Originally from Scotland, I spent most of my childhood abroad returning to the UK to complete my education. As the eldest of four children my maternal instincts kicked in naturally at a young age and I was soon known as “mother hen” clucking around after my three younger brothers “mothering” them.
Growing up, my parents instilled in me the importance of a family unit – trust, honesty, unconditional love and support and always being there for each other through the ups and the downs.
I am now trying to instil the same ethos in my own children and in a small way these values are being carried into my doula work.
Regrettably, I didn’t fulfil my dream of becoming a nurse but instead worked as a PA for a senior investment banker in the City for ten years prior to starting a family and becoming a full time mother. It was around this time I also qualified as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer - fitness continues to remain an important aspect of my life.
I live with my husband, Simon, and three boys – Charlie aged 12, Archie 10 and Teddy 7, near Wandsworth Common, London SW18.
I trained with in January 2011 and achieved Recognition Status as a qualified birth doula in December 2011 and a qualified postnatal doula in January 2012.
I am registered with (a non-profit organisation of doulas) and abide by their Philosophy and Code of Conduct.
In addition, I am registered with adhering to their Code of Practice. I have full public liability insurance and I am CRB checked.
I also hold a volunteer position within Doula UK and feel that being involved with the largest organisation for doulas in the UK keeps me fully abreast of new developments and the latest information.
I consider my training to be on-going and feel that it’s important to increase my knowledge on a regular basis to ensure my doula skills are kept up to date. I have the following certificates:
Nurturing Birth’s Birth & Postnatal Doula Course (January 2011)
Doula UK Recognised Birth & Postnatal Doula (December 2011/January 2012)
Spinning Babies Workshop with Gail Tully, CPM (March 2012)
Breastfeeding London Study Day (March 2012)
Katharine Graves’s HypnoBirthing Teacher’s Training Course (April 2012)
I feel that all women deserve practical and emotional support before, during and after birth - someone who will be with them (and their partner) every step of the way through one of the most important events of their lives, the memories of which will always be cherished. I believe that it is with this support and being given the opportunity to make informed choices, couples are able to achieve a positive and happy birth experience and a smooth transition to mother/parenthood.
The core of my doula philosophy is to encourage self belief, patience and having no fear.
Self belief in the power of the female body to birth and self belief in your parenting skills - trust your own judgement.
Patience – follow your maternal instincts, listen to your body and wait for your baby’s cue. Take this patience with you as you embark on parenthood.
No fear in the natural physiological birth process (that nature has intended women to birth for thousands of years) and no fear in being a parent as you nurture your child.
I have doula knowledge and experience in the following obstetric fields:
Mixed connective tissue disease
Group B Strep
Post Partum Haemorrhage
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC)
I have also supported a variety of births including hypnobirths, inductions, waterbirths, VBACs, caesareans, medicated and unmedicated births across a wide range of London hospitals.
My three boys were all born locally at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital so I know it well. My birth experiences with them were all very varied.
My eldest, Charlie, was a successful induction, but quite lengthy (he was much too cosy inside and just didn’t want to brave the world!) Eventually he was born with some ventouse help after an epidural.
During my second pregnancy, I suffered from placenta praevia and then developed pre-eclampsia in my final trimester so Archie was delivered via elective caesarean section.
Whilst pregnant with my youngest son, Teddy, I was under enormous pressure to have another caesarean but I was keen to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after a caesarean).
During this time it saddened me that since having my eldest son, six years previously, there now seemed to be a lack of support and continuity of maternity care for birthing mothers. Gone were the days when the midwife with whom I had developed a relationship during my antenatal checks would be present at my birth to deliver my baby. I decided to conduct my own research into attempting a VBAC and made my own informed choice as to how I wanted this birth to be - as natural and unmedicalised as possible. It resulted in the birth of my dreams that I never believed was possible and inspired me to become a doula.
I felt that in becoming a doula I would be able to offer continuity of care to pregnant mothers and their partners which was now lacking on the NHS. I also realised the benefits of having someone experienced in birth to turn to for emotional support; who could also provide you with options and the necessary information to help you make an informed choice around your birth and during the postnatal period.
© Doula in London (Nike Bielby)