I began my doula training journey with Birthing Wisdom in 2009 on the ‘Doula and Holistic Childbirth Educator Training’ and have supported couples, and women birthing on their own in their homes, at birthing centres and in hospital births, provided antenatal classes, birth story debriefing sessions and spent over 100 hours support families on the labour and postnatal wards as a doula and breastfeeding supporter as volunteer in my local hospital. I am also a facilitator and mentor on the Birthing Wisdom doula training as of 2014.
I have enjoyed expanding my awareness of birth related practises and skills from the following cpd trainings and workshops:
- Hypno-doula Training (to effectively support births whereby hypnosis is being used as a pain management technique)
- Breech Study Day with Mary Cronk
- NHS Breastfeeding Management Study Day with my local lactation consultant
- Doula UK’s Twins Study Day
- Midwifery Online’s Working for Women Day as a co-speaker on the role of a doula with Olivia Seck
- Optimal Foetal Positioning Workshop with Katinka Soetens
- Teaching Labour Massage for Fathers Training
- One to One training in the use of aromatherapy in labour
- Using the rebozo for labour
- Emotional Freedom Technique and Matrix Birth Reimprinting Practitioners Training (for the processing and healing of traumatic memories)
- How our births affect our relationships, breathwork – Sondra Ray
- Birth Story Listening – Pam England
- Working with survivors of sexual abuse in birth – Penny Simkin
I am a mother of two sons who were born at home and it was my first birth experienced that inspired my passion for working as a birth educator and supporter.
Birth changed my view of the world. It provided a rich training ground for my own self- discovery
and plenty of fresh challenges such as dealing with fears, change, body image, work identity, fatigue, as well as all these new amazing and expansive feelings of love, patience, softness, creativity, connection and playfulness that heightened in becoming a mother too.
At the beginning I was literally terrified and slightly phobic of birth. So early on in my pregnancy I coped with the anxiety by treating the whole thing as a bit of an adventure into uncharted territories, and I searched for tools and people to help me expand my physiological understanding of birth, but also stories and knowledge to help my mind open to the possibility of the birth journey itself opening me up psychologically to some potentially awesome gifts too.
As part of my preparation process to let go of some of the fear I found it useful to connect with others and widen my ideas and beliefs around what giving birth might be like.
So I found midwives I connected, I spent time listening to some women with positive
birth stories, I watched birth films, and read all sorts of accounts of birth experiences from the most medicalised to the most orgasmic sneeze! I also wanted to take care of my mind/body connection too and practised some pregnancy yoga at home to help me feel into this new pregnancy body, and I developed self- hypnosis skills with local Easibirthing founder Sharon Mustard to give me a tool to deal with my anxiety about the unknown, and foster a positive mindset about how birth could be and how my body could work naturally with the process of labour.
For me at that time, the combination of understanding the birth process on a physiological level, having a mindfulness practise to help me deal with my anxiety and expectations, and being open to receiving support from other people during this time really helped me build my confidence in birthing and parenting my baby.
Of course, no matter how much preparation you do, on the day, the only thing you
can be sure of is that you just need to show up, and whatever birth you are meant to have, you have! Fast, slow, gentle, ferocious, long, sensual, assisted, medicalised, challenging or easy – it’s just birth. Plus it’s the birth of a mother and father and maybe a sibling too. There are new roles and identities for everyone as well as welcoming this precious little person into the world too – there’s a lot going on!
But, from being birth phobic, I was able to find the support and courage to birth naturally at home and I was blessed to experience a very gentle birth and that was very healing. My first birth helped me have a new level of belief in my body to be strong and able like never before which was a great gift. My second birth provided
gifts about simplicity, letting go and feeling trust on a totally new level and that was equally as special.
I’m always deeply inspired by the journey of pregnancy and motherhood, and it’s a wonderful honour to support women and families on their birthing and parenthood paths.
I now work as a Birth Doula, as much as my family life will permit, offer classes, one to one session and group workshops as often as I can.