I think every parent should have a doula, and I'm not just saying that because I am one. But I had one myself when my children were born, so I know how brilliant doula support is.
One of my big bugbears is that, in our nuclear family culture, many of us haven't seen babies being born (well apart from on TV but that's another topic altogether), we haven't grown up around babies and new families, or even seen others looking after babies, so we know very little about new parenthood (many of us haven't even changed a nappy!). How on earth are we are supposed to find our way through something we know so little about? Traditionally, around the world, new families were supported by a community of experienced parents. Many of us live far away from our families as well. In such a culture, the support of an experienced, friendly, professional "mother figure" is not a luxury.
I feel so passionate about this that I left a 20 year long career as a scientist to provide you with this support! (you can read more about that here).
I've always been passionate about my job, I left France nearly 20 years ago to pursue my career as a biology research scientist. It was supposed to be only for a year! During my first postdoc in Aberdeen, Scotland, I got offered a job, then met my Chinese born husband Chi. We moved to Cambridge in 2001, and had two children, Sebastien (born in 2006) and Charlotte (born in 2009). Their births (both very positive experiences supported by a doula), changed my passion completely, so after much soul searching and retraining, I left my scientific career behind so dedicate myself to my new passion, which is supporting YOU through the transition to parenthood.
So what have got to offer you?
Like a Sherpa or a mountain guide, I will be there every step of the way to guide you through the maze of options and choices, so you can make the decisions that are right for YOU. That's right. I have no agenda (except making sure you have all the info to make a true informed decision). That is truly what makes a doula special-who else is going to listen to you in such an unbiased way?
I've been working as a doula and perinatal educator for over 10 years. I have supported over 60 families through birth and the postnatal period as a doula, and about 300 families as an antenatal teacher. I know the maternity system in and out, and I have connections with many local health professionals and complementary practitioners.
As a birth doula, I have supported women and their partners through very different births in different settings. I have experience with natural births (at home, in the birth centre and in the obstetric unit), water births, hypnobirths, and with more medicalised births such as complex medical histories, inductions, VBACS, assisted births, and cesareans births (I have been present in theatre during cesareans and instrumental births).
I'm a birth geek and knowledge junkie (I guess the science brain is never going away!), and a bit of a hippy too, so I've done (and still doing!) a lot of extra training and CPD, ranging from the hard science to the complete woo. So I know a wide range of labour and postnatal comfort measures such as massage, using a rebozo, relaxation, breathing and healing techniques, which I can teach you and your partner if you have one.
The postnatal period is very important as well, and often overlooked. I can help you prepare for it too. I have written a book called Why Postnatal Recovery Matters. I can help you plan with may practical ideas, including writing a postnatal recovery plan. As a postnatal doula, I can come to your home and help you settle into your new life as a parent. I provide practical, emotional and information support-simply listening and help reassure you that you are doing a good job, helping with establishing breastfeeding, cooking you meals and cakes, holding your baby whilst you rest, doing some light housework, or anything else you need to be able to rest and concentrate on getting to know your new baby and finding your feet as a new parent. You can read more in my blog post about the way I support new parents postnatally.
What I offer
The cost for a birth doula package starts at £1050, with flexible payment options available.
I offer other specialised packages tailored to your needs. If you are feeling drawn to working with me (which also includes phone or skype "virtual doula" support), please do get in touch and we can discuss what is possible.
Adhoc antenatal support sessions £35 per hour, face to face or skype/phone/email
Postnatal support £30 per hour
If you are drawn to working with me, or if you would like to find out more about how I can support you, then get in touch to book a free 30 minute phone or skype call.
Travel expenses 30p per mile over a 5 miles radius, or two taxi fares, to and from the birth.