We sat down with Nickita Starck, founder of World Council for Health Coalition Partner When Push Comes to Shove, to learn more about the organization.

When Push Comes to Shove is a maternity service specializing in birth physiology and birthrights. Based in the UK and available in five countries (and counting), it offers birth education and advocacy for midwives, doulas, birth keepers, and families.

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What inspired you to launch When Push Comes to Shove?

Two things. When I had my first baby 13 years ago, I was induced and it was traumatic. I had no education about birth at the time and no idea that I could say no. I could see this was a common experience, and that started my path to becoming a birth keeper. Recently, the group of independent midwives I work with lost their insurance and I thought, this can’t happen! Many women need independent midwives because they’re being refused care on the NHS or because they don’t know their rights. So I set out to raise awareness and also the money needed for an indemnity product. That’s when I launched When Push Comes To Shove.  

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m writing a book with my mentor Beverly Beech about how to survive the pandemic during pregnancy in terms of understanding your rights. I’m also training doulas and birth keepers, and I’ve just created something called the Midwife Lifeboat. Thousands of NHS staff will lose their jobs in April because they don’t want to comply with the vaccine mandate. I’m trying to give midwives a lifeline by inviting them to train and then work with us as birth keepers. The training offers a new perspective: not pathologising the body but trusting it instead. They receive 55% discount on the training and then free membership. Also, since they’re used to a salary, we help them change their relationship with money, understanding that money is a transaction of love and they can manifest what they want. 

What’s your business model? 

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I’m trying to create the most ethical business model possible. Everyone has different financial circumstances and not everyone can afford a birth keeper. That’s why I set up an access fund: if a birth keeper gets a job through us, they have to donate 10% of the fee to the access fund. Again, it’s a transaction of love: they should be able to do something they love and we should be able to serve whoever we can.

What advice would you give someone thinking of starting their own project? 

Get out of your head and stay in your heart. If you focus on your passion, you can’t fail. 

What do you do to stay positive each day? 

I appreciate what I have: my beautiful family. I’m also very humbled by the beautiful comments and emails I receive, and I just get excited for what’s possible. 

Why is your work so important right now? 

Because there is a shift happening. If women understand their power – they pass a human being through a portal in their body, how amazing is that – then they’ll start to ask what else they’re capable of. That’s why I always say peace on Earth begins at birth. 

Any book or film recommendations?  

The Business of Being Born, a documentary by Ricki Lake. Also, Push, an award-winning short film by my friend. It’s a satire that compares sex with how women are treated during labour and it’s really funny.  

Learn more about When Push Comes to Shove on their website and watch Nickita speak about When Push Comes to Shove in this clip from our general assembly meeting on November 29, 2021:

when push comes to shove logo

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One Comment

  1. As a retired midwife, I love Nickita’s message!
    A midwife honours, while protecting each woman’s experience.
    However, as Nickita reflects, over the decades, there has been a push away from midwifery based care, to sadly, normalising inductions and cesareans.
    A healthy and joyous birth is key for physical and mental wellbeing – a pivotal start for a new life entering the world and for the person mothering that new being
    Our senior midwifery educator – a superb elderly midwife with a heart full of birthing experience for nearly fifty years, had passion for women’s power and warned us of the coming of “daylight obstetrics” due to the preference for daylight deliveries under the guise of “concerns” and “caution”.
    She added, “Midwives, be vigilant, stand up, speak out, for all your women and their babies in your care………..beware a midwifery takeover by stealth, from the encroaching misuse of drugs and an ever-expanding obstetrics department.”
    Oh how right she was.
    Nickita’s business while both timely and necessary, is sure to strike a primordial note in the heart of birthing women.

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