What I am 'do-ulaing' right now
People often ask, "What does a doula do?" So here are just some of the things I am currently doing in my role as a doula.
Updated May 2021
Here are some of the amazing clients I am currently working with...
And so it starts... May is the start of consecutive months supporting birthing families. So many different experiences, so many different plans for birth, so many different support needs. The diversity of my role is what keeps me working, learning and passionate about supporting this journey.
I am currently on call for a family soon to welcome their second baby. At this point in pregnancy there is often pressure to meet estimated due dates and for inductions to be booked. So right now I am working with mama to support her needs, what she wants for her birth and the possible impact induction of labour may have on her and her baby.
This month I am supporting a soon to be mama on her solo parenting journey. We are working through her birth and postnatal plans as she works through lots of information to ensure she has the birth that is right for her. I am also capturing her beautiful changing body during a maternity photography session. Celebrating the amazingness of growing a baby but also celebrating her as a woman.
As well as doing lots of birth preparations with my clients, I also spend half of our sessions talking through their postnatal plans. Clients tell me how useful this is as it is often not talked about in antenatal or hypnobirthing educations. The postnatal period is forever, so i am passionate that we should give this period just as much consideration.
Always learning and unlearning
Education and Experience
With every client I support, I learn so many new things and I am building a library of resources that will help to support future clients. I am also always seeking education that will support my work as a doula. In particular, understanding cultural practices that support pregnancy, birth and postpartum care and supporting diversity in birth too.
The review I have done on The Aims Guide to Induction is now available on the Nurturing Birth website (link below). This book is becoming very useful at the moment with lots of questions and considerations coming up for my clients when it comes to inductions.
Behind the scenes, I am partaking in a very well known course for birth photographers. I was fortunate enough to gain a scholarship onto the course and I cannot wait to share more details about this and the work I am doing soon.
I am always looking for opportunities to learn AND unlearn, so this month I will be doing another course on supporting those in the LGBTQ+ community during their birthing experiences. This course is with Nurturing Birth.
Working to make positive change in the pregnancy, birth and early parenting world.
Birth World Work
I am passionate about racial justice especially in the birthing world. Having spent a lot of time and energy trying to raise the issue Black and brown people face during their parenting journeys, I wanted to do something different. I want to create something that celebrates us for who we are, so I am currently doing a personal photography project that captures and celebrates beautiful women and people of colour. I am not sure where the project is going yet but I am so grateful for all those who have wanted to take part so far. I will keep you posted and look out for more details on my socials.
My work with Birthrights is on going and this month I will be talking to the Leeds Maternity Trust about how they can support the call for evidence that the birth inquiry has put out but also how the trust is supporting the Black and Brown communities it serves. Watch this space to find out more.
I shared my voice and personal experiences on racial disparities in the maternity care system with The Guardian newspaper who are doing lots of work to spread the word of the inquiry.
Looking after my physical and mental health
Being a doula has an impact on my physical and mental health. In order to support others, I need to look after myself.
It's fair to say that the last few months, exercise has been way down on the list of things I wanted to do. I lost all motivation and just couldn't get back into a rhythm of things and it was frustrating me. But I went with it for as long as it felt ok. This month has seen a shift so...
I started with bedtime yoga, which helped me have the energy I needed for a morning sunrise salutation and it has gone on from here. I don't feel back into a rhythm yet but I have definitely felt the benefit of doing more and it feels good!
Last month I had a facial with Virgo Skin in Leeds and it was amazing. My skin was glowing and I am now incorporating it into my post birth self care routine (along with a glass or two of bubbles on a roof top bar in Leeds which was also a highlight last month).
Life as a working mama
Our little girl seems to be changing SO much at the moment and has some really strong views of her own. We are planning her birthday celebrations and hoping that this year we can have a real gathering of her favourite people, safely, in person. She has chosen the theme and created her own guest list. This one knows her own mind!
And as amazing as this is, it can be challenging too. We have always adopted an attached parenting approach with her but as she gets older this approach changes and adapts. I am doing some self lead education to help me manage this intense period for me whilst still meeting her needs. Always learning but this sums up where I am at right now!