum Doula Trainer in Singapore
Four Trimesters Team: Started training Doulas to work with Four Trimesters.
WHO Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Singapore National Co-ordinator (2011 – 2013)
Ginny Phang-Davey has been a doula since 2003 and has supported over 1,000 births. She has taught countless antenatal classes to thousands of couples, both in Singapore and the Southeast Asia region. Her extensive experience as a doula includes working with:
- Vaginal births (with/without pain relief & hypnosis for childbirth)
- VBAC & VBA2C
- Vaginal breech births
- Vaginal twin births
- First-time multiple births
- Water births
- Home births
- International clients from Malaysia to Malawi
Since she began her classes in Singapore in July 2005, more than 80% of her clients have had drug-free births and have learned to breastfeed successfully. Ginny believes in enriching a woman’s childbirth experience, supporting couples by empowering them to make informed choices, and helping them to achieve the best possible birth experience.
I only want to open the way to insight, acting as its midwife:
it is up to every person to give birth.
– Deepak Chopra
She was trained under birth legends such as Penny Simkin, founder of Doulas of North America (DONA) and author of several childbirth books and Marie Mongan, founder of the HypnoBirthing® Institute. Ginny is a an approved Spinning Babies® Trainer as well as a DONA Birth and Postpartum Doula Trainer with DONA International in the United States. She is also certified as a HypnoFertility Therapist, HypnoBirthing® Practitioner, Advanced Hypnotherapist, Master Neurostrategist, Gottman’s “Bringing Baby Home” Educator and is a Childbirth Educator. Most recently, she became one of only six Spinning Babies trainers in the world where she travels annually for her teaching tours around the region to healthcare professionals. As a trainer, she stays updated with best practices and evidence-based care.
She is currently studying as a student midwife and training to be a certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) which she plans to complete and certify for both by 2020.
Experience and Accolades
In 2006, she facilitated the first waterbirths in Singapore. Various hospitals and organizations have invited Ginny to give talks and workshops based on her expertise. In 2007, she was invited by the Singapore International Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology to speak about the role of doulas for expectant parents, working together as a team, and waterbirthing. She was also a regular speaker for prenatal yoga teacher training certification courses.
From 2011 to mid-2013, she took on the role of the National Coordinator for the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative where she was instrumental in working with the national committee, hospitals and community in facilitating hospitals to move towards WHO Baby Friendly accreditation. She currently works in conjunction with Dr. Lai Fon-Min at A Company For Women to improve the options for women giving birth in Singapore through providing real choices and compassionate care.
She was nominated for Women’s Weekly magazine’s “Woman of the Year Award” under the education section for recognition of her work as a doula. The media – from print to screen – has spotlighted Ginny and her services time and again. She has been featured in over a hundred publications, including dailies like The Straits Times and magazines like Today’s Parents, Singapore Women’s Weekly and Motherhood. In 2008, TIME magazine sought out a quote from Ginny in the article, The Labor Market. Ginny has been featured on Channel News Asia, the local media and online TV. She was featured for her journey to become a doula in the book
The Art of Work, by Jeff Goins. Her most popular feature is her TEDx Singapore talk in Dec 2010.
The following is the autobiography of Ginny Phang-Davey’s journey as an unwed mother and a doula. Ginny is now happily married and parents her teenager with her husband, together with their house-filled with pets.
When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be both a dancer and a businesswoman. I was 10 years old when my neighbour told me that I had the potential to be a good radio Deejay and I believed her. At 13, I thought I would make a good counsellor because friends seem to confide their problems to me. Never did I anticipate that there would come a day when I would be all of the above and even more. I simply am.
The first time I heard the word ‘doula’ was from a colleague. Her boyfriend’s sister was expecting her third child and planning to have a drug free birth with a doula. I had also wanted to have a drug-free birth, but I was dealing with too much in my life at that point in time that I did not fully explore that option.
I was pregnant at 23 years old. I chose to keep the pregnancy even though it meant becoming a single parent. I kicked myself out of the house to save my family from embarrassment because I was not married. I had not completed my education. I was unsure of what I wanted to do in life, and I did not have a job. There was nothing logical about keeping the pregnancy; however, the decision felt completely right in my heart. With my thumping gut instinct, together with signs from the Universe, I made the decision to keep the pregnancy and entered the first crossroads of my life – a step into a new world.
Like a tourist travelling in this new world, the journey of being a single parent was unknown territory. Everything… and I mean E V E R Y T H I N G was new. Like the growing baby in my belly, nothing was constant. I literally lived moment by moment. Up until today, if I were to single out the hardest period of my life, it would still have been my pregnancy. My daily mantra was “It’s you and me against this world baby” as I cried myself to sleep, waiting for the next sunrise.
Finally, I went into labor starting with the mucus plug releasing. I was planning to have a drug-free labor and was hoping to have my dearest Aunty Grace as my birth companion. She herself had two drug free births and she is my ‘human angel.’ At the start of the pregnancy when I was sitting on the balcony deciding whether to ingest the pills to start the abortion process, Aunty Grace called and asked me to flush the pills down the toilet. She cried, “I don’t know how we are going to do, but we are going to do it together. We (the family) will help you in whatever ways that we can.” That was the sign I needed to find the courage within myself to keep the pregnancy. She has been my main pillar of love and support; when everyone wavered, her love was steadfast and unchanged.
I still remember laboring at my grandparents’ apartment overlooking the city at night. The surges were coming like waves. Scared, alone and lost, I decided to go to the hospital with my mother. The whole labor was a daze – all I remember was how weak and sick I was feeling throughout and I finally succumbed to the epidural. When it came time to push, the midwife undermined my ability to push. That infuriated me enough to get me pushing on my own. I would have given birth on my own if my mother had not called the midwife after panicking upon seeing “the black black thing” crowning. It was love as first sight as I held his tiny little hands. Through the moments of perpetual darkness from the pregnancy emerged the ray of light at the end of tunnel.
What had felt like the end of my life was ironically the beginning of all the good things to come. Kieran in Irish means ‘the little dark one’ however ‘Kiran’ in Indian means a ray of light – he epitomises the balance of yin and yang. He was the compass that led me to my life’s calling.
“The deeper your sorrow, the greater your joy.” – Kahlil Gibran
Many people seem to perceive that a ‘calling’ is a destination. Based on my own personal experience, your heart acts as a compass pointing out the direction in which to move. When you make a decision to open a door, what lies ahead are many other doors. Open another door, and again there are many other doors from which you can choose. There is no good or bad decision – only a decision with its own set of consequences.
The door that I chose to open led to a new world where I sought to find a new tribe. This tribe consisted of breastfeeding mothers. I remember the first time I saw a 2.5 year old toddler breastfeeding. I was appalled! “So old and STILL breastfeeding???!!!” Who would have known then that my own son would breastfeed to the age of 6.5 years old. The mother of that toddler – Dr. Amy Chin-Atkins – became one of my good friends. She helped me produce Singapore’s first Breastfeeding Calendar for three consecutive years. She was the first Asian expat doula in Singapore and all she did was believe in me by saying “Ginny, I think you would make a good doula. And even if you don’t decide to become a doula, whatever you will learn will aid in your personal development.” That was all it took and I was sold on becoming a doula.
I still remember the night when Amy and I were brainstorming over the name of the new doula company that she was going start. The next day she called and said, “What do you think of the name Four Trimesters?” Just perfect, I said. Like a perfect newborn, Four Trimesters was born.
It wasn’t long before Amy and her family had to relocate, so the ‘renegade’ doulas and I took over Four Trimesters. I was taking on a client once every 2-3 months while balancing a full time job.
By then, I had become the ‘face’ of unwed single mothers. My family used to lie that my ‘husband’ was overseas and even before I was ready, they decided to come clean with their friends that I was an unwed mom. Knowing that nothing will change unless there is public awareness, I consented to media interviews and documentaries that featured my life as an unwed mother to raise awareness of the plight of unwed mothers in Singapore.
Riding on the same media platform, I also raised awareness of the role of a doula. From one client once every 2-3 months, I was now averaging about 1-2 clients a month. It was becoming harder and harder to take urgent leave from work to handle my work as a doula. When a photo of my son and I was a half page feature in the national newspaper, I could no longer hide the truth from my employer and had to make a decision to stay with my current full time job or to take a leap of faith into the unknown. Once again, my heart knew where it was heading. Leap I did into the second crossroads of my life.
Having gone through a crossroads before, I should already have known the depth of the dark pit in front me. I didn’t know where I was going but I trusted my gut feeling that I was doing the right ting. I used my gut as my compass once again. Barely making ends meet, I struggled to stay afloat financially. While it was incredibly hard, I was fuelled by passion. It pulled me through, one birth at a time.
“Focus on the present and the future will take care of itself.” – Paulo Ceolho
I always thought I knew how I found my calling as a doula. I even had the privilege to doula my ex-colleague’s boyfriend’s sister for the water birth of her fourth child – the same woman who first indirectly introduced me to the concept of a doula! I spent years doing personal development, from attending Anthony Robbin’s Date with Destiny, studying Neuro Linguistic Programming and Advanced Hypnosis, Imago Relationships for Singles and Couples, actively participating in Family Constellations for many years, and years and years of self-studying books on relationships, psychology, neurology and spirituality and digging deep with spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle and Caroline Myss. I eventually came to the realization that on a very deep childhood level, my role as a doula allows me to keep women and their families ‘safe.’ Safety represented a deep childhood wounding as my dad died in an accident when I was a toddler, I was molested when I was still in kindergarten, and grew up in a very dysfunctional family. Being a doula gave me the opportunity to heal by protecting women and their families and give them something so basic and essential that I never received.
“We teach what we want to learn” – Gerald G. Jampolsky
I have come to a point where I realized that running a business takes you on a very spiritual journey that is parallel to your personal growth. I am very blessed to have found my life’s calling to do what I love. I truly love and enjoy all aspects of running a business and the many opportunities that arise along the way. I am looking forward to continuing to turn my dreams into realities. I have work to do to improve maternity care in Singapore and around the world, and in doing so, I am entering the third crossroads of my life – my soul’s calling to discover my relationship with God.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” – Richard Branson
I didn’t choose love. Love chose me.
I am extremely blessed to be gifted as a ‘positive’ rebel, thriving in unexplored territories, redirecting and transforming negative energies into a force for good.
" My Philosophy for life and living "
- Ginny Phang-Davey
“The Universe conspires with you to find it.” I truly believe that everything is possible and within your reach, if you are willing to do what it takes to get there. Harness the power of the written word – write down your dreams and with time, build the storyboard of your dreams.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Let your heart be the compass and let your dreams be the light that guides you.
“Focus on the present and the future will take care of itself”
“Just Do It.” I just do what I can. If what I have left is 20%, then I strive to give you at least 80% of that 20%.
“Don’t shoot the messenger.” Every one is a teacher; learn the lessons (quickly) so you can move on.
“Empty me of me so that I can be filled with you. Let me be a channel of your Grace.” Above all, pray. Surrender it all up to God and let the divine intervene.