How to be a positive birth partner. Part 1: before

So, there’s a bump growing ever-visible. You’re assured there’s a baby in there (though most of the time it feels completely unreal) and at some point you know it has to come out. How the hell are you going to help? TV and films are deeply unhelpful in terms of the partner’s role. He stands there shouting ” remember to breathe” or “push” at an increasingly irate woman with a look of panic/horror on his... Read More

When in Rome/London walk like an Egyptian

As a child I remember an almost paralysing fear of being caught breaking any rules. I once spent a good 15 minutes silently head-down, kicking about having fallen in to a large recycling bin. I did this rather than shout for help and alert teachers to the fact I was in the technology lab when I shouldn’t be. Most of my life I’ve stuck steadfast to the rules and, as an adult, I’ve always enjoyed driving my husband mad by insisting... Read More

What do you do again? What a doula is and isn’t…

Most people know I’m a doula and those that don’t do a very good job of hiding their surprise/total incomprehension. But sometimes I wonder how many people really know what a doula really is? What a doula isn’t: I don’t replace or make redundant the birth partner I don’t replace the midwife or doctor I’m not a ‘natural’ or ‘drug-free’ birth nut I don’t have a specific birth plan in... Read More

Birth stories: read all about it

Over the coming months I hope to add more and more stories of London births I’ve attended. Some will be from my perspective, others from the mother and father’s, but each is shared with their permission to encourage, inspire and reassure mothers and fathers to be. Anna and Paul’s homebirth First time parents whose speedy birth took us across London (via Mothercare) Juliet and James’ homebirth First time parents who planned a home water birth... Read More

Confessions of a doula: I am a TV addict

Ok, I’ll confess, I do love a good birth video. I store them up like a little treat and never fail to be moved by the fantabulousness of womens’ bodies. So I am very excited to have discovered ‘My birth TV’ and its YouTubechannel. It has loads of birth videos, tips and information and is an all-round brilliant pregnancy resource. I really liked this waterbirth video in which a third time mother overcomes her fears to have... Read More

Birth illustrated

The fabulous Katey-Jean Harvey has been working on illustrations for some new Hackney Doula postcards and for this site. You’ll see bits and bobs popping up here and there over the coming weeks. They are making me chuckle while I slowly freeze to death on a wild, Welsh hillside in the name of relaxation. Tweet Read More

A dedicated follower of fashion

Apparently, according to the UK media, doulas are becoming ‘fashionable’. A recent article referred to us as ‘the latest fashion accessory’ and I’ve actually tracked down one piece with the rather nifty title: ‘Mothers with Moola Must Have a Doula’. There is a part of me that does a little dance of joy, clicks my heels together and shouts ‘wahey!’ when I hear this. I mean, if there’s... Read More

One saucepan at a time

One of my favourite DVDs to show to homebirthing couples (indeed to anyone). Best bit has to be dad filling the birthpool with saucepans. I used to think this was ridiculous but now that I’ve filled four birth pools using only buckets I realise the extenuating circumstances that can lead to this.* * Don’t try this at home kids – it’s a hell of a lot of buckets and flaming millions of saucepans. Tweet Read More

A ‘good’ birth

Beauty is very much in the eye of the woman with the bump/baby when it comes to birthing. Get ready to put your fingers in your ears, shout ‘ la la la la la’ at the top of your voice when well-meaning friends and family give you advice or judge your decisions. Sure, you’ll want to read up on your choices, have a detailed understanding of your options, the risks and benefits of each, talk to your partner and care provider and... Read More

Pencils at the ready

My artistic skills have always been fairly limited. Limited, that is, to slightly squiffy looking stick men and the odd collage of a long-forgotten boy band on my school ‘rough book’. I distinctly remember my art teacher sniggering gently when I, in a moment of madness, suggested that I might take GCSE art. Nevertheless, I’ve finally forgiven the artistic establishment for tossing me aside like a broken pencil and spent the... Read More

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The Hackney Doula

Doula UK Recognised