3 things to offer the dying – the soul midwives way

Felicity Warner, soul midwife

Felicity Warner, soul midwife

“20 years ago this month, a traumatic session at the hospice where I volunteered  sowed the seeds for Soul Midwives.”

This is the story of the birth of soul midwives in the UK. It’s the (abridged) story of Felicity Warner, who has trained a network of people ready to support others through the final journey in life as we know it.

Felicity tells us…

“I was asked to feed a young woman who was dying. Supper was a stale ham sandwich a sprinkling of droopy cress and a heap of crisps.

“After five minutes, she choked, spluttered, vomiting all over me and burst into tears.

“The hospice’s policy of “no touch” and “no information” prevented me from knowing she couldn’t swallow. It also meant I wasn’t allowed to hold her hand or console her.

“We both felt demoralised and helpless.

“At home, I made a wish list for sitting with the dying:

  1. Treat each person as if they are the most important person in the world
  2. Offer as much love, time , understanding and kindness as possible
  3. Use gentle techniques – touch, music, deep listening and meditation – to soothe pain and fear.

“These skills became the essence of Soul Midwifery… a blend of old and modern ideas.

“Soul Midwives are non medical, holistic and spiritual companions to the dying and their loved ones.

“I began teaching very small groups in my home, then training in hospices, care homes and hospitals.

“Doors opened. Clinicians began to see how our work made a big difference to the dying experience and now you’ll find soul midwives in hospitals, care homes and in the community. Especially in people’s own homes. We work alongside the medical teams and some GPs refer patients to us.

“Even if we mange to help one person experience a better death, it’s all worth it.”

Felicity has written three books, become a visiting research fellow, is a speaker at international conferences, an advisor to end of life organisations and a passionate campaigner for compassionate care at end of life.

All power to Felicity and the network of Soul Midwives… 500 strong now in the UK and growing numbers USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Soul Midwifery Training: Course information

Interested? Please email Felicity and she’ll send you a booking form. You would be asked to pay a deposit of £55 for a one-day course, £150 for a two-day course and £150 for a three-day course. The balance is payable on the first day of the course.




2 thoughts on “3 things to offer the dying – the soul midwives way

  1. Dear Final Fling and Felicity ~

    I live in Vancouver, Washington (near Portland, Oregon, USA) and am a long time palliative care/hospice nurse. Thinking ahead a bit, I wonder how often you both give workshops and in what location? I have been yearning to visit England again and if I can arrange it next year, it would be great fun to take a workshop of yours while there. I have been enjoyed being involved in the home funeral and green burial movements for several years and it would be a great blessing to learn from my English and European sisters and brothers as well.

    I hope to hear from you in future ~ one never knows what might happen if she sets an intention!

    Respectfully, Caryl Lyn Taylor, RN BSN
    Email: Nurscaryl@gmail.com

  2. I don’t want to discourage you from visiting England, and I’m not sure if you got a response, ( or even if I’m supposed to answer this) but I just wanted to let you know that there is a distance learning course ( which I’ve just started) available from the soul midwifery website.

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