Melissa Bruijn BA (UQ)
In her ‘previous life’ she ran a successful Early Childhood Music business, and was a Finalist in the Quest Newspaper’s Small Business Awards. She was Music Director for many of South Bank Parkland’s family festivals, including the annual Christmas Festival.
She had her own musical compositions performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and Monica Trapaga, and performed alongside the QSO, the Queensland Youth Orchestra, and the Queensland Percussion Virtuosi.
Just prior to her first child’s birth, she was Music Licensing Supervisor at EMI Music/Virgin Records in Sydney, Australia, where she was responsible for the licensing of music for advertisements, movies, and TV shows.
After her first birth, a traumatic experience that ended in a caesarean, Melissa slowly realized that she was not ‘ok’…and found that few people understood what she was going through. Debby, her sister-in-law was a midwifery student at the time, planting various ‘seeds’ and provided a shoulder to cry on, but it took another two and a half years until Melissa realized how heavily her birth had impacted upon her…and that she was not the only one.
Using tools garnered from her Psychology studies at University and beyond, she embarked upon a roller-coaster ride of reading, researching, and soul-searching that was marked by tears, intense anger, feelings of failure, discovery of strengths, new insights, glimmers of hope…and finally, healing. She was supported on this journey by Debby, who shared ideas and information that gave the healing she was experiencing new meaning and depth.
And then, Melissa’s business skills partnered with Debby’s midwifery instincts and their shared determination that there was a better way for women to experience birth and its aftermath. And Birthtalk was born.
Since then, she has been providing a voice for women traumatized from their births alongside Debby, writing articles for national journals and magazines such as Birth Matters and Down to Birth, and has been interviewed for national radio, newspapers and television programmes on the issues of Birth Trauma.
Melissa was heavily involved in Birthalk’s seminar “Moving On From a Challenging Birth” in 2006, where she and Debby presented alongside Dr Sarah Buckley and other eminent speakers. She is a co-founder of the Caesarean Awareness Network Australia (CANA) and a member of Postpartum Support International. She has written articles for Birth Trauma Truths, Birthtalk.org’s blog, and recently co-wrote, with Debby, a chapter about Birth Trauma, in Birth Journeys – a new book sharing a series of women’s stories, with insights from various birth experts.
Melissa has gone on to have two more babies. Both of these births were empowering, positive experiences – both VBAC births, her second one a beautiful waterbirth.
Melissa lives in Brisbane with her husband and three children.