I know it’s sometimes helpful to hear from couples I’ve worked with so you get get an idea of whether I might be the right doula for you. Here are some testimonials from recent clients and I’m always happy to put you in touch with someone I’ve worked with to provide a direct reference.
Anne, London, 2013
“After a very traumatic first birth with my son, with lots of midwife shift changes, feeling isolated and alone, and ending up with forceps in the operating theatre, leading to postnatal depression, I was terrified of giving birth again and of the whole postnatal period. I called Rebecca in the hope that things could be different second time round, although I scarcely believed it myself. From our very first meeting, she was a rational and compassionate presence, talking through my previous birth in a structured way with me and my husband, and discussing alternatives backed up by her extensive knowledge. But I never once felt she was forcing her opinions on me — in fact she possesses a almost uncanny knack of intuiting what to say and how to support people. After meeting her a few times, I found myself believing I could actually have a home birth — something I would never have dreamed possible before. Somehow, through talking to her and exploring the research and resources she pointed me to, I felt empowered and even cautiously optimistic. When the time came, I had my daughter at home in my bedroom holding my husband’s hands as I pushed. I could not believe the difference from last time. I actually felt happy to be holding my baby girl, and am really enjoying having a baby — an experience utterly denied me with my first child. More than this, experiencing the second birth on my terms has made me a happier and more confident mother to my son too.”
Sarah Horan, Ramsgate, 2012
“Rebecca and I initally ‘met’ on Twitter and having checked out her website and blog (and been thoroughly impressed), we arranged to meet in person. What struck me about Rebecca is how you instantly feel at ease in her presence. She has a positive and caring nature and always listened attentively to whatever I had to say. What also impressed me about Rebecca is she incredibly intuitive and switched on in managing social situations.
Her responses and reactions are always calm, measured and she knows how to say the right thing at the right time. She articulates her wide range and depth of knowledge in all maternity matters with confidence and passion and this was so important to me – she is someone who really knows what she is talking about. I knew all of these skills would translate well in the birth environment and Rebecca really came up trumps. From in-depth conversations, to long walks along the coast on a wet October night to get contractions moving, to advocating for me and being my rock when I was in the hands of various medics, Rebecca proved to be an invaluable asset throughout my pregnancy, labour and postnatally. She is a true professional and carer. Highly recommended.”
Second-time parents, Stoke Newington, 2012
“You helped us think through and process issues from my previous birth experience; helped us make empowered and well-informed birth plan choices; helped us hugely in coping with and progressing things when labour was slow to kick off and I was booked in for an induction.
Giving me really solid and unequivocal support to cope with labour – to do what I needed to do physically and psychologically. Expertly (diplomatically!) managing communication to and from the midwives. Helping John to cope with the whole slow-arrival of midwives situation, then the lack of hot water situation; whilst reassuring me in such a way that I remained mostly blissfully ignorant of what that was going on.”
Katie and Ollie, Walthamstow, 2012
“It was amazing to talk through all the possible birth scenaios and to ‘imagine’ our own birth. You offered practical advice and also reassured us that we had made the right decision to have a homebirth. You also made us feel confident about going to 42 weeks and resisting induction.
When you arrived, you immediately calmed me down and enabled me to work through the contractions which had been making me panic beforehand. You were a calm and practical presence throughout, making us toast and tea afterwards and then helping me to get bathed and dressed in clean pyjamas. You also helped clean and tidy our house beautifully.”
Caroline and Will, Twickenham, 2012
“It’s a funny and emotional thing trying to work out the right words to thank someone for helping bring our daughter safely into the world. I look back on my labour really positively. I felt confident and prepared and I feel that I did a good job (with a couple of minor sweary moments, and possibly some vaguely embarrassing gas and air induced remarks!). I’d gladly do it all again for the moment of joy when we first met Emily. We’ll always be grateful that you made your way across London to help us!
Your attitude to pregnancy and labour struck the perfect balance for us, allowing us to be excited, nervous but at the same time, not to take ourselves too seriously. You made me feel like there really was no such thing as a stupid question, even though I am sure I asked a few! Going through the process of me and Will writing out our thoughts about birth was really useful. We uncovered acouple of things we hadn’t realised the other was feelingand it was great to get that out in the open.
I felt really prepared beforehand, I wasn’t nervous about going into labour at all, in fact, I was actively looking forward to it. I would never have considered a water pool for pain relief before speak to you about it. You suggested having it as an option on my birth preferences just in case and in the end I did the majority of my labour in water. I even changed my mind about a water birth once I was in the pool and would have stayed in for the duration if I’d beenable to. The difference between contractions in the water and out of it was remarkable, the water made them far easier to bear and I’d never had got in at all if we hadn’t talked about it.
There was a bit of kerfuffle when I went to hospital as my contractions weren’t regular and we had to wait a while before they allowed us into a birthing room. The minute you arrived, I felt instantly more relaxed. You asked the questions I wanted to ask but didn’t as I didn’t want to cause any trouble. Throughout the whole process, you were a calming influence. When the contractions were difficult, you breathed with me, when things didn’t quite go according to plan, you reassured us we were going to be ok. I cried after 4 hours of contractions because I’d only gone from 4 to 6 cms and didn’t believe the midwives that this was a good thing. When you confirmed that it really was good progress, I found it much easier to believe you than the midwives – having an existing relationship with you meant that I trusted you to tell me the truth!
I remember a couple of contractions where I really didn’t think I could keep going without pain relief. You said to me “let’s just get through this one and then we can talk about the options”. It was absolutely the right thing to say to me, I’m sure you understand the psychology better than I do, but it worked!
We really struggled with breastfeeding. You rearranged an appointment with someone else so that you could come and see us straight away. When you couldn’t help directly, you recommended Ann Dobson who absolutely rescued breastfeeding for us. The problems we had way exceeded what I was prepared for and I felt really very upset about it. Your reassurance and encouragement,coupled with practical advice and a good referral meant that we are still exclusively breastfeeding now.
After 5 weeks, I called you in a bit of a panic because our baby had not stopped feeding for days and was refusing to sleep – you suggested a sling and sent me videos for how to make the one we have work properly. Less than 30mins later Emily was sound asleep and stayed that way for nearly three hours…. I hope I’m not still calling you when she’s 18!”
Charlotte and Matt, London Fields, 2011
“As the birth did not quite go according to plan (!), your support was absolutely invaluable. During early labour you came over, hung out with us, were a reassuring presence downstairs, and took us for a comical early-morning walk around London Fields in the drizzle.
While the midwives were here, you quietly and discreetly made a calm, safe space for Charlotte, and rubbed her sacrum for what seemed like hours on end. You allowed Matt to take a rest when he needed to, and helped him with practical things. When we had to transfer to hospital, you came with us and kept our spirits up with jokes and chat. You also helped us understand, in our by now exhausted states, what was happening and what our options were. You suggested practical things like Charlotte changing positions and Matt having a rest and eating. When you went home for a short rest yourself, you returned with a pillow for Charlotte, and you softened the sterile hospital environment with your dance of the seven essential-oil-scented tissues.
When the time came to decide whether or not to have a caesarean section, you made sure that we were happy with the decision that we were making.
Perhaps the most important thing that you did for us after the birth was to help us to work through exactly what had happened during the labour and feel happy with the choices that we had made. Charlotte in particular had some lingering doubts about whether she should have ‘tried harder’ to have a natural birth, which you dispelled. Although in some ways we ended up with the polar opposite of the active, natural birth that we had wanted and prepared for, we don’t feel bitter or disappointed. You hear about some women ‘grieving’ for the perfect birth that they didn’t have, and we don’t feel that way at all – partly because we have a lovely, healthy baby, perhaps partly because of the sort of people we are, but partly thanks to your support.
From a practical point of view, you gave us fantastic and good-humoured advice on breastfeeding, nappy-changing, baby-wearing, routines (and how to ignore them!), eco options and more.”
Louise and Robert, Greenwich, London, 2011
“I wish that every pregnant woman could have a Rebecca to support them. I can honestly say that, despite being the most intensely hard work I have ever done, and certainly being pretty painful, it was one of the best experiences of my life. M is 10 days old and I’m still on a high.
My contractions were intense and in my back. My last labour was the same, and no one offered any suggestions other than keeping upright and then gas and air. You offered suggestions for positions to open the pelvis and potentially correct any malposition. Although I will never have any independent medical proof, I firmly believe that these made the difference to get M into a good position to be born. The fact that that had eventually happened was proved by how easily she came out.
You helped us, particularly me, to deal with my feelings about the first labour. Although some of these fears resurfaced during labour, I think this would have been much worse had we not spent time with you beforehand preparing.
It was lovely to see you afterwards and get a proper de-brief on what happened where our memories were hazy. That’s not something the NHS would routinely offer, or could do so soon afterwards. The sling tying lesson was great too.”
Juliet and James Hirst, Stoke Newington, London, 2011
“THANK YOU! I am one of a very small minority of people I know who had a wholly positive, trauma-free birth experience – the birth is something I still think about often and it is certainly something I will remember for the rest of my life. It was the best possible introduction to the world for A.
Before the birth you provided an invaluable mix of practical and emotional support, with a minimum of fuss and helped me and James explore our feelings re the birth, especially helping James establish his role.
When you joined us, you provided good humour and a nurturing, supportive atmosphere whilst always respecting the relationship between me and James
You guided us through the best steps to take to manage the progression of labour, without ever taking over; we felt like we were in safe hands while still free to make our own choices.
As labour progressed, I needed continuous support and physical contact; having a doula allowed James to take breaks, eat, go to the toilet and deal with midwives.You held my hand and bellowed with me during the contractions, you led me to up to the toilet and back with endless patience and empathy, you maintained eye contact when that was what I needed.
Afterwards you took some very precious photos of our son’s first minutes on the outside. Your lightening-quick reflexes meant that you caught my placenta(!) before its fall injured the baby. You were able to reassure us as to what is normal behaviour in newborns and help us set appropriate expectations and you offered extremely useful advice on breastfeeding, especially regarding the two day feeding frenzy that preceded my milk coming in.
I also feel that the experience has made me a more confident mother than I would have been had there been unnecessary medical intervention or if decisions around the birth been taken out of my hands – which would almost certainly have been the case without your expertise and support. We are both extremely grateful to you.”
Rachel and Oliver Dorman, Shepherd’s Bush, London, 2011
“You were completely amazing! Even though my labour was long, your energy and positivity never dipped. When you went home to have a break, you came back with new ideas and suggestions having consulted other doulas. You worked really hard for us! I honestly don’t know what we would have done without you.
It was great having another female there with me with a ‘softer touch’. Your instincts together with Olly made the perfect partnership. Little things like feeding me honey – were just what I needed. I have tried to think of some constructive criticism but am really struggling! After transferring to the hospital I loved your absolute determination to a) ride in the ambulance and b) get into the hospital despite swine flu restrictions and you helped to make the room a more pleasant atmosphere.
You have been even more amazing in this [postnatal] period which I have found quite difficult. Always available at the end of the phone or email and always making time for me even though I am certain you are very busy. Your suggestions are always invaluable and make me feel calmer and instantly reassured. Knowing you were coming back twice after the birth was also a lovely feeling.”
Rachel and Paul Osborne, Finsbury Park, London, 2010
“Having a doula enabled me to have the home water birth I wanted, even though my labour was long and did not progress in the standard manner of 1cm dilation every 60 minutes.
I started off feeling very anxious when I was pregnant about what could go wrong during labour and how I would cope with being transferred to hospital in an emergency whilst having a home birth, but after working through my fears with my doula Rebecca I felt calm and prepared and excited about giving birth at home.
Rebecca provided truly wonderful support, consistently exceeding my expectations of what a doula could provide. My husband and I felt blessed to have her!
Rebecca was a constant reassuring, calm presence during the long labour, helping me get control during a hiatus when labour stopped after a scare, encouraging me so I felt able to relax and restart contractions, suggesting ways to move and breathe and work with my body during active labour, reassuring and supporting my partner, being an advocate of my wishes with the NHS midwives in attendance. The labour went on for 3 days and Rebecca attended whenever I needed her – going over and above the call of duty!
Rebecca is an exceptional doula – it is clearly a vocation for her and she excels in the role of empowering and supporting women, men and babies at this incredible transitional time.”
Emma and Jonathan Halliwell, Wapping, London, 2010
“Rebecca was a great help in preparing for the birth. She gave me confidence and helped overcome the fear I felt as a result of my first birth.
During labour she gave me confidence as I stared to doubt my ability and gave my husband the prompts and confidence he needed to be a strong birth partner.
Subsequently she has lent me slings and books and cooked scrambled eggs for myself and my daughter!
The only thing I consider a shame is that I was unaware of doulas during my first pregnancy.”
Wanda Yu-Ying Hu and Marcos Cruz, Victoria Park, London, 2010
“Rebecca gave us the emotional support which was most needed. She gave me physical support and guided me in how to relax so that the labour and birth would go more smoothly. She even managed to film and take photos and helped around until we all settled down which gave us time to enjoy the moment.
We wouldn’t have managed our water birth at home without her!”
First time parents, Lewisham, London, 2010
“Having Rebecca available by phone when my waters broke early was invaluable.
In labour she was my eyes and ears on the train [on the journey home] and helped me feel safe through busy London. She was an extra pair of speedy and confident hands setting up the birth pool and room and someone to answer our questions who we trusted.
Rebecca’s practical help was so useful and meant I didn’t even notice things needed clearing up.
She was also great at supporting my husband without undermining him during the birth and the fact that she was so much on our wavelength and understood so many of our concerns was a huge plus.
It was great to have her available as an impartial listener in the middle of all the crazy family/friends visits.”Tweet