Birth Doula

babe in armsWhat areas do you cover?

Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Powys, Worcestershire & other parts of South Wales

What is a Birth Doula?

A Doula works with you (and your partner) to help you have the best birth possible by providing both practical and emotional support.

Long ago, local women would have attended births, knitting quietly in the corner during early labour and whispering soft words of encouragement to the mother. When the surges were stronger and more help was needed, she would have given massage, a remedy or a spoonful of honey to the mother to keep her strength up. She would have protected and held the birth space, ensuring that the lights were kept low, and the atmosphere stayed positive and encouraging.

As a modern-day Doula, I aim to follow in the footsteps of these wise ancestors and ensure a quiet, positive, woman-centred presence in the birthing room, be this at home or in hospital, keeping the faith that the birth story will unfold beautifully. I will work with you in advance to prepare for your baby’s birth, be with you during your labour & birth and support you afterwards.

Why should I consider having a Birth Doula?

When you engage the services of the right Doula, it will feel like having a good friend with you at the birth, a person who really cares about your experience. She will have talked over likely scenarios with you (both) and so know what your needs and desires are likely to be during birth. She will be informed, non-judgmental, warm and yet assertive.

I work prenatally with you (both), as I believe good preparation for birth is vital. We cannot foresee every eventuality, but it really does help to have done some solid research, preparation and groundwork. I enable women and their partners to work through issues from previous births and from their own births, using a variety of techniques.

Will my partner feel left out if I have a Birth Doula?

Bella and coI have a humble approach to being a Doula and aim to be invisible in my work. I will support your partner (if you have one) to bring you closer, so that you can lovingly birth your baby together, if this is what you want.  I will be there, quietly in the background, fetching water and massage oils, whispering soft words of encouragement and keeping the faith that you can do this!

Equally I am happy to be there with you for every single surge, holding you and massaging you, whilst your partner relaxes. Whatever is wanted and needed.  I am the kind of Doula who will take a step back, if you are managing brilliantly and don’t need any extra help. I will happily muck in and do what needs to be done from making cups of tea, reading stories to toddlers, filling birth pools or simply observing as a loving witness.

What is your philosophy of birth?

I am passionate about women’s empowerment and the journey we take through life, which may include motherhood. Helping families to have positive experiences of childbearing is wonderful work to be involved with.

I aim to support women and their partners to have the best possible birth for themselves and their babies. I have experience of supporting women through home birth, VBAC birth, hospital birth and water birth. I believe wholeheartedly that our bodies are the result of millions of years of birthing evolution and that we are built to push our babies out naturally. I do not seek to persuade you in any way, but provide information so you can make your own unique choices.

In all my work, I put women’s empowerment at the very heart of it. So often, all you need is another person keeping the faith that you can do it in order to have a great birth experience.

I believe that as long as a woman makes her own informed decisions in birth and doesn’t feel coerced in any way, then this is an empowering experience, regardless of what actually happens. We cannot control birth and indeed, need to allow the journey to unfold. That said, I still think it is important to aim for the best birth possible. For most people, this means a normal birth, with no intervention and the utmost respect for birth as a sacred process, be this at home or hospital.

I also hold a strong belief in the importance of a fourth trimester – the three months after the birth where a mother has the chance to bond with her new baby, establish successful breastfeeding, strengthen herself and adjust to her changing life. This is a key time for your partner too, to adjust to their new role.

I am a great believer in the magic of breastfeeding. Not only is it the perfect food for babies, but also gives immeasurable comfort and solace. It is also a fantastic way to help heal a difficult birth for the mama and to establish a beautiful bond. I am also a committed volunteer with La Leche League.

Do I have to have a home birth to have a Birth Doula?

Not at all. Some women feel more comfortable birthing at home; others at hospital. Some women will start to birth at home and will end up transferring into hospital. I am happy to offer Doula support wherever it is needed. I carry no prejudice about women choosing to birth in hospital as I recognise that everyone’s story and circumstances are unique.

How do I explore having a Birth Doula some more?

I suggest you have a look at Doula UK website which lists Doulas who have done an accredited training course. I then recommend you choose a couple of Doulas to interview, to see which one fits you the best.

I am happy to chat to you on the phone on 01600 750763 and also offer a free initial meeting via Skype or in person to women and their partners, with no obligation to book me. I want you to have the best possible birth day for your baby and recognise that your perfect Doula won’t be me every time.

What do you offer as a Birth Doula?

I offer a comprehensive package of pre-natal, birth and post-birth support. I am happy to make the package bespoke, especially for you, if you need extra visits/accompaniment for scans, appointments. Equally you may need less support and we can adjust the package and the price accordingly. A typical package might look like this:

2 or 3 visits during pregnancy ~ where we get to know one another really well. We will explore your feelings about previous births as well as messages you have absorbed from your family, school and culture. I can help you prepare for birth in many different ways from lending you books to helping you write your birth plan.

The Birth ~ I will go on call for you when you are between 38 and 42 weeks + pregnant. This means I will constantly carry a charged mobile with me, never drink alcohol, be prepared to organise childcare in the middle of the night and be really happy whenever you ring me! If you think you may birth outside of these weeks then I will adjust the schedule accordingly.

1 or 2 post-natal visits ~ to debrief the birth and offer breastfeeding and early parenting support.
Unlimited on-going support between the hours of 9am – 8pm by phone, Facebook, text or Skype whilst I am supporting you.

You are able to borrow birthing books and resources from my library from the moment you book me in until two weeks after the birth.

Signposting ~ I am able to direct you to the many support services and resources which are available in the child bearing year.

I will willingly honour your placenta, however you wish to do this.

Can you tell me more about yourself?

I have a comprehensive knowledge of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding and have been offering informal support, information and advocacy to women for almost ten years now. I completed my formal Doula training course with Conscious Birthing in September 2015 and then went through a period of being mentored. I am now a fully Recognised Doula with DoulaUK.  When my children were young I volunteered with the NCT and was Chair of Bristol branch. I co-run Monmouthshire’s Birth Meetings, a free, open access support group, along with other antenatal workers. I also regularly attend Hereford’s Attachment Parenting (APUK) group. I have excellent links with other antenatal, birth workers and breastfeeding counsellors,  both locally and across the UK.

I am a mother of three children who were all born in water at home and breastfed for several years. I am also step-mother to a grown-up child. I used cloth nappies, wore my babies in slings, did baby-led weaning and co-slept. My journey was not always plain sailing, but I am grateful for its gifts and lessons. Now my children are older and need me less, I am able to follow my passions – birth, women’s empowerment, the study of herbs, singing and writing.

I am comfortable with the stories of my babies’ births. This means that I have no investment in needing your birth to be a certain way in order to complete or heal my own story. I recognise that you have your own unique birth journey to make.

Due to my other work around menstruation – I honour the journey we take with menarche and menstruation and understand how this feeds into our birthing experience. I have been holding Mother Blessings for several years now. I am also a skilled communicator and have the ability to establish a good rapport – a vital skill when working with midwives, consultants and other medical caregivers.

I honour the whole journey of womanhood from menarche, through menstruation, pregnancy, birth, infertility, choosing to be child-free to menopause and beyond. I write about these subjects, create songs, hold ceremonies, workshops and events, which enable women to explore and claim this terrain.

How much will it cost me?

A typical package costs between £550 and £850. I am happy to discuss other forms of energy or skill exchange. You can pay me in instalments over a long period of time, if that helps.