Birth (Recognised since June 2013)
Lives in: Leominster HR6
Local info and availability:
Area covered: Herefordshire
I have four children: Tom and Peter, who were born in hospital, and Helen and Beth, who were born at home. I live in a lovely part of Herefordshire with Neil, my amazingly tolerant and supportive husband.
My first labour was long and challenging, but I found (much to my surprise) that I came out of it feeling that I could move mountains! This gave me a wonderful start to motherhood and was a turning point in my life, setting me on the path to becoming a doula. On the way, I have trained as an NCT antenatal teacher and studied complementary therapies.
It was hearing women’s disappointment and confusion about their birth experiences during baby massage classes that spurred me on to train as a midwife. I loved this job, but found the frustrations of working against the clock and the increasing dependence on medical intervention, difficult to square with how I wanted to care for women.
Finally, I realised that the only way I could give true one-to-one support, would be to work as a doula. I feel now that my children are older, I am at the right stage of my life to do this work.
I believe that pregnancy and birth are landmark, life-changing experiences which should be celebrated and enjoyed. I am saddened by the way our culture undermines women’s confidence, because I feel that nature has equipped us very well. It is my passionate belief that informed choice should be at the heart of maternity care and that a doula’s role is to support women in whatever choices they make.
Having worked as a midwife, I appreciate the freedom of being a doula – knowing that I can be there for a woman for as long as it takes, without the disruption of shift changes or the distraction of paperwork. I also value the continuity of getting to know a woman (and any partner) during pregnancy and the opportunity this gives to explore choices, hopes and concerns, well before labour.
I feel that the early days after birth are precious and that this is the time to ‘mother the mother’. As a postnatal doula offering practical help and a listening ear, I hope to ease the transition for families as they settle in and enjoy their new baby.
I taught NCT antenatal classes for 26 years. This opened up many opportunities, including teaching ESOL Maternity English classes for Asian women (which I have written about in The Practicing Midwife, Vol 2:8  and Midwifery Best Practice ).
My complementary therapy training (with IIHHT) in massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and baby massage has given me valuable skills to help in the support of women before, during and after birth.
I have a degree in Midwifery and have worked as a midwife locally.
My birth and postnatal doula training was with Nurturing Birth.
I have supported women as a doula both at home and in hospital, memorably, during a very moving ‘natural’ caesarean (where the mother watched as her baby was born slowly and her partner cut the cord after it had finished pulsating).