My name is Maddie and I’m a birth and postnatal doula. I’m recognised by Doula UK and support newer doulas by being an Mentor for the organisation.
I’m also a Breastfeeding Counsellor with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers
My Doula Philosophy
As a birth doula, I believe that my presence during labour and birth should be as far as possible to protect your privacy, to ensure you feel safe and secure, stay relaxed and help with comfort measures, to act as your advocate with midwives/doctors and to support your partner so he has the physical and emotional strength to be there for you entirely. I believe doulas should be led by their clients and not impose our own values or feelings about birth or childcare. Doula support is practical and emotional.
By listening and providing information when asked, we can help guide couples through their own unique pregnancy and birth journey and into parenthood.
After the birth, I will try to protect your sacred time with the baby by giving you privacy to welcome him/her to the world.
I believe that my main job as a doula is to help and support, but not to judge.
I feel part of my task, as a postnatal doula, is to build confidence in the mother. I am there to offer support, encouragement and practical help to aid the smooth running of the household and help the family adjust to the birth of a new baby. I have been asked to do many and varied tasks as a postnatal doula, so don’t be afraid to ask for whatever you need!
I am used to seeing women in their nightclothes, the house in a mess, and the desperation for sleep in parents’ eyes – and I remember how it feels. I iron a mean shirt, read great stories, walk dogs, change nappies, walk miles pushing prams – you tell me what you need and I’ll do my best to help.
I can also be available during labour to care for older children, either at home while you labour in hospital, or in the house if you choose a home birth.
As Lilliana Lammers, Doula for many years, says – ‘A Doula is not what you do, but who you are’
What services can I provide for you?
As a doula, I am able to accompany you and your partner through the process of preparing for birth and support you during labour, birth and bonding. I also can support you in the first weeks after birth and will visit at least once. I do not give medical advice nor do I undertake examinations or perform any other clinical task. I cannot make decisions for you. I can only act as a spokesperson for you (if this has been clearly stated in your birth plan). I am independent and self-employed. I am working for you, not your caregiver or hospital.
I draw on my knowledge and experience, to provide you with emotional support and physical comfort measures. If the need arises I can help you communicate with your midwife and medical care takers to ensure that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions during pregnancy, labour, bonding and early parenting. I can provide a continuous friendly face for you and your partner, make suggestions for planning and preparing your birth and bonding environment and building rapport with your midwives and medical attendants.
I am able to contribute, through observation only, to an assessment for baby positioning in late pregnancy, make suggestions for labour progress, help with relaxation, positioning and other comfort measures. I can help safeguard your bonding period and am available for consultation after the baby is born. I do not come between you and your partner but rather support both of you.
How do I provide this service to you?
I prefer to meet with you and (if applicable) your partner at least twice before labour starts and as early in pregnancy as possible. The first meeting is usually used for getting to know each other, to explore and discuss your priorities, any fears or concerns, and to plan how we might best work together. I will keep you informed of the times I am unavailable for consultation but you can call me 24 hours a day from 38 weeks of pregnancy (or sooner if you go into labour!). You can phone me and email me as often as you like during pregnancy.
During the second meeting we usually look at your birth preparation and I acquaint you with some of the comfort measures I have found helpful in the past. At this time I will emphasise how your partner and you can work together and how you can help your baby to engage well in readiness for birth. I want to become familiar with your birth plan, including your preferences regarding management options and your views on pain relief. I also want to know about your natural coping-mechanisms and how your partner and I could help with these.
How can I support you during birth?
I need you to call me immediately (at any hour of the day or night!) when you believe that you may go into or are in labour. I need to know about bowel movements, shows and how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally. I need also to know about discomfort, bleeding and pain.
After assessing the situation over the phone we will decide together on the best course of action. Even if you go into hospital I prefer to meet you at home unless the baby comes in a hurry or an emergency situation has occurred. Please keep in mind that I may need 30 – 60 minutes to arrive locally. If you live further away it may take 90 minutes.
Except for circumstances out of my realm of influence, I will remain with you throughout labour, birth and bonding. If you transfer from home to hospital or within the hospital, I will do my very best to stay with you. In the unlikely event of you being separated from your baby after birth, I may go with your newborn baby if you want me to and I am satisfied that you feel emotionally safe. I would then do my best to bring her/him back to you as quickly as possible.
I will do my best to safeguard those precious first minutes of physiological bonding after birth and can later support you with (breast) feeding if you need some help.
I would like to get together with you within one or two weeks after the birth to see how you are doing, admire your baby and listen to your and your partner’s side of the story. As part of this contract I am available for consultation by phone (or visit) during the first six weeks after birth.
If you want to use natural remedies during pregnancy, labour and early parenting I advise you to contact a professional therapist. If you’d like me to give you any such remedies please include this in your birth plan.
My contract with you
I will make every effort to provide the services described in this contract. It may be that external circumstances may limit my availability (for example rapid labour). If failure to attend your birth is due to my misjudgement or unavailability, only the retaining fee is payable. You may make further payments according to your discretion or further services made. But, if it is due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control or negligence on your part (e.g. you call me too late, or you choose to keep vital information from me) the full fee applies and further payments are up to your discretion.
If you decide you no longer require my services less than 2 weeks before your due date, some further fee may apply – this is because I may already have gone on call for you and/or worked with you for some weeks/months. If your cancellation is due to factors beyond your control, or due to some negligence on my part, we will reach an appropriate agreement.
£ 650 (includes all antenatal support, labour and birth, 1 postnatal visit and 6 weeks telephone support if needed after the birth)
Retaining fee £ 200: payable when contract is signed
Travel costs: 20p per mile over 10 miles OR 2 taxi fares to, and from, the birth
The remainder of the full fee: payable by, or at 38 weeks into the pregnancy or at the postnatal visit.
A note about fees: Money is a necessary evil. I need it, to care for myself and my family. However, if I wanted to be swimming in the stuff, I’d go do something else! I try not to let money get in the way of me supporting a family who I feel a real affinity for, so if you are concerned about my fees, talk to me. We can usually find a way. I have been paid in so many ways over the years so am definitely open to being paid or part-paid in kind, as well as cash. So if you or your partner have a skill you can share, let me know!
Likewise, if, after you have been ‘doulaed’ you think I’m a bargain, you are very welcome to pay me more. If you want to show your appreciation, or you think I’m cheap at double the price, or you want others, less fortunate than you to be able to benefit from doula support – whatever the reason, your gift is appreciated, received with love and used to help those in need.