The role of a doula is to provide support where support is needed. To be a friend, an advocate, a non-judgemental listener. To hold a safe space and enable self-exploration and personal growth. To be a calm companion or a staunch gate keeper, as needed.
Doulas are not medical clinicians but work alongside midwives, doctors, health visitors and other medical professionals, helping parents to access evidence-based information, giving them the space and the tools to explore their options thoroughly and empowering them to make informed decisions about their care and that of their babies.
It can be really confusing and overwhelming for parents to understand the choices they have around birth. Many feel that their birth experience is in the hands of medical professionals and may be beyond their control.
I can support you regardless of the type of birth you are hoping to achieve, helping you to pick your way through the forest of advice, statistics and clinical guidelines, so that you understand what your options are, what they mean in your individual case, and empowering you to work with your care givers to find the right path for you and your family.
Whether you are planning a caesarean birth, a hospital vaginal birth or a home birth, or any other variation, I can offer you the time and space to prepare to meet your baby. We can work together to build the resilience you need to make it an empowering experience for all concerned.
I offer personalised, private sessions for pregnant people and their chosen birth partners, in your own home. Maybe you just need a couple of hours to think about the process of birth and which self-care and coping measures might work for you, or maybe you need a much longer course with several sessions covering birth preparation, caring for your newborn baby, preparation for feeding and exploration of your transition to parenthood. We can organise as many sessions as you need and we will have the flexibility to adapt the course as we go. More sessions can be added by arrangement as the need arises. Maybe you need to have a chat to unpick a complex meeting with your consultant, or maybe your partner is worried and needs to have a session on the role of the birth partner. As your doula I will offer you whatever emotional and practical support you need on your parenting journey.
For some, becoming a parent can be a time of confusion and overwhelm. Many parents feel isolated and struggle to cope with the relentlessness of caring for a new baby, often alone, for large parts of the day. Doulas offer a service that is as old as humanity, and just as vital in these modern times as it has ever been.
Maybe you need some emotional support. A friendly person to keep you company, or perhaps you would like to talk about something in particular, like your birth experience, feeding journey or early parenting experiences. I can listen to you and hold space for the big emotions you might be struggling to process.
Maybe you need more practical support, I can help you by doing some housework, cooking a meal or running some errands while you care for the baby, or I could cuddle your baby while you get some jobs done at home. You might appreciate having someone to watch the baby while you shower or sleep, or entertain your older children while you feed your newborn.
I can be there to listen to how angry and frustrated you are. Or clean your bathroom. Or hear all the details of your birth story, again. Or make you a cup of tea. Or hold you while you cry. Or come with you to a café so you can breastfeed in public for the first time. Or make you laugh and take your mind off it all. Maybe you don’t know what it is that you need, but we can work it out together and I can offer emotional, practical, non-judgemental support while you find your feet.
You might want my help regularly for several weeks, or more sporadically. We can discuss your requirements and come up with a package to suit your needs. I charge an hourly rate to cover my time and expenses and this is very negotiable depending on your needs and circumstances. Please feel free to get in touch and we can have a chat about how I might be able to help you. It may be that we arrange a series of defined sessions with a goal in mind and a definite end date, or that our relationship rolls on for as long as you need it, evolving as we move forward.
Scarf techniques and therapies (Rebozo)
A rebozo is a traditional shawl or scarf worn by women in South America. It is often presented to girls at menarche and is used as a garment and as a carrying aid for babies and bundles for her whole life. Rebozos are also frequently used as comfort aids in pregnancy, labour and birth, as well as in traditional postpartum ceremonies such as Closing the Bones.
As a white, european woman I have drawn on my own cultural heritage to blend and adapt this traditional use of scarves and textiles in the perinatal period, taking inspiration from my own yarn craft and western ideas of relaxation and wellbeing, as well as modern medical and clinical practice.
I trained with Nicola Nelson on her RCM accredited course – Beyond Rebozo, and am now delighted to be able to offer rebozo techniques as part of my Doula service. I can show you how to use a long scarf to provide comfort and support during pregnancy, labour and birth, including teaching your birth partner some simple but highly effective techniques.
I also offer a postnatal recovery scarf binding which combines elements of South American Closing the Bones rituals with western postnatal traditions and modern mindfulness techniques. Please see here for more information or contact me below to find out more to discuss your individual needs.
Birth Trauma Recovery
As well as the usual and expected challenges faced by all new parents, I work with some families who feel traumatised by the events surrounding the birth of their babies. Some parents find it hard to set aside those scary feelings of being out of control, or fear for their own or their loved ones safety, that can accompany some birth journeys. Symptoms of trauma can hold parents back from bonding with their baby and fully embracing their new role.
I trained with Alexandra Heath, of Traumatic Birth Recovery to become an accredited 3 Step Rewind practitioner. Using safe, gentle hypnotherapy techniques, I can work with you to help lift the symptoms that can remain following a traumatic experience in the perinatal period.
Please click here for more details of how and why the 3 Step Rewind programme works, or contact me below to discuss your case and see if I might be able to help you feel better.