Where it all started...
My first interest in becoming a doula started 8 years ago, soon after I had my first son in an article I read. After experiencing pregnancy and birth myself, I found a new love and admiration for pregnant mothers. There is something so special, so extraordinary about pregnancy – the combination of love, joy, fear and anxiety. The pressures it comes with physiologically, mentally and emotionally. Experiencing it made the incredible strength of a woman became so clear.
Before even looking into what doulas do, I found out I was pregnant with my second son, in which I suffered with SPD so with that and having to look after my toddler, it naturally went to the bottom of my priority list and didn’t realise that a doula was actually what I needed. 5 years later, with my 3 sons now in full time education, I found myself wanting to do something meaningful; something purposeful – I came back to looking at the role of the doula and instantly regretted not having one myself. It made me more passionate about starting my training and raising awareness of what an important role they play. Maternal mental health and reducing the fear many women face towards giving birth were also issues I wanted to tackle and so also decided to combine my doula training with hypnobirthing and counselling.
I didn’t have the easiest pregnancies and my births were far from the birth that I planned as I suffered with gestational diabetes, strep b and severe SPD, with the first birth bring the most traumatic and the last pregnancy being the most challenging. When I became pregnant the first time, I remembered a conversation I had a few months back with a very good friend of mine who had just had her daughter – about how she enjoyed the birth. At the time, without going through the experience I didn’t understand what she meant but I knew that’s what I wanted so planned a drug free, natural water birth. I wanted to immerse myself in the experience and find the sense of joy my friend spoke about, especially because I was absolutely terrified. But it wasn’t meant to be as due to gestational diabetes I was considered ‘high-risk’ I was induced at 38 weeks and the baby was constantly monitored during labour, so my birth plan went out of the window.
Not knowing any different and wanting to do what was best for my baby, I gladly followed the advice of the midwives and obstetricians, and literally did what I was told. I felt unheard, out of control and what I wanted didn’t matter. I didn’t know that the environment, feeling of being secure and safe could directly effect my body physiologically, causing more pain; this is something that every mother deserves to know. I was still able to use aromatherapy to keep me calm – to this day the smell of lavender brings me back to my first birth. Although it didn’t go my way, giving birth to my son was still incredible.
The feelings of being our of control and not being heard are far too common for women giving birth, and I know it can be different. The sense of empowerment that most mothers don’t know exists, I want them to know it’s possible. There just isn’t enough emphasis on the importance of a mother’s emotional state during pregnancy and how it affects the birth and sometimes the transition into motherhood. We’re always prepared for the pain and the difficulties of pregnancy, labour and parenthood, but not spoken anywhere near enough about the joy, empowerment and love. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean it’s not excruciating or that we should all have drug free births. It means that, with the right support, preparation and mind frame, we can learn to embrace it and become more positive.
So here I am...
It’s January 2019, 32 years old and a personal mission to nurture, encourage, inform and empower women during pregnancy, birth and postnatal period so that they’re able to have a beautiful and loving pregnancy and birth and transition calmly in to motherhood feeling supported. I’m here to educate the crucial role doulas play and the importance of emotionally supporting the mother. It’s time to start talking about pregnancy and birth as something positive and empowering, it’s about time we change the narrative and it starts with Nurturing Mama.