Birth (Recognised since April 2016)
Lives in: Cambridge CB21
Local info and availability:
I am happy to support parents in accessible Maternity units & birth centres in the East Anglia area or in their own homes. This includes (but is not limited to) Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire.
I am a trained babywearing consultant, I work as a consultant independently & run regular sling drop ins in my area. I offer birth debriefing if parents wish to debrief their birth, recently or historically. I offer Closing the bones postnatal massage. I can help any parents to plan their forthcoming birth by offering information & support.
Hello, many congratulations on your pregnancy/birth! I am Anna; doula (& more) & mother to 3 daughters, born in 1998, 2000 & 2006 & a son born in 2007. I developed a love of babies & children at a young age & was rarely seen without any number of children hanging from me for many years! This naturally led me to train as an NNEB nursery nurse at college & then once qualified, work in a day nursery & as a nanny both before & after becoming a mother myself. As my parenting journey blossomed, my passion evolved from having urges to be cuddling & playing with babies to loving watching & supporting parents as they prepare for & start to hold their own. I have learnt to realise that with the birth of a baby comes the birth of parents too; a life changing occasion. I have always been keen to help parents with their little ones, but thanks to support & care I was blessed to receive when I became a mother myself that I developed a real insight into the facets of support & how valuable & varied it all is.
I have had my own varied experiences of pregnancy, birth & as I have brought my children up, this has ultimately led me to my beloved doula path. This pattern of wide variety has continued throughout my doula journey which I am continuously thankful for & I love that I am always learning & ever evolving.
I have been blessed to support clients from a variety of different countries & cultures around the world, both first time parents & those on subsequent parenting journeys. I have supported home, birth centre & hospital births, aswell as alongside independent midwives. I have supported totally natural births aswell as births using various levels of medical assistance, including epidurals, forceps & caesareans, I have supported vaginal births after caesareans (VBACs) with a high success rate. I have supported hypnobirths & learnt that I am as comfortable merely sitting quietly in the room as I am using myself physically to comfort the mother as needed. I have supported parents who have had fertility issues & also parents blessed with birthing a precious rainbow baby following a previous loss. I have a little experience of surrogate journeys. I am passionate that all families deserve support, no matter how that family is packaged!
Sometimes precious little lives end early for various reasons. My heart goes out to parents when this happens or to those who choose to terminate for any reason. These journeys are usually particularly heartwrenching because fewer people are often aware & so the parents often go through the loss with less support because they often haven’t told many people – if any. It would be an honour to support any parents going through any kind of loss, so please feel free to contact me about supporting you in any way, at any stage.
I love to work harmoniously as a team alongside the most important birth companions & the midwives & any other medical professionals in order to encourage & support the mother to do her most important role of giving birth – however that might be. I have been on our local maternity voices committee since 2006, so I am very familiar with many of the staff at the hospital here in Cambridge & know where or who to go to for any relevant information, which can be really useful when supporting clients here.
I like to use the information & experience I already have to support the parents I work with & am always hungry to learn more & am never afraid to ask questions or check in for reminders! I love to regularly associate with my doula colleagues, both locally aswell as further afield & it is a pleasure to have developed these relationships to mutually support & learn from eachother. I have worked directly with other doula colleagues several times to offer shared care to clients, for example if commitments made this necessary for the clients benefit & these have been lovely experiences. I have also taken over from other doulas in the birth room for necessary reasons on more than one occasion as well as going to support a couple who were already at the hospital who had reached out for immediate support via social media. Having never met the parents before I was nervous about these, but they turned out beautifully & they were truly enriching experiences, to be able to support my colleagues by supporting their clients in this way & I found myself able to immediately support them. Because of these lovely experiences, I am happy to do very last minute bookings as long as I’m available to, so do message me if you are due next week/tomorrow/yesterday/are labouring now & would like some extra support, etc & I can see what I can do to help.
I believe parents should be able to plan & prepare for their ideal birth – whatever that involves. Sometimes these wishes come up against hurdles or require some compromises. I do not see it as my role to solely speak up on behalf of my clients, but to inform them of their options & give them the information & confidence so that they can navigate the maternity system & their plans themselves & I can chat about anything that arises. Some parents are very clear on their birth preferences & I am happy to support that. However some parents like to plan for different scenarios, & I am happy to help them to look at the various possibilities & how they can be handled.
As a mother for a fair few years now, I have realised that postnatal support is so valuable in many different ways. I have been keen to support friends for many years as they have adjusted to parenthood in practical & emotional ways, which I hope has been positive for them! So as I introduced postnatal support into my doula repertoire, I felt it came very naturally as I have served parents in their postnatal journeys. Sometimes it is in doing practical tasks, to enable them to just do the precious job of bonding with their baby. Sometimes it is by caring for the baby so they can rest, bathe, eat or do whatever they need to meet their own needs or satisfaction. Sometimes it is just being there; listening, reassuring, supporting. With my many years of experience professionally & personally, I find it very natural to support the new big siblings as they adjust to the new arrival & the change in dynamics in the home! Since doing postnatal work, I have experience of supporting parents with firstborns & subsequent babies, twins & I have supported parents with their babies overnight. So what do I do as a postnatal doula? What would you like me to do as your doula?!
I am also a babywearing ‘teacher’, I have spent several years working with parents as they look for slings to carry their little ones in, I run local sling drop ins. This work complements my doula role beautifully, & I love to see parents or wearers find the sling that works for them. I have a wide selection of slings & carriers which covers little ones from tiny through to toddlers, including carrying 2. I get so much satisfaction from finding the one that enables parents to go hands free comfortably.
I have been a volunteer at a local breastfeeding support group since 2012 which I am now honoured to be one of the trustees of. Although not trained as a breastfeeding counsellor, I dearly love going along & welcoming parents, making countless drinks, chatting to them & listening to the counsellors, which has enabled me to learn a lot about breastfeeding issues, from simple to complex, which has been extremely rewarding. Personally, I tandem fed 2 of my own children, which was a beautiful, valuable experience.
When I get the chance, outside of my various professional hat wearing, I love to go to the Lake District (where I was born) & love to walk & enjoy the stunning scenery & am working my way through climbing the ‘Wainrights’ – 214 mountains covered by the late Alfred Wainright in his series of pictorial guides, I have quite a few to go!! It was climbing one of these mountains where I made the association between labour & mountains – we start the journey, it can be really hard work at times, we feel like giving up. Support & encouragement is so helpful, every so often looking back at the progress made is so encouraging! There can be harder bits on the climb & more gentle bits which are a relief. Eventually with a final push, you make it to the top, & oh how the view & sense of achievement is all worth it! Then there’s a difference – after birth, there’s a lovely baby to enjoy, after reaching the mountain summit… you have to do the descent!! I do like recognising analogies to associate practical experiences with those in maternal/paternal ones!
If you feel like I could help you in any way in your journey, please don’t hesitate to get in touch & we can see how this might work!
“I found Anna very easy to get on with, understanding & sensitive to my needs. Any hiccups were quickly sorted & I’m so glad I was supported by such a caring person. I immediately felt comfortable with Anna.”
– birth client, Sept 2016.
“You’re definitely in the right profession Anna & you are very obviously very passionate about what you do, which is wonderful.”
– mum of 2, May 2017.
“Anna is warm, caring, calm and supportive. My little ones adore her and I cannot recommend her highly enough.”
– mum of 5, regular childcare client, Jan 2018.