Michelle, mama to twins and incredible doula, explains more about what ‘mothering the mother’ actually involves….

What is a birth and postnatal doula?

Doula, (pronounced Doo-la) comes from a Greek word that means “a woman who serves” and is often referred to as “mothering the mother.”

A doula will offer emotional and practical support, encouragement and reassurance and non-biased, evidence based information, local where necessary. We hold a safe space for women so they can explore the intricacies of their mothering journey along with their families.  And support the whole family to ensure a positive birth experience and postnatal period.  Keeping the family rhythm going.

A positive birth does not mean easy.  It’s hard, but it’s also very beautiful.  Ina May Gaskin says, “The energy that gets the baby in, gets the baby out!”

The services offered by a doula vary greatly according to the needs of the women, couple or family that she is working with. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Birth plans, parenting choices and situations vary greatly, but can all be supported.  Whether it be a home water birth, a planned c-section, preparing bottles, playing with your toddler whilst you breastfeed, taking baby for a walk so you can get some much needed sleep, or simply a hug and a pair of ears, to listen to whatever you feel like talking about, over a cup of tea and most definitely some cake.

Doulas do not perform clinical tasks. They do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions.  A doula is there to compliment the birthing team of midwives, doctors, consultants, etc.

Through experience and time doulas will have a good knowledge of the local area, whether it is the maternity ward at the RUH in Bath, Trowbridge birthing centre, where to hire birthing pools from, or a local osteopath.  As well as having a good relationship with midwives, consultants and students, who mostly embrace the support of a doula at such an intense time for the family.

Doulas do not advise, but can support a woman to find balanced information to make informed decisions about her maternity care.

We do not replace the partner, doulas are also there to guide them in being confident support for you too.  A doula has intimate knowledge of birth, while your partner has intimate knowledge of you.  Together, we can be the ultimate birthing team!

There are a number of amazing doulas working in the Bath and surrounding areas.  A good place to start looking is www.doula.org.uk

Every woman deserves a doula and who wouldn’t love a doula to walk with them on this incredible journey?!

I am a member of Doula UK, as a mentored doula.  This means I am able to offer you a special rate while I go through the recognition process.  Please get in touch for more details at michelle@doulashell.co.uk or take a look at www.doulashell.co.uk for more information.