A little bit about me: I live in Claygate KT10 and have two wonderful daughters who are now young adults making their own way in the world. Being part of their journey into strong independent women has been a huge journey and such a privilege. Now that they need me in a different way I love being able to use the skills I’ve developed – as their supporter, advocate, encourager, nurturer, defender, guardian, pamperer and sometimes just being there with a listening ear or a hand to hold – by being a doula for parents to be and new families.
What I offer:
Antenatal education – There are no set formats or set start dates so these can be flexible depending on what you want to get from them. They could be one-to-one, with your partner or with a small number of other expectant parents. It could be that you want a single information session on a subject relevant to you or a series of more general sessions looking at the processes of labour, birth and fourth trimester and the various options available to you. These can be booked separately or combined with labour and birth attendance. I also offer a “what to expect” session to look at how you and your partner may feel and what you may realistically expect in the fourth trimester (from birth until your baby is around six weeks old).
Labour & Birth Attendance (Birth Doula) – You will remember your “birth day” for the rest of your life, it is literally life-changing, which is why it’s so important to make it a positive experience. I believe fundamentally that all women have the right to strive for the birth of their choice and will support you whatever your preferences – home birth, birth centre, labour ward, elective Caesarean Birth – the choice is yours. Realistically, the birth you have may be different than you planned or hoped – babies and bodies have a way of working that no schedule or list can ultimately control – but being prepared, informed and supported is a massive factor in making it a positive experience. As your birth doula I will meet you and your partner at least twice before your birth day so we get to know each other. We will discuss and clarify your preferences and work out how best to support you both when the time comes for your baby to be born. We will look at various techniques that you may find helpful in labour. When the day comes for you baby to be born, I will be with you when you need me. I will stay with you through your labour or preparation for a Caesarean Birth until your baby is born. I will quietly support your first moments with your new baby and be there to offer reassurance (if you need it) the first time you feed, change, bathe you baby. I can also help with practical things (getting you a cup of tea; clearing away after a home-birth; transferring to a ward in hospital for example)
Postnatal Doula – Once you have your new baby you will be adjusting to a whole new family, whether this is your first baby or you are growing your family. The dynamics and practicalities change and it’s nice to have someone around who understands what you have just achieved, how you are feeling, the concerns and fears you may have. I aim to offer you that practical and emotional support especially during the first six weeks of your new baby time. What I actually do is determined by what you need but, for example, I can pop to the shops for you; make sure you have the basics at home when you come out of hospital; I can make sure you have a light meal on the table (don’t get too excited – I’m no Nigella but haven’t anyone yet!); make sure your basic household tasks are kept up to date so you aren’t rushing around trying to get the washing done between sleeps or feeds; accompany you to follow up appointments. The possibilities are endless but (within reason!) anything that helps. These vital first few weeks should be just about you and your baby. I won’t take over your baby care for you but will support you as you grow into this and give you space to rest and learn about each other. If you have other children I will help with their care and will help with your new baby while you spend some time with them.
Night Support – Feeling tired is a part of being a new parent but if the level of sleep deprivation becomes a problem for you, I can offer night support. Whether you are breastfeeding, feeding expressed milk or formula in a bottle, there are things I can do to help you make the most of your time to sleep.
Lending Library – I have an ever-growing library of books covering lots of aspects of birth and babyhood and I am happy to loan these to you.
Practical Stuff – I drive and have a small car that is insured for business use; I have appropriate Doula Insurance and hold a current DBS certificate.
What else do I do?
Signposting – It may be that you have questions that I can’t answer or need support that I can’t offer in which case I will signpost you to the people and services that are available.
Voluntary Doula – I believe that everyone should be able to have a doula whatever their personal or financial situation, so I work in a voluntary capacity for “Neighbourhood Doulas” and “Doulas without Borders”.
Maternity Voices Partnership – I am also involved with the MVPs for Kingston and Richmond and Epsom and Leatherhead. These are vital ways for service users and different professionals within the birth world to liaise, get feedback and make plans for improving the services offered.
Continued Professional Development – I regularly attend courses to add to my skills and increase my knowledge. The latest of these was an Antenatal Preparation Course with Birthbliss Academy in November 2018.
I hope this gives you an insight into me and what I can offer. If you have any questions, please do get in touch to arrange a no-obligation meeting or a chat on the phone. If I don’t have the chance to say this to you in person, “good luck with your pregnancy and have a wonderful birth”.