Postnatal (Recognised since July 2021)
Birth (Recognised since February 2021)
Lives in: Barnes SW13
Local info and availability:
Hello! It's a strange old time we're living through, but now more than ever support in pregnancy, birth and postnatally is crucial. As we navigate birth in this Covid-19 era, I am offering both virtual and in-person birth and postnatal support, tailored to the needs of the family. I cover home or hospital births and at-home postnatal care across much of London and Surrey - including (but not limited to) Barnes, Richmond, Putney, Wandsworth, Wimbledon, Hammersmith, Brent, Ealing, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Chiswick, Harrow, Barnet, Haringey, Camden, Islington, Lambeth, Kensington, Fulham, Chelsea, Kew, Kingston, Merton, Worcester Park, Twickenham, Clapham, Balham and Westminster. Please do get in touch if you are outside of these areas but feel we’d be a good fit as I’m happy to travel.
I have completed training in aromatherapy, acupressure and massage for birth - and am trained in The 3-Step Rewind, a neurolinguistic programming technique that helps expectant parents work through previous trauma ahead of the birth - and will support, and help the birth partner support, the mother using these techniques before and during labour. I also offer breastfeeding preparation and support - and for those preparing to welcome their second or subsequent child I put a plan in place to help with sibling bonding, in the days and weeks after the birth. I also work alongside a group of incredible doulas as part of The Doula Hub to provide clients with a likeminded back-up in the unlikely event that any of us are unable to attend a client's birth.
Hello! I’m Lauren: an adopted Londoner, originally from south west Scotland but now based in south west London. I’ve spent the last 10 years living in Barnes with my husband and young children.
My three very different boys, and baby girl, arrived in four very different ways – and the more time passed the more I realised how important that birth experience is to what kind of parents and family you become. Having a birth that you feel informed and in control of helps you begin parenthood from a positive position – stronger physically, mentally and emotionally and ready to make decisions for you and your baby. Looking back, I realised that having a doula would have better prepared me not only for birth but for motherhood – and could help each birth story have a much happier ending.
FINDING THE RIGHT DOULA
I didn’t know what a doula was when I had my babies, so my aim is to be the kind of doula I wish I’d had: a practical doula who can help clients have a calm, happy birth experience and find straightforward ways to manage the pregnancy, birth, and postnatal period. I know from personal experience that pregnancy and birth can turn a woman who is confident and assertive in all other areas of her life into someone who is plagued with indecision about the best course of action for herself and her child. My aim is to support and guide without judgement or prejudice to allow every family to advocate for the birth they want – whatever that looks like for them – and to be by their side every step of the way as they become, or extend, their family.
For parents who are embarking on birth alone, I can provide the support of a birthing partner, giving physical and emotional support throughout pregnancy, the birth itself and those crucial first few hours and subsequent days and weeks as a new family. For those who plan to birth with your partner or another close friend or relative, my role is to support that birth partner just as much as the labouring parent. I help take the pressure off of them, give suggestions when they may have run out of ideas, and allow them to just be there for their partner while I take care of making them both comfortable.
Before becoming a doula, I’ve spent more than a decade as a journalist specialising in interviews. Talking people and learning from them is my greatest joy, and something that I continue to do every day as a doula. In 8 years as news editor of British Vogue I met hundreds of incredible people – from models and designers to actresses and musicians – and told countless fascinating stories. Despite those experiences, nothing mesmerises me like the story of someone’s – anyone’s – birth.
THE BIRTH PACKAGE
The right birth package is individual to each family so will be created bespoke for you and priced accordingly. Below is an outline of our most popular package as a framework:
• We’ll have an initial free-of-charge meeting to asses our suitability to each other and to answer any initial questions you may have. Finding the right doula for you is like forging any special relationship, so it’s crucial that we both feel it’s the right fit.
• If we’re both happy, we will sign the contract, after which I will be available to you every day during office hours (9am to 7pm) to answer any questions you have by text or phone.
• Then we will set up 2 x 2 hour antenatal visits likely to take place around week 30 and 35.
• In the first meeting we will cover your knowledge of birth, birth physiology, your hopes and fears and address any myths or rumours that concern you. I will also provide a bespoke reading list and any additional resources that may be useful in your pregnancy and birth preparation, helping you answer questions big and small.
• In the second visit we will work together on creating your birth plan, learn some practical techniques for labour including massage, acupressure and aromatherapy tips, look at what to expect and actions to take as labour begins, and discuss your hopes and intentions for the immediate postnatal period and first few days as a new family.
• I will be on call for you from 38 weeks until birth and will attend your birth to support you and remind you of all you have learned.
• We will be in phone contact as soon as labour begins and I will arrive (with 1 hour’s notice required) as soon as you feel you need me.
• I will stay with you until your baby is born and for the first few hours after birth to help you get comfortable and establish feeding.
• We will then have a postnatal visit to discuss the birth and answer any questions you may have.
THE POSTNATAL PACKAGE
Every new parent needs different levels of support at different times, so the best way for a doula to support them is to be flexible. I would prioritise making sure you’re fed and have time to shower and recharge, and will also give support with feeding, bathing, sleeping and any other early questions you’re wrestling with. Doulas don’t advise you or tell you what to do, but I will come armed with a wealth of information and avenues for support – and will also share with you the secrets learned from other families, things that many parents before you have found helpful.
To build the right support for you, we would start with a package of hours that can be spread over a few weeks – used when you need them most. For example, you may start with 40 hours and decide to have me visit for 3 hours a day for the first week to support you as you settle in. Then you may have family coming to support you the following week so may only want me to come in every other day, increasing back to five days the following week. The support is as unique as your family.
Many parents ask friends and family for a package of postnatal doula support as their baby shower gift rather than toys or clothes for the baby – and the evidence shows its the gift that keeps giving.
I offer additional birth services including a checklist session to prepare everything for your baby, a breastfeeding preparation appointment, a welcome home service, and writing your birth story, which can be added to the package if you need them.
To the expectant parents the task of beginning the next chapter of your life as a family can seem daunting – with so much unknown and unknowable. A doula is there to make your job as easy as turning the first page.