Starting these things is always a bit tricky (I’ve already written and deleted 5 first sentences) but I thought I’d start with the basics.
I’ve just finished my midwifery degree (pending graduation) and wanted to share my journey with you as I train to become a doula. “A what?” is the usual response I get when telling people of my new plans and it is usually accompanied with a look of utter confusion.
For those of you who don’t’ know, here’s the official definition:
“a woman who gives support, help, and advice to another woman during pregnancy and during and after the birth”
For me, there is so much more to being a doula. A doula can provide support which is physical, emotional and educational, both to the woman and her family. This support can be provided during pregnancy (or even pre-conception), labour and in the postnatal period, following the birth of the baby. The aim of a doula is to assist women to have safe and empowering birth experiences. This kind of support is what I had expected midwifery to be, or at least feature heavily in the role. Sadly, due to budget restrictions etc, midwives working within the NHS are finding it more and more difficult to provide this more holistic care. This is why I made the decision to change paths following completion of my midwifery degree course.
During my third year, I was lucky enough to work with two incredible women during their pregnancies and labour on a case loading basis, and I am so grateful that they allowed me to be part of their experiences, as this is what began my divergence on to the path of becoming a doula.
I’m planning on keeping this up to date with developments as I progress down my new path so it won’t necessarily be regular updates but I will check in every now and then with doula related news, or quite possibly something else entirely. I’m giving myself until the start of 2017 to earn/build some income as being a full time, shift working student for 3 years on a pitiful bursary does tend to take its toll on your bank balance (big thanks go to bank of mum during this time!). Come the new year, I will start phase 1 of my journey to doulaship (I don’t think that’s actually a real word but I’m using it anyway).
Once I’ve had a little bit more time for life to settle down again after university, I’ll let you in on my master plan for the future. In the meantime, I just want to say thank you to all of my family and friends for helping me through these 3, most stressful years, of my life, and to all the amazing midwives that I have met along the way, who do a wonderful job in looking after the women in their care. And to all the girls who I’ve been training with for the last 3 years: I think you are all going to be fantastic midwives. I would be happy to have any of you at my birth (not that this is going to occur any time soon, may I add!)