Birth Doula


My highest wish and aim is that pregnancy is a time of joyful self-discovery for a woman. A time for couples to grow closer together, in trust, love and respect. I wish for birth to be remembered as the natural, physiological process that it is, alongside the greatest rite of passage that we can experience as human beings. I wish for all babies to be born safely and happily into their mother or father's arms and that those first crucial moments are held with great respect by any caregivers present - so that a lifelong bond of love and trust can be formed between parents and child. My intention as a doula is to support this sacred journey from conception to postpartum, to be an empowered experience, where all emotions are welcome, and where all choices are respected and upheld.


Antenatal Support

Typically, I support Mothers and their birth partners throughout pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum. We get to know one another and build a special relationship of trust. I may support you to find evidence based information about a variety of topics and choices you may be faced with in your pregnancy. We meet several times during your pregnancy to talk about your hopes, your worries and your needs. I aim always to listen deeply, and to offer guidance or support where appropriate, but I understand that some things cannot be 'fixed' easily, and that simply talking things out loud can provide welcome relief. Usually I travel to your home to meet with you and your birth partner. I will offer a Rebozo Therapy as part of at least one of our antenatal meets. If for any reason it is not possible to meet face to face, we will hold our meetings on Zoom. Each session will be shaped according to your needs which can be discussed in our first meeting and reviewed regularly throughout pregnancy.

Where possible, I also offer every client a Mother Blessing – akin to the Baby Shower, but the focus is on gathering support for the last few weeks of pregnancy, for birth, and for the early weeks of parenthood. It can be a gathering as big or small as you wish, with or without your partner (or kids) where your closest friends and family will gather to pledge their love and support to you and your unborn child; where you will be nurtured with kind gestures, simple gifts and generous offerings of meals, baby sitting, washing up, massages, etc when the baby arrives! It is optional, but highly recommended. It is always an occasion of joy, tears and often an overwhelming sense of feeling loved and supported. Afterall, they say it takes a village to raise a child, and this occasion really brings that to life.

Birth Support

I have supported a wide range of births in my time as a doula – from planned to unplanned home births, caesarean births, twins, single mothers, first time mamas, second, third, fourth and even fifth time mothers! My role in each birth is completely different. My intention is to show up and to serve whatever is happening to happen in the best possible way for Mother and Baby - which usually means minimal input or disturbance, and a calm environment.

Sometimes my role is very practical: helping with birth pools, keeping everybody well fed and watered, working out comfort logistics for mother to position herself in such a way that she can be active in her labour, but resting in between tightenings; massaging mother's back or hips; phoning midwives or hospital; caring for the birth environment so that the mother can get on with her labour with minimal disturbance.

Sometimes my role will be emotional & psychological: helping to dispel fears or worries in the minds of birth partners and birthing women alike; being a shoulder to cry on for anyone who needs it; being a calm, grounded presence in the room for everybody to tap into. Emotional states are contagious - if one person is stressed, everyone can feel it. If one person is calm, everyone can feel that also. Whilst I wouldTalking through different options and scenarios if needed so that decisions are made with proper understanding and consent.

Sometimes my role is energetic/spiritual: A magical thing happens in a birth space of minimal disturbance, everybody present gets drawn into this Oxytocin bubble of mutual love and support. Often times a woman does not want to be touched or spoken to in her labour, but she does not want to feel alone either. So I sit quietly and I close my eyes with each surge she has, I breathe with the mother and I am 'with' the mother, fully and completely, and she feels that and benefits greatly from it – especially if there are other distractions around the room – people talking or whispering, moving around, doing clinical checks, etc. It helps her to stay completely focused on the enormous task at hand! I am also always holding the highest vision for her birth in my heart and mind. When her will and determination falter, she doesn't need lots of words and convincing that this really is what she wanted, but just someone else to hold her vision for her, while she has a wobble, recovers her strength, and gets back on track. If this is the only thing I 'do' at a birth, I know my presence has been worthwhile.


Postnatal Care

In many traditions around the world, the first 40 days after giving birth are said to be the most important in a woman's life. She needs a community of support around her – and her partner needs that too. She needs to be well hydrated, well nourished and her strength rebuilt gradually and slowly. Her sole focus for that time should be on her rest, and nurturing her baby, preferably at home where they can have plenty of skin to skin and time to master the art of feeding.

My job as a doula is partly to supply you with good food, helpful resources, gentle touch, a shoulder to cry on, a space to process your birth and more... But it is also to help inspire the community around you to rally round and do their bit to support your rest and recovery. This is why I believe the Mother Blessing is so important. Mothers who can rest and be looked after in the first 40 days are less likely to experience postnatal depression, and the Chinese say it is a time to heal all lifelong illnesses!

 

As part of your postpartum recovery I will offer you a 'Cerrada' or 'Closing' ceremony/therapy from indigenous Mexico. I have had the great fortune to learn directly from an incredible Mexican Traditional Midwife the art of Rebozo and how it is used to wrap, rock, swaddle, soothe, bring comfort and support to mothers and their babies throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period. The 'Closing' is one of the highlights of my work; where we honour the mother for all she has been through to bring her baby to earth; we physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually 'close' that chapter in her life and in her body, supporting her to feel more fully 'herself', her new self; and for her to feel she is seen, understood and recognised for all her immense sacrifice and hard work. I usually ask for your partner/mother/friend to be present to help with this, and for someone else to look after your baby so that you can deeply receive and rest. Again, this is totally optional, but highly recommended!

Image by Luma Pimentel

Testimonial

“Afterwards mum told me that I had gone through the whole labour with poise. She said from the outside I looked meditative, even when I was clearly in the throes of the strongest parts. I was surprised because I had found the pain and other sensations so intense, but clearly my journey had been mainly inwards and I had held it myself.

I would put a lot of this down to you Laura- for helping me realise my new capacity for labouring at every step without escaping or masking anything with medication. You got the conditions right in my birthing environment- psychologically and physically- and it was the dark, safe comfortable nest I needed. You showed no fear, and in doing so, you showed me ways of heading off fear. You provided closeness and understanding when I felt removed from the real world.”

~Sophie Foster
(read here for full birth story)

 

Simple Birth Package
 

One FREE consultation to have a chat and decide if we are well suited to take this journey together

- 3 prenatal meet
 

- Phone and messaging support throughout pregnancy
 

- 4 weeks 'on call' for your birth, from 38-42 weeks (6 weeks on call for twins, at no extra cost)
 

- Loan of birth pool if required (and if available)
 

- Support for entire labour, birth & bonding period afterwards

- 6 weeks phone/messaging support postnatally
 

- 2 postnatal visits

£850

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Full Birth Package

One FREE consultation to have a chat and decide if we are well suited to take this journey together.

- 4 prenatal meets​ incl Rebozo Therapy where possible

- Mother Blessing

- On-going phone and message support throughout pregnancy
 

- 4 weeks on call for your birth, from 38-42 weeks (6 weeks on call for twins, at no extra cost)
 

- Loan of birth pool if required (and if available)
 

- Support for entire labour, birth & bonding period afterwards

- 6 weeks phone/messaging support postnatally
 

- 2 postnatal visits
 

- Closing Ceremony

£1,100

For those who genuinely cannot afford either of the above, please contact me. I am open to payment plans. If you would like to only have prenatal or postnatal support then this can also be arranged. Please get in touch.

 

FAQs

What is covered in the antenatal meets?

...Some or all of the following, depending on time and needs:

  • Planning for Birth: Hopes and Fears

  • Previous experiences of Birth – previous births, your own birth story, miscarriages, cultural & family messages

  • Discussion and techniques for labour for you and partner – breath, movement, touch, voice, words

  • Inner preparations: writing affirmations, making birth art, rituals for letting go & welcoming in

  • Planning for your post partum: rest, warmth, food, belly wrapping, community, etc.

  • Breastfeeding your baby

  • Sign-posting to relevant books, articles, websites or other relevant services

What is included in the postnatal visits?

  • Nourishing home cooked food

  • Mother to Mother Breastfeeding support

  • Retelling your Birth story together

  • Loving touch

  • Belly wrapping

  • Using a sling

  • Help with household chores

  • Closing ceremony

This is just a guideline of the support offered. More details and individual arrangements in contract.

Each of the above services is also available as a stand alone if you do not wish to have a full birth package.

About the cost...


For some people this will seem like a lot of money, and to others they will think this is incredibly cheap. Ideally I would charge on a sliding scale according to people's income, but this is not always easy to navigate.

I am passionate that every woman deserves to have good support throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period and I do not want anybody's financial circumstances to stand in the way of them having this. That said, I have 3 young children so my time is limited and I do need to charge for it. The prices above are my lowest prices to cover my time and costs.

The on call period is the hardest part of my work as a doula - it means being able to drop everything at any time of day or night, for up to a month at a time! A large portion of the cost is paying for this aspect of the support which can seem 'invisible'. Likewise, the Birth accounts for a decent proportion of the fee. Some births happen quickly and some span days, but regardless of time, I will remain with you until you are settled in your bed with your baby in your arms.

In our country where we are fortunate to have free health care, we are not accustomed to paying anything for birth, so a birth doula can seem like a 'luxury only for the wealthy'. However I often ask people to consider the average wedding in this country, and how much money is invested for that one day. I consider the day of Birth to be the biggest event in anyone's life - Mother, Father/Partner or Child. The manner in which we are born is one of the biggest influencing factors on our well being for life. Sadly, we no longer have a midwife in every village who knows every mother intimately and will be pretty much guaranteed to be the one at your birth. We also don't see much of birth in daily life, so some level of education or support is necessary for most people nowadays. We have lost so much of our ancient womanly traditions and wisdom, and as a doula, it is my aim to restore some of that old knowledge back into our communities and to fill some of the gaps that modern day midwifery leaves - however kind, caring and supportive your midwife is. If she works for the NHS she will be strapped for time! 

I am open to negotiation regarding payment. You can pay monthly after an initial down payment. I am open to supporting you in such a way that we both get our needs met. Feel free to get in touch. 

Background image with thanks to: www.josiegrittenphotography.com