The first question is often “What is a doula” and the second is usually “Do I still need a doula if I have midwives and a birth partner?”
The answer goes “A doula is an experienced and supportive person of your choice, offering continuity of care. They are non-medical, but super practical and amazing at supporting you and your family physically, emotionally and spiritually through your birth and postpartum.” This normally gives an insight into both questions.
Most people messaging me have already done their research as to whether a doula would be a supportive team member, and so I will focus on what I offer, rather than the whys.
I am a fully inclusive, kind, gentle, educated and trauma-informed birth doula with 16 years of experience.
I offer two main levels of support to suit individual needs – though different packages can be tailored especially to suit your individual needs.
OPTION 1: Remote (lockdown) Option – £600
If attending your birth is ruled out at the time of booking, and you would like to have virtual support, antenatal prep (tailored to your needs, whether is learning about how your body works, hypnobirthing, how to support your birth partner, to work through your options, preferences, help with birth & postpartum planning, and virtual support (ideal for early labour and immediate postpartum) a reduced package is available for £600. Full terms are agreed after tailoring this to your needs.
OPTION 2: Fully Comprehensive Support – £1800
Three 1:1 Antenatal sessions, Birth Support, Two Postpartum support sessions.
- Antenatal/Birth Prep comes in the form of snippets from The Real Birth Workshop. A wonderful informative way of learning more about your body and what is it doing and why in labour. Information and knowledge is super empowering when making choices for you and your birth.
- Hypnobirthing and Mindfulness for Birth. We do this alongside the Birth Prep session, and this happens over a couple of sessions, with a series of mp3s to listen to in your own time. Both of the above are suitable for first-time parents and experienced parents. For experienced parents, we spend some extra time debriefing your previous experience too.
- Birth Preferences Planning support
You’ve got the knowledge, know your choices, your preferences and have the positive mindset, now to find the right style of plan for you – written, visual, and get down your wishes and your absolutes etc. It is sensible and wise to have a few versions: Plan A, B, C & Z, so that however your mode of birth, it is an informed, supported and positive experience.
- 4th Trimester Planning Support
Think of this as a very important continuation of your birth plan. Few do this plan, but all should!
Considering plans for sleep, food, chores, physical, emotional and mental health.
- On-Call period
Once you reach your on-call period (which starts 2 weeks before your EDD), I like to make sure we have regular chats and catching up. Having the support nearby at all times is part of what I feel is crucial for both you and your partner. When your partner also feels supported, then it also makes things easier for you. I’m at the other end of the phone for chats, WhatsApp, emails; for questions or concerns at any time.
- Birth beginning to the end (or whenever you chose to call me in!)
I am with you throughout your birth, only ever leaving your side if you need me to (filling up your water bottle or getting you food, filling the pool or running a bath, for example), and then only if I see you have support present in the meantime. I don’t leave until you are settled with your baby in your arms and are ready for me to leave. I am there to help you with early breast/chestfeeding support if that is what you would like.
- 4th Trimester Support
I cannot emphasise enough how important this support is.
I will come to visit you for about an hour, at times that suit you, after birth. Then again, whenever feels right.
I will also be available to message on WhatsApp for the first 6 weeks.
If you would like postpartum doula support, I will be there for whatever you need most, a listening ear, practical food prep, swift tidy around, hold the baby whilst you shower, hold you whilst you are most vulnerable. I will share with you helpful information on supporting newborn sleep and managing sleep deprivation. Any additional hours after the first 2 visits can be bought for £25.
By limiting the families that I support during their birthing period, I am fully present to be able to dedicate my time to supporting you and your family through this precious and sacred time. I am well and truly ‘cup filled’ and ready to be fully present with you.
Due to this I only take on 3 or 4 birthing families per year (one per season!), with a recovery gap between births to ensure that I never risk an overlap with an early baby or a rather later than planned baby!
What personal experience can I bring to you:
I have carried 6 babies and had very different birth experiences with each one, and attended so many different types of birth with many different people. We are all unique as individuals and each birth experience is also unique.
My first birth was unsupported and traumatic. My second birth was really rather orgasmic (though I had no idea it was “a thing” at that point!). My third birth was the birth of my identical twins. Born naturally at 38 weeks, 10 minutes apart. My fourth birth was my 1st surrogate baby who was a 43-week induction, resulting in 3 days of labour and emergency CS. My fifth birth was the sibling of the first surrogate baby and was a successful VBAC.
Having supported birthing people and their partners through lots of different births, one of the most profound things that I have observed at each birth is how amazing the partner is as a support when they feel someone has their back too. I work very differently to the midwife. I do not do anything medical. I am your support, your sherpa, your listening ears, your extra pair of hands to hold you up and fetch whatever you need. We can discuss and we can plan, we can be flexible and go with the flow.
I have been working as a Clinical Hypnotherapist for over 13 years now (Training in Clinical Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, NLP, EFT). I did my Doula training with Nicola Goodhall and Hannah Robertson, under Adela Stockton’s Mindful Doula’s training course. I have attended many courses since with different professionals in the field to keep my skills and experiences broad.
If you are serious about having a doula to support you, let’s chat and find exactly what it is that you need:
An initial informal chat over a cup of tea (in person or online video chat), to meet up to make sure that we have a good match and you feel comfortable with me in your birthing space. This is completely without obligation. I would never be offended if you found a better fit elsewhere. I believe we need to be picky about finding the right person to support us and invite into our birth space.
Do feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org