What is a Doula?
More and more women in the UK are becoming aware of the many benefits of using a Doula to support their childbirth journey.
A Doula is a birth companion that provides antenatal, birth and postnatal support to the mother. A Doula ensures that the mother’s wishes for the birth plan are followed as closely as possible and her dignity in birth is preserved. She (or he!) is the mother’s primary source of moral and mental support during labour. Employing a Doula ensures that the mother has continuity of care before, during and after birth.
You can read all about Doulas in this wonderful article.
How is a Doula different from a midwife?
A midwife is an experienced medical professional acting according to her training and protocol. The midwife you have in labour is unlikely to be a face you recognise and a shift change during labour might mean that you team change yet again. The main duty of a midwife is to ensure clinical excellence and the physical wellbeing and safety of the mother and baby.
A Doula is someone who primarily looks after the mother’s mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing and gives practical support. A relationship and mutual understanding and trust are developed between the mother and Doula before the birth. The main duty of a Doula is to ensure the mother feels listened to, supported and cared for during the entire birth experience.
The range of services offered by each Doula is a matter of personal choice. Some doulas provide labour support only whilst others, myself included, provide additional postnatal support. There are Doulas who are happy cooking, cleaning and helping a mother with chores. Others don’t do housework or labour outside of their primary responsibility. All this should be discussed with your Doula of choice prior to booking.
What is Parent Craft?
Being a parent is a question of experience. Of course, understanding what a baby needs can be derived from sheer instinct and paying careful attention to your baby and learning to distinguish her cries. However, new parents can often find themselves overwhelmed by the responsibility of looking after a fragile new human being.
Parent craft is about understanding and meeting the basic needs of a newborn baby. It builds the new parents’ confidence by answering common questions regarding life with a newborn baby and guiding them through responding to their child’s essential needs.
What are parent craft workshops?
These parent craft sessions arm parents with knowledge and skills to improve the well-being of both parents following the birth of their gorgeous new baby.
You can read about the workshops under Parent Craft.
What does a postnatal support Doula do?
The first six weeks following birth can be a big personal challenge. Post-delivery recovery, lochia, surging hormones, overwhelming emotions in response to baby and a desperate lack of sleep can strike even the most resilient woman to the core. Many mothers feel elated with their new baby but struggling to get through physical recovery whilst adjusting to the new rhythm of day blurring into night.
As a postnatal Doula, I offer postnatal support to mothers that consists of at least two two-hour in-person visits to help adjustment into the intense and remarkable world of life with a newborn. As the midwives take care of the physical needs of checking baby’s weight and the mother’s healing wounds, I hold space for the mother’s emotions and energy. Together, we can find a way of enjoying the hectic vibrancy of this time, even when the lack of sleep and drained emotion are coming dangerously close to sapping the miraculous out of this once-in-a-lifetime chapter for you and your baby.
Where are you based?
I cover London’s east end. All services are offered face-to-face where possible, though parent craft, birth preparation mentoring and some elements of postnatal support can be delivered via Skype / Face Time / phone. Understandably, birth companion / Doula services are offered to those within a 30 min driving range. If you have any special requests regarding availability and travel, please get in touch!
Can I take the birth preparation / parent craft class with another couple or a friend?
Yes! I am happy to take on group assignments. Just get in touch with me and we can work it out.
Have you given birth?
I am the mother of a beautiful boy. I will happily share my own experience with you if requested. However, remember that this is YOUR birth and YOUR baby, and my focus is very much on you. No one’s personal experience should directly inform or influence yours.
Why do I need a Doula or a birth preparation class? Isn’t birth natural?
Yes, birth is natural. But natural does not mean easy!
Labour is like a marathon. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training. Labour is much the same. It is an intense, physical process. You shouldn’t be scared of labour – but you should be prepared.
If you are a first time mother, the experience of labour may surprise you. It may shock you with its intensity and you may find yourself floundering under the stress. This can happen even if you are physically fit, mentally strong, with a high pain-threshold and / or have had a totally problem free pregnancy.
A birth preparation mentor can help you prepare yourself for the challenge and give you tools and techniques that work for you to allow you to get through and maybe, just maybe, even enjoy the process. A Doula goes one step further by developing a relationship with you and providing you with on-site support as the big moment arrives, honouring you and your needs and providing love, support and reassurance.
Do you offer breastfeeding advice?
I am not a lactation support or a breastfeeding counsellor. However, I am a mother who has breastfed and faced – and conquered – many challenges that came with it! I have also reaped the rewards of having a lovely nursing relationship with my son.
Often, peer-to-peer is the best advice. I am happy to answer your breastfeeding questions from experience and have written about what every mother should know about breastfeeding on my blog. I am always willing to help if I can – just drop me a line and I will try to give you some assistance!
How are birth preparation classes different to NHS / NCT antenatal classes?
The classes offered by the NHS / NCT explain the mechanical process of labour, offer dry general advice (e.g. “Stay at home as long as you are able” – does anyone know what this means??) and lecture you on what will happen to you during delivery.
In our birth preparation classes we will focus on you: your hopes, your anxieties, your preferences and figure out a plan how your expectations can be fulfilled as much as possible.
Do you offer specialist support, e.g. birth trauma recovery or help overcoming stillbirth or miscarriage?
Please get in touch to discuss your case with me and we will work out whether I am the best source of help for you. If not, I may be able to refer you to the services of other excellent Doulas that specialise in your specific needs.
When will you be there after labour starts?
I am ‘on call’ for you day and night from 38 weeks gestation and ready to rush over when you feel that ‘this is it!’
I live in Glasgow Southside and I will make every effort I can to get to you as soon as you feel you need me. As a rule of thumb, A lot depends on your location and where you are looking to give birth. All this we can discuss at our initial consultation.
What is the cost of your services?
Please get in touch with me to let me know what you are looking for and I will forward you my schedule of services.
How do I book you?
Drop me an email on email@example.com, fill out the contact form or call / sms on 07494 265146 and we’ll arrange a chat over the phone. Following that, I like to meet face-to-face or via Skype / FaceTime if it’s not possible to meet in person.
If we establish that I can offer you the best possible support you can get, we take it from there and plan our journey together to your birth and beyond. I would be delighted to be a part of your story.