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 April 2021
Here are some of the amazing clients I am currently working with...
This month feels like the quiet before the birth boom! I am pretty much fully booked for births from the beginning of May through to the end of August, so this month is all about preparation. Helping parents-to-be plan for the birth they want but also preparing myself and my family for a full summer 'on call'. This means taking time to myself when I can and planning days and weekends with my family, when I can.
For the parents-to-be, there is a lot of diversity in their experiences so far and also what they want from their birth. Here are some things we are working through:
Planning to labour at home but birth in hospital, is something that has been coming up for a lot of my clients this past year, with Covid restrictions having an impact on birth choices.
How to decide on whether to have an induction due to medical implications and how to make it a positive experience.
What considerations and preparations does a solo mum need to make to have a positive birth and early parenting experience.
How hypnobirthing, NCT classes and having a doula are all support avenues that can work together to help you feel informed, empowered and supported for a homebirth.
What implications does age and IVF supported conception have on birth choices and how to get the support needed from the health care team.
Navigating the maternal health care system when this is not your country of birth and personal experiences mean you have a very strong desire for personalised care.
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
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 maternity, with a national newspaper who are doing lots of work to spread the word of the inquiry. I hope to be able to share the details of this with you soon.
This month is Caesarean Awareness Month. Having supported both planned and unplanned caesarean births, I know how important a birth option it is to explore, even if it is not your number one preference. I will be sharing more about this in a blog post later on this month.
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.
At the end of last month, I decided to take a week off. Very impromptu and very unplanned which is not like this Virgo. But looking at my diary, it was the only week in a while where I had no client support sessions booked in or any other important engagements planned. And it was bliss! Helped massively by the random hot days we had, I stopped and only did what I felt called to do. This rare opportunity has refuelled me for the months ahead.
During this week, I stepped out of social media. I had found it tough to see the challenging stories coming up about race and the discrimination in the birthing world on a daily basis. So I gave myself permission to step off and protect my space. This has cleared way for a new way to engage with social media which will be less absorbing and more sharing of the things that matter to ME.
The old ways of exercising just were not getting me excited anymore and I have been missing dancing in a bar/club so much that I decided to sign up to Move Your Frame. There are a mix of exercise classes, all done to brilliant music. I love it and it has helped me work up a sweat whilst enjoying one of my favourite things, dancing!
Life as a working mama
This month sees a change to our daughters childcare. We have reduced her hours at our loved and valued childminder so that my mum now looks after her on a more regular basis. It felt important to give their relationship space and time for just them but also making the most of this time before she starts school.
Now that things are opening up a bit more, I am so excited to start having more adventures on our mama/daughter days. First stop al fresco dining at one of our favourite spots; Pizza Express (recommendations on outdoor dining with a pre-schooler, welcome).