Hiring a Doula was the best decision I made to support my husband and I with the arrival of our first-born. Finding Maisie was the icing on the cake!
Early on in my first pregnancy my husband and I decided to invest in the support of a Doula. This was for several reasons; the fact that we have no family close to home to support us, the uncertainty around birthing being first time parents and the inconsistent midwifery care available to us through the NHS. All of these things made me realize pretty quickly that I needed to find a way to fill these gaps to enhance the whole experience.
What I loved most about the Doula network was the fact that they are all interested in you finding the right Doula rather than securing the work. They all work closely together and don’t hesitate to recommend one another. This made it feel like I was joining a community of sorts and that my interests were the priority.
Maisie was one of 3 people that I met when searching for our Doula. She came to the house and spent quality time with me over the thoroughly British ritual of tea, and I knew as soon as she left that she was going to be right for us.
Maisie brings a sense of calm and normality to every situation. Unfortunately I have a tendency to be rather anxious about things and Maisie never tired of my endless waffle and questions, always seeking to reassure me. Maybe unknown to her, she coached me in many ways, always asking me what I thought or what I wanted to do rather than give me answers to my questions that may be based upon her opinion.
During the birth Maisie was just there… It sounds insignificant but this was incredibly important to my husband and I. She never stepped in or took control, rather sat quietly only talking when necessary and keeping a real sense of peace. This of course helped me labour, feeling reassured by her presence and maintaining high levels of oxytocin. Throughout the whole birth experience she maintained this peace; at home, the car journey and transition to hospital and throughout the rest of the labour. Even now when she comes round for postnatal support, she continues to create this environment. She worked in true partnership with the midwife and ensured my birth plan was honoured.
On her first post natal visit, I was amazed at how she just got on with things. I kind of expected to need to show where things were but she just found stuff and figured out how to work things in order to make it easy for me. She never hesitates to take the baby to give me a break and seems to take real joy even in changing nappies.
Nothing is ever too much for her; she cooks amazing food for us, puts on the laundry, gives me reflexology treatments, cares for the baby while I sleep and comes with me as I experience things for the first time with a newborn baby. And then there is the drop of hat stuff; coming around within the hour when I was feeling low about breastfeeding 4 days in and supporting me with a few hours notice when poor Sophie had her tongue tie released.
The level of emotional support she provides me must not be underestimated. On every visit she takes time to explore how I am feeling about stuff. She also took time to go through the labour experience with me and made me feel incredibly proud of what I achieved. She refers to it as a ‘lovely birth’, which has such warmth to it and really sums her up.
The delight she shows every time she sees baby Sophie makes me realize how much this job means to her. It is not often you find people who truly love what they do, but Maisie I believedoes. Despite many births under her belt, she still finds it truly miraculous and clearly feels privileged to be present.
I now tell all my friends about Doula’s and encourage them to seek this support too. It really is an incredible service they are providing and a much needed one. The emotional support is as important as the medical support and hiring a doula ensures you get both!
Maisie finishes her work with us next week and will be truly missed. But I know she will remain a big part of baby Sophie’s life moving forwards.