Hey there, mama! Would you like to be as excited about your birth as you are about your baby?
So… you’re pregnant. You probably can’t believe it’s finally happening, yup, you’re going to be a mum (or dad)! Whilst you’re really excited about meeting your baby, maybe you’re a bit “oh s@*t” about the prospect of giving birth. But maaaaaybe there’s a place in your heart which dares to hope that things could be different. Well I’m here to tell you that they can.
Congratulations; on your pregnancy and for being a smart cookie and looking into hiring a doula. Still not sure if you need / want a doula? Don’t worry, it will soon become clear to you, I’m sure of it. In fact, you might want to watch this video and see if what I’m describing fits the bill.
>>> Before you read any further, here’s what has to be true for us to work together: <<<
- We *must* be a good fit. As in, “oh my goodness these jeans feel amazing, look amazing and I can afford them” kind of fit, you know the kind I mean, right? I can’t emphasise this enough. Don’t worry though, we’ll have a chance to chat on the phone and then meet up in person, for free, so that we can all figure out if this is a “yes” for both of us or not. I’m also a big girl and won’t be offended if you don’t want to go ahead, truth be told I’ll probably be relieved as if it’s not a solid fit for you, it usually isn’t for me either.
- You’re expecting your baby in 2018 (I only take on three birth clients per year and already have one booking).
- You feel that £3,000 is within your budget and reasonable considering the high level of support you’re going to be receiving (you can read more about what my package includes below).
- You must live in Kent or London (East or South-East only), unless of course you’re going to be birthing in an exotic location. I’m particularly keen on Mexico, Australia, NZ and I’m totally down to travel.
Why bother hiring a doula?
You probably already know that having a doula supported birth is associated with a 50% reduction in cesarean rates, 25% shorter labour, 60% reduction in epidural requests, 30% reduction in analgesia usage, 40% reduction in forceps delivery, as well as helping fathers to participate with confidence, and increasing success with breastfeeding (“Mothering the Mother”, Klaus, Kennel, and Klaus, 1993).
But here are the 5 big reasons why people commonly hire me:
- Your friends / family / colleagues have told you horrible tales about birth and breastfeeding, and what you’ve seen on TV hasn’t exactly filled you with confidence.
- You’re shocked at how impersonal maternity care can be, and anxious that you won’t see the same midwife more than once. You want a trusted friendly face who knows your needs and wishes.
- You want to know what your options really are, instead of feeling like you’re on a conveyor belt of care.
- You don’t have family members around or who are able to offer support in the way you would like.
- You’re from another country and have trouble understanding the way the NHS works.
“I wasn’t sure what a doula was, quite, but hugely liked the idea of a constant support through my birth – someone who could support my husband and I, translate any medical advice; to begin with I was especially keen on someone who would not go away as the only issue close friends had had with things going wrong during the birth was when their midwives had changed over and there was no-one around.”
So why would you want me to be your doula?
I’m awesome. Oh, you mean specifically?
- I’m a talented listener and have great intuition when it comes to whether it’s important to a) hold someone’s space and acknowledge what’s going on for them, b) bust out some problem solving techniques, or c) distract you with some self-deprecating humour or juicy gossip about my life (whilst remembering that it’s all about you, naturally).
- I’m a ninja when it comes to massage, acupuncture and reflexology.
- Midwives and doctors love me. I show them respect and step out-of-the-way so that you can form a relationship with your them.
- I’m an Oxytocin Siren. Don’t know what oxytocin is? We’ll be covering this essential hormone during our time together, for now, let’s simply say that I’m great at keeping everyone calm and relaxed. One client told me I’m more effective than diamorphine.
- I love cake. Because this matters.
- I smile a lot.
“During labour, I loved it when you looked at me and nodded and smiled as things progressed and became more intense, best pain relief ever! I also loved it that you knew what I needed all the time but never forced it upon me or made anyone feel pressured. You are very good at knowing these things and dropping subtle hints about them so everyone feels empowered. I would most definitely recommend you. In fact I would recommend that everyone needs a Maisie at their birth! Because you get it…birth, people, relationships, all of it. You are so intuitive & passionate about what you do. You don’t bring any agenda to you work as a doula. Your main aim is to understand the people you work with & do the best for them.”
Why do I do this?
I could give you all the usual “I’m passionate about birth” chat, but let’s face it, you know that already. So here’s what it boils down to: Babies are awesome, but I’m in it because my clients are flipping amazing. It’s the mammas I care about most.
“I won’t go into the ins-and-outs of my labour, but let’s just say it was long. Three days long. Three nights of no sleep before the baby arrived, long. I honestly do not know how my husband and I would have coped without Maisie. It is difficult to describe everything that Maisie did for us, but two key things stand out. Having Maisie with us meant that neither my husband nor I had to worry whether things were ‘normal’. Maisie was there to reassure us that everything was okay, which kept our stress levels to a minimum and meant we could relax as much as possible. My husband benefited from this in particular and he describes the knowing nods and smiles that Maisie gave him as a great comfort during a very stressful time. The second benefit was that Maisie nursed me a lot more than I had anticipated. Perhaps naïvely, I had not realised how much physical care Maisie would provide. Maisie is not a midwife, and does not profess to be, however she cared for me with such compassion that I will be eternally grateful to her for the role she played in my labour.”
Are you nodding your head and thinking I might be “the one”?
Then get in contact, pronto. It’s usual for me to be booked up at least six months in advance (some women book me straight after they’ve peed on the stick).
Details, details, details.
- Laughter, and not just because I’m huffing on the gas and air with you. Obviously THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED. Ok, it happened once and my client begged me to.
- I will be clear about my availability right from the start, be honest with myself about whether I have space to take you on or not, and whether shared care with another doula would be a better option for you.
- Offer a minimum of two antenatal sessions, each lasting around two hours, plus mini catch-ups if and when we feel like it.
- Reduced cost pre-birth acupuncture sessions. I’m as invested in you having a smooth birth as you are.
- I’ll be on call for the month surrounding your guess date. During that month, I’ll never more than an hour away from you, I’ll always have my phone with me, and won’t drink more than one alcoholic drink at a time in case you call. And yes, I’m a cheap date.
- I’ll come and support you during your labour, whenever you decide that you want me to join you. I’ll also be happy to support you remotely beforehand, if you just want to check in or ask me some questions.
- I will reschedule everything in my life to be there at your birth, apart from engagements which fall in your on call period AND which you were aware of prior to us agreeing to work together, and personal emergencies.
- I’ll stay with you all the way through and for the first few hours afterwards, unless I feel that my being there isn’t actually helping because I’m so spent. Touch wood, this has never happened, and I’ve been with someone for 52 hours, but if it were to happen, I’d have someone else come and take over.
- On that note, I only work with back up doulas whom I would be happy to have support me during labour. I work very closely with my Best Birth Buddy Mars Lord, because she’s fabulous and a great fit for my clients if they need her for expert breastfeeding support etc.
- I’ll come and visit you twice postnatally, and am happy to come round at the drop of a hat if you’re having a crisis. It’s rare but it happens. If everything is going super smoothly (this also happens), then instead I’d be delighted to come and babysit for you when you’re ready to go out for a dinner date again.
- I’ll also offer you £50 off placenta encapsulation, should you want to do so.
Here’s what I won’t do:
- Push a particular method of childbirth.
- Make decisions for you.
- Give medical advice or perform medical examinations etc.
- Exclude your partner.
Here’s what I will do:
- Encourage you to find your own way of birthing your baby.
- Support your instincts and choices.
- Provide you with continuity of care.
- Ensure you have all the medical information and research you want.
- Support your partner, and work as a team to give you the best support possible.
- Help you to navigate the NHS.
- Help breastfeeding to get off to a calm, confident start.
- Always be guided by your needs and wishes.
- Allow you to explore your thoughts and feelings regarding birth and early parenting.
- Maintain friendly communication with your midwives and doctors.
- Be a sounding board for your birth preferences/plan.