Birth (Recognised since July 2016)
Lives in: Oxford OX44
Local info and availability:
Oxfordshire - Buckinghamshire - Berkshire. I will travel up to an hour from my home - please feel free to contact me if you're not sure whether you are in my area
HCPC registered clinical psychologist with specialism in perinatal mental health and wellbeing; Birth ROCKS and Baby ROCKS mentor; Becoming Us parenting preparation facilitator
My name is Rebecca (though most people call me Becca). I live in a village just south of Oxford with my husband Matt, our son Noah and daughter Rosa Mae, and a very loving but completely mad cat. I was born in Malawi and brought up in Luxembourg before moving to the UK in 1998.
My background is as a clinical psychologist, and I still work part-time in a community mental health team in Wallingford. My particular interest and specialism is in perinatal mental health and wellbeing. It is definitely my vocation to be alongside people at important times in their lives, helping them to find fulfilment and peace, and empowering them to be whatever they can and want to be. Nowhere is this more important than in childbirth, and after my own son was born in October 2012, I felt a strong desire to change the direction of my career and to work with women who are preparing to enter motherhood.
Becoming a mother is a milestone in a woman’s life, and pregnancy and birth can be absolutely magical. But embarking on the physical and emotional journey towards motherhood can also be scary, especially if you have heard negative or frightening things about labour and birth. You may feel that you don’t know what to expect, and that you’re not sure if you will be able to cope. None of us really knows exactly what to expect, but I believe that you CAN cope. Women’s bodies are exquisitely designed to carry and birth babies, and given the right environment and the right support, I strongly believe that women are capable of natural birth. However, most women do feel anxious and doubt themselves or their bodies at some point (it’s normal!), and my aim is to provide you with continuous emotional, physical and practical support before, during and after your labour to help you to overcome those fears and give birth calmly and confidently.
I am passionate about the significance of the experience of childbirth for both the mother and for the baby. The way you feel and the way you are treated makes such a difference in labour and birth, and the experience and memories you have will stay with you for a lifetime. I believe that the most important thing is to treat you with compassion and respect, and to ensure that you feel unconditonally supported in whatever choices you make. I will listen closely to your wishes, and tailor my support to whatever you feel you need so as to help you to enjoy the most wonderful and memorable of birth days that you possibly can.
The way I see my job as a Doula is primarily to protect and hold your birthing space __ to keep adrenaline and anxiety away, to empower you to make choices that honour your values and wishes, to provide emotional, physical and informational support as and when you need it, and above all to listen to you. I will only do as much as you decide you want me to on the day __ I aim to be as discreet and as unobtrusive as possible so as not to disturb your private birthing space. Sometimes just being there with you is enough. For me, a sense of humour and lots of laughter are crucial to this process. Laughter doesn’t just make us feel happier and more relaxed, but it actually helps to boost the hormonal cascade that controls labour and birth, so in this case it really is the best medicine!
My nearest community birth centres are in Wallingford, Wantage and the Spires, and my nearest hospital maternity unit is the John Radcliffe (all within 20-25 minutes). I am also happy to travel to Aylesbury and Wycombe birth centres, and to the Royal Berkshire and Stoke Mandeville Hospitals (these are approximately 35-45 minutes away). I am of course absolutely delighted to attend home births, and if you are hoping to give birth somewhere else not mentioned here then please do get in touch as I will always help you if I can.
As a birth doula I offer a no-obligation free initial consultation for us to get to know each other and for you to ask any questions you may have. If you do decide to hire me as your birth doula, we will arrange two antenatal visits so that I can really understand your thoughts about the birth, your preferences and wishes, and any particular concerns or fears, and so that we can talk about the physiology of labour and birth, and anything else that comes up. Additional antenatal visits may of course be arranged if this would be helpful – please do let me know if you think you may need more support during your pregnancy. I will be on call for you from two weeks before your due date until the day that your beautiful new baby is born (up until two weeks after your due date if the little one is taking its time!). This means I’m available on the telephone to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Of course, when your labour starts, I will come to you when you feel you need me and will remain with you until after the baby is born and you feel ready to be left in peace. If your baby is born before the on-call period starts or after it has finished, I will always do my very best to be there with you for the birth if this is still what you wish.
As a qualified clinical psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist, I would be very happy to talk to you about helpful ways of managing difficult emotions, whether these arise during your pregnancy and in the run-up to birth, or whether they emerge as a result of some aspect of your experience of birth. There is no such thing as a trivial concern __ if it’s upsetting you then it is important.
I also speak French.
HCPC registered clinical psychologist with particular interest in perinatal mental health and the transition to parenthood.