Denise Love
Founder
My Philosophy

I know that kindness is the essence of life

I know that being of service enhances your life

I know that the way we are born has a huge impact on the way we live our lives, and the way we die.  

I know that death is not the enemy, not living life is. 

I know that life is precious and can be very short. 

I also know that usually the biggest thing holding us back is ourselves- FEAR

As a Circle-of-Life Doula I stand beside people and encourage them to live their lives their way.  Move beyond your parents expectations.  Love and respect them, but you don't have to live their dreams.  

I know that how we are born matters and has a huge impact on our lives.  I know that LOVE can heal all.  

Deep inside most women there is an innate knowledge and understanding about how to surrender to birth.  I come with an attitude of undisturbed birth, but also a working knowledge of hospital birth in different cultures and protocols.  My openness to serve women, wherever they choose to birth their children, offers a wide variety of options. I have supported many women at home, in hospital and through "Women-Centred C-Section" or "Family-Centred C-Section. I never judge a choice or outcome. It is my place to serve I expect birth to work, and have the knowledge and skill to understand your limits and the limits of women I serve. 

I am fascinated by the first and last breath.  I have been serving dying people for most of my life.  I run and in home, hospice or Death Doula Service and believe in cost effective green end-of-life choices.  I am comfortable with the choice to die when ever that is without treatment or people taking their own lives.  I can refer you to people with skill in the use of medical cannabis.

I believe in each and every one of you.

Working as a Doula, in birth or death is a huge opportunity to learn, serve and grow.

Many years ago I started an organisation called LifeOptions.  I was concerned that too many people in the world didn't have choices, or maybe the capacity to make the choice that was right for them  at the time.  As a Regisitered Nurse in Australia, I began my journey in healing.  Healing mind, body, and spirit.  Working on myself and others who sought my thoughts and knowledge, medicine mixed with the power of the mind, I became intensely interested in the way we enter the world, the way our lives unfold (intentionally or by accident) and how we leave the earth.  I am fascinated by the human spirit, and work towards peace on earth.  

 

I am an activest for undisturbed birth, the right to live your life as you choose, and for loving support as your life on earth comes to a close; the complete circle of life!

 

I share my life with Gary Love. I have been married for more than 40 years, after knowing him for 12 weeks.  He is my rock, and supports the work I do in so many ways.  We have 2 amazing grown up children and 2 granddaughters.  I sat with my daughter as she birthed her children - an honour and a privilege.  Nothing is more sacred than being with a daughter as she transitions into motherhood.

 

I have been facilitating learning for Doulas for the past 18 years in a variety of countries, both in rural and city settings. 

 

I have been living and working in remote rural Cambodia for the past 5 years.  As a Registered Nurse, I use those skills in general health, and stand beside amazingly courageous midwives, who work unassisted, without medical back up.  Women are amazing.  Birth works if we let it! 

 

I have a non-profit  organisation which supports projects in Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal and Mynmar and any money that is generated through Doula Training supports the extraordinary midwives I work with in bringing safe birth to the women in remote villages in Cambodia.

 

 

Gary Love
Co Founder
 

Gary Love is one mighty human who is

capable of walking this crazy adventure

with me.

 

We have been married for a huge amount

of time after a 12 week romance, and we continue to get to know each other to this day. 

Gary spent his professional life as a Chemical Engineer, and then a CEO of numerous countries.  He has driven from house to house when I am exhausted, slept in many cars waiting for me, shared his home with labouring women and picked me and sick clients up off the floor at times,  Bathed people with me, and generally willing to do whatever it takes to serve out community we are in at the time.  

He claims he is not a natural carer, but I am so blessed he cares for me as I am doing my role in being present for others, through their lives adventures, rites of passages and death.  

His curret role and capacity to manage the marketing and contact with our clients is endless and you will hear from him when you enquire wither for a Doula or to do a course. 

all inquires to gazzalove@gmail.com

Annie Whitlocke
Pet Death Doula Training
 

Annie is the Course Facilitator and you will get

Denise Love's Life's Learnings in your readings as

home work.

Annie wears many hats as you can see at the

end of this introduction, but they are yet a few.

In an early life Annie was a Vet nurse, wife, and still a mother, grandmother and great grandmother.  Annie is a passionate loving person with a growing family of 5 dogs with various life challenging bodies.  Most require special devices to walk, lifts and nappies......go Annie.

I am delighted to have her as a team member to share not only her extensive skills, deep inner knowledge and understanding of life, but her passions and compassion to walk along side dying, being with death animals, their owners, and anybody who might be dying.

She is an experienced pet carer, patient and creative end-of-life advocate.  She is experienced in managing bodies after death and ceremony.  She is an all round package to walk the path of life with anybody and their pets. Annie had had pets from an ant farm, rabbits, snake, blue tongue lizard, bird, fish, dogs and cats.  

 

What  she can assist you with:

As an end-of-life advocate my role is to smooth the sometimes frenetic and highly emotional stage of end of life for family, pets, loved ones and the person at end of life.

If appropriate I help to get into place essential legal documents such as Advance Care Directive, Medical Treatment Decision Maker, Instructional Directive etc.  I can assist to make plans for your pets death, disposal of their body and ceremony.

Engage in compassionate open talks about the things that are important to the person at EOL. Do they want to die at home, what do they want to be done with their body?  Donate to Melbourne University, cremate or  burial. Natural burial, shroud etc.  Are you clear about Green death burial and cremation?

Assist in setting up personal room nursing home so as to resemble home and lessen the anxiety that is so often felt.

I often liaise with health allied team on behalf of person at end of life and if required i can accompany to medical appointments. Assist with sharing my knowledge and network in working out Centrelink, ACAT, funeral options and encourage community involvement for the final memorial and funeral. 

I am experienced in washing the body in a ritual or ceremonial manner, depending on person’s preferences.

Once the dialogue begins, people become less challenged and more creative. Especially when they learn how much control they have.

 

A sense of humour, patience and non judgmental attitude are, to me, essential skills. For loved ones to be as much a part, or as little,  of this as possible is my wish. You may phone me and we can talk about your concerns, your fears and your ideas. Most of my work is through referral and I do not advertise.

Ask me about...:

  • Independent Funeral Celebrant Training - (The Celebrants Training College), 

  • Digging Deeper After Death 5 day Intensive (Natural Grace), 

  • Death Doula (Denise Love), 

  • Advanced Death Doula training (Denise Love), 

  • Deathwalker (Natural Death Care Centre) , 

  • CERT IV in Celebrancy CHC41015, 

  • Understanding Death and Caring for the Dying Spiritual Care Programme Australia, Spiritual Care Training Spiritual Health Victor, Clinical Pastoral.  Education at Monash Hospital, Victoria

  • Palliative Care Liason Co-ordinator for the Buddies Council of Victoria

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Barb Ferguson
CEO   Educator   Doula Mentor
So who is Doulabarb  .....
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I like to start this part of the story with in a

former life I was an accountant and as there

are only 2 certainties in life that’s death and

taxes working with Death is a natural follow

on career to accounting.

Like all of us my whole life was a precursor to finding and following my heart work as a doula, I was blessed with so many experiences along the way putting it in place piece by piece. My path into doula training was as a birth doula, it was during this training though that I realised quickly that I was unprepared should I be asked to support a family through miscarriage, stillbirth or neo natal death this is when my world collided with Denise Love.

Denise became my mentor and we soon worked together when Denise’s schedule took her out of the country and families needed a presence, as Denise has mentioned I’m Hyper-mobile with a grown family of 3 around Melbourne and Amsterdam your never sure where I will pop up.

Personally,  I’ve enjoyed so many opportunities through my life to engage in personal development, leadership training and of course any training that pops up in relation to doula work so my ability to handle many different situations is often sought out.

Soon after my birth doula training I became a volunteer with Birth for Humankind in Melbourne, Australia this organisation supports women from diverse backgrounds navigate the Australian health system so it’s been my privilege to support over 60 families welcome their babies earthside, when I started embracing my death doula work I would often be at a birth and death in quick succession and realised how close both events are in dynamics, the more you trust a birthing mother to know her body and baby the more you see similarities in death work.

I offer my families a calm presence and can maintain strong boundaries without families being aware, so that they feel very supported during our encounter,to this end I’ve also gained lifelong supporters of my work and feel comfortable that when there is a need the support will be at hand.

I’ve relished opportunities to share my knowledge in the past and joined Denise on many occasions whilst she shared her teachings, so when Denise was recently incapacitated I nervously stepped up and facilitated her weekend training.

The world of death and similarly birth has been taken out of the homes, medicalised and placed in the shadows I feel, like Denise that an important part of our work is to sing about how natural and beautiful death and birth can be, to remove the fear and embrace the beauty of home care, vigils and family led funerals and gatherings to offer options that encourage families to embrace one another and move with death/ birth rather than against.

I look forward to sharing this with you all in the future and thank Denise and Gary for the welcome into the LifeOptions family and for all the pioneering work done by them both to create a wonderful legacy (still in progress) in the Doula world.

Ruth Boydell
Course Facilitator
End of Life Educator and Doula
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“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness”

Thich Naht Hahn

I ran away to sea at 17, and began my adult life as a cruising yachtswoman. More than a love of sailing I loved the community I belonged to. I felt connected to people, sailors and landlubbers, all over the world. That was my longing, and belonging.

I spent about 12 years sailing others’ boats and then my own. It held a lot of joy, and loneliness, both. Although I spent much of the time very present to sea and weather conditions, I never felt in any significant danger. That is not to say I wasn’t ever in some dangerous conditions. I just never experience my mortality. I loved the space, the freedom and feeling so very small in a large universe. There is a saying, there is no such thing as an atheist at sea. I began a long spiritual search.

When I returned to Australia I was offered a job teaching sailing at a large charter and sailing school. That was fun and demanding too. I learned patience and understanding we all see things differently.

I felt the need to stay connected with my friends so I started a magazine for women on the water Sistership ( https://issuu.com/sistershipmagazine/docs/sistership_1988_issue_1 ) I knew and know there are a lot of women on the water who were not spoken of or to.

In my travels trying to market the magazine I was offered a teaching position at TAFE NSW in the Maritime Studies department. I wasn’t a very good self marketer, so I took up the offer with TAFE. I taught a lot of men and a small group of women their commercial marine skills for over 25 years.

In the meantime I began a relationship with a woman, finding myself challenged to understand my sexuality. She and I birthed and co-parented a child each. We shared a relationship for 14 years. My children are now young adults.

After leaving that relationship I had the opportunity to visit East Timor for several weeks during their early days of independence. It was a profoundly moving experience. The village would not let me depart until I had been sung to and allowed to cry for my grief and loss of my relationship with them, brief as it was, but also I cried for the changes in my  life, for the loss of my relationship, for the relief of that loss, and for gratitude I held for that village. They understood what grief is and they helped me grieve.

I continued to search for my spiritual selfhood.  

I took up with a man, Dave, an intensive care paramedic, who was struggling with life. We enjoyed many adventures together, including sailing from Fremantle to Newcastle. We freedived in Dean’s Blue Hole, the Bahamas. We dived into personal development courses together. We shared a soul connection. We married in 2017.

My very last Maritime teaching experience was very stressful. I had gone to teach a specialised course at the University of Tasmania, for which I given little actual support, on top of the stress that Dave was unwell with PTSD and depression and alcohol abuse, and had come to Tasmania with me.

On our way home I had a very severe painful episode of trigeminal neuralgia (which I have suffered intermittently for 30 years). Dave, the paramedic, thought I had had a stroke, as I seemed to be in a full dementia, but it was subsequently diagnosed as Transient Global Amnesia. I do not remember anything of those 4 hours I lost in Melbourne airport. I do remember coming back into my body, pain gone, in the Sunshine hospital. I had the profound feeling I been taken somewhere. I felt my mortality deeply. I came out of that experience feeling death is not the worst thing. In fact I experienced the bliss of knowing death is not the end. 

I believe I had been asked to look at my own life and reassess. A month later my son had an investigative brain surgery (all clear). I really was called to explore what is at the end of life.

A month after that I found Denise’s Death Doula training in my area. I went not sure what I would discover. I was so moved by the course I took Dave to the following class. We both attended the Advanced course. One of the questions Denise asks of us is what is on our bucket list? The item most important for me then was to sing. I now sing in a Threshold choir, singing for people undergoing life transitions.

I have been studying and practicing in the doula role since 2017. I also trained as a spiritual pastoral care practitioner in both the hospital and hospice setting. This has given me insight into the challenges and benefits of the medical system. A trip to hospital changes lives.

I believe we doulas can listen deeply to each other’s and our clients’ stories and provide a vital role in accompanying people to their end of life.  I host a regular online Death Café to share conversation about anything to do with death and dying.

Since Dave’s death in 2019 I have worked as a disability support worker in the area of mental health. I have gained insights into this growing area of support. I now reserve part of my home for people who need support at the end of life. It is a palliative retreat, CareB&B.

I look forward to meeting, sharing and teaching you. This is an amazing voyage into who we are at Source and how we can serve others navigating their ends of life. It is such a privilege.

 

My Qualifications

Bachelor of Adult Education (UTS)

Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (AITT)

DeathWalker (Zenith Virago)

Doula Training (Preparing the Way)

Doula, Advanced Doula (LifeOptions)

Graduate Certificate in the Arts (Sydney College of Divinity)

Hatha Yoga Teacher Training (Swami Sarasvati)

LGBTI Aged Care Training (Silver Rainbow)

Mental Health First Aid (MHFAA)

Mindfulness and Awareness in End of Life Care (Spiritual Care Australia) 

Statement of Attainment in Mentoring (TAFE NSW)

Yachtmaster, Master Class IV, DeckWatchkeeper (AMSA)

My Training
Denise Love
Doula

28 years working as a Birth Doula

18 years working as Death Doula

Nursing

I have been nursing since I was 17 and still use my clinical skills in Cambodia

Maters in Nursing  1999

UTS, Australia

Hypnotherapist and Counsellor

I have been working as a life counsellor for 20 years  under the banner of "Live the Life YOU Choose" and added Hypnotherapy to my skills in 2009; an effective skill to release old beliefs, and establish new thought processes to move forward. 

 

Birth Hynosis is a powerful tool to move beyond old beliefs, fears and barriers to birthing your baby peacefully and consciously

 

Hypnosis in the end-of-life is a powerful tool to manage, discomfort, fear and pain..  Helps to face "loss of a dream", and for grieving family and friends .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doula Workshop Facilitator

20 years.  I have  been developing Doula Training  courses suitable for many different countries and literacy levels, within the capacity of the enviornment with birth and death and every

Breastfeeding Consultant

20 years

Diploma of Childbirth Education

Parents Centres Australia  1984