About Me

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Rugby, Warwickshire, United Kingdom
I am a mother of five children, four daughters all born in hospital (two now grown up!) and my son, born at home. One thing I know is that I would have had much more positive birth experiences if I had been well informed and well supported. Many women are feeling the same way and are seeking out the extra care a Doula can give them. I have been a Birth and Postnatal Doula for several years now, and am also a Lamaze Childbirth Educator providing 1-1 classes in antenatal preparation and baby care. I have special classes to help parents prepare for twins, homebirth, waterbirth, and parenting a new baby/babies. I am also a qualified antenatal teacher with the NCT and facilitate group classes in the Rugby/Coventry area. As a single mother I have an affinity with the special challenges of one parent families, or families where one partner is unavailable much of the time to offer support.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Welcome to the world Baby Ariadne!

Welcome indeed to this little princess, born at home, in the bath on the 25th September 2010
Congratulations to Kayleigh and Antony for the lovely birth of their first daughter!
Thank you for sharing your precious moments with me - you were awesome!

.........Welcome to Baby Lilia!.............

Congratulations to Anna who gave birth to baby Lilia on the 12th August 2010, Well done Anna, you are amazing!!!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

.......Welcome Baby Alfred......

Welcome Baby Alfred, born in water, in the hospital birthing pool. A really lovely, sacred, peaceful and completely natural labour and birth.
Well done to his mum, Sarah for achieving something so beautiful! and thank you for giving me the privalage of supporting you. xxxxx

Sunday, 4 July 2010

a doula experience...

A lovely article written for a magazine...

My Magical Doula Experience

New Mum Jenny Winser shares her birth story

When Jenny Winser had her first baby, she knew a little about doulas: enough that is to know that she didn’t need one. Jenny tells us here why she changed her mind and how, after a difficult first pregnancy, doula Fay Thomson helped her to have a really positive birth experience the second time around.

I emailed Fay 3½ months into my pregnancy after suffering severe sickness and feeling really depressed about things - I just wanted someone to talk to other than family. In the main, my issue was a feeling of being disconnected from the child I was carrying. I am sure most women who are expecting their second child worry about having enough love for two children but for me it was more than that. I had an extremely difficult first pregnancy and nearly lost the baby on a number of occasions. Because of this I was extremely protective of my son early on. Whilst I was suffering severe sickness with this pregnancy, it was not in danger and so for me the protection instinct wasn’t so strong. Having previously been told it was medically unlikely that I would have any more children, I had focussed on the benefits of having an only child which increased my worries about bonding and of suffering from post-natal depression.

Birth Preparation
After meeting Fay I knew I had made a good decision. She was reassuring and supportive to both me and my partner. We talked through my previous birth experience and my fears for the birth. We talked about how my partner felt during the birth of our son and what role he wanted to play this time. We talked about breastfeeding which did not happen with my son due to problems during his birth and my confidence at the time. I would not have breastfed this time around if it wasn’t for Fay. Fay also introduced me to hypno birthing techniques through a CD which I was really sceptical about at first but actually worked to give me a really positive birth experience. Fay was also at the end of the phone at any time throughout the pregnancy.

The Birth
On the days leading up to the birth I contacted Fay on a regular basis with updates. I went into labour 5 days late feeling ready to face it. I don’t really know when my Braxton Hicks transferred to true labour and I genuinely believe this was because I was able to remain calm thanks to my birth preparation. In the early hours my partner called Fay and she came to the house where we prepared to go to hospital. It was reassuring to have someone with us who knew the hospital procedures and who could help my partner keep calm. It felt nice to know that there was someone there for him so that he could be there for me without being too stressed. After being at the hospital for less than 3 hours my beautiful baby girl Ella Grace Rose was born. Fay was there the whole time and helped me control my breathing which resulted in a really positive birth experience. Shortly after delivery Ella attached to the breast and was able to feed.

To those that worry about sharing the intimacy of birth with a stranger I would say firstly a doula is not a stranger. By the time I gave birth, both I and my partner had built a strong relationship with Fay. Secondly, a doula is not a physically intimate role - they are there for emotional and/or practical support. My partner certainly felt the benefit of this support which cannot be given by hospital staff in the same way.

Back at Home
Once at home Fay continued to provide me with support on breastfeeding and by just coming round in the mornings for an hour while I had a bath. I did bond with my beautiful daughter but did still feel vulnerable after the birth so it was nice to have someone checking in on me. The only downside I can think of with having a Doula is saying goodbye. Fay has to go on to help other women and she has her own family to look after but I do hope that we don’t lose touch and that I have made a friend. I will certainly tell my daughter about the special person that was there on her journey into the world.


Thursday, 24 June 2010


Workshop: Vaginal Birthing following Caesarean Section(s)

Commonly referred to as VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean)

Presented by Tina Coley, UK Regional Co-ordinator for ICAN, an experienced Recognised Birth Doula specialising in VBAC

who herself has had a VBAC after 3 previous caesareans


Gill Blayney PDC.Hyp BSCH – Practitioner in Clinical Hypnotherapy & HypnoBirthing@ (Mongan Method) & Doula

This course is aimed at mothers or couples who, for one reason or another, have experienced a caesarean section birth (commonly known as c-section). It is aimed at educating mothers or couples and will provide the necessary facts and information to enable parents to feel more empowered this time around.

The workshop will include the following:

1. A safe environment to explore the reasons for the previous caesarean(s) and the physical and psychological effects.

2. The facts about VBAC, including statistics, risks and relevant studies

3. How to put together a flexible birth plan aimed at increasing your chance of a successful natural birth

4. How to minimise risk

5. How to retain control should things not go to plan

This workshop will also provide an opportunity to begin the healing process which will allow past traumatic and/or emotional experiences, together with all associated memories to begin to mend, in a gentle, private and homeopathic way. Following this session you will notice the “raw” edge has been taken away from your discomforts and you will be able to move forward feeling more optimistic and hopeful about your future, whatever you’re planning.

After attending this course you will be in full possession of the facts, which will always take into account the safety of baby and mum as its first and foremost priority. You will be able to stand your ground and get an opportunity to experience the birth you hope for, whilst still remaining flexible to be able to adapt should certain circumstances arise – learn how to create a sensible, flexible birth plan to cover your individual requirements and outcomes.

Location of Workshop: Pitsford Village , Northampton

Day: SATURDAY Date: 24th July 2010 Time: 10am until 3pm

Early Bird Discount Prices £45** per person or £70 per couple

Places are limited; you may consider reserving your place with a deposit £20.

**Early bird discount available if paid deposit by 10/7/10. ( Normal prices £60 &£90).

Refreshments & light lunch provided. For more information please contact:

Tina Coley : 07515 527 199

Website: http://vbacqueen.webs.com

Gill Blayney: 01604 643356 or 07801 367 989

Website: www.abcbirthing.co.uk email: info@abcbirthing.co.uk

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

.....Join me on Facebook.....

..............................Sacred Spirlal Doula on facebook...................................

Saturday, 24 April 2010

New film about Doulas

New film all about Doulas... due to be released June 2010


Friday, 9 April 2010

..... Welcome Baby Martha Elsee!!...

The beautiful baby Martha Elsee was born at home in water on 25th February 2010... lovingly welcomed into the arms of mum and dad (Sally & Benny) in their living room!
a lovely day with special memories of a perfect birth in the family home...
well done and congratulations!!!!!!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Is there a place for Doulas?

I was invited to attend a meeting of midwives recently to give them some information on how doulas in the local area are supporting women.
I met some lovely ladies, obviously very dedicated in their role of providing care to women using their maternity services.
One of the midwives present commented that she felt that doulas were unnecessary as SHE builds relationships with the women in her community role, and offers them all the support and information they need. This has certainly got me thinking....... what is it that we, as doulas offer that a community midwife doesn’t?
Well, I suppose the best angle to look at this from is in fact the expectant mum’s one, and as a mother of five children I think this is the way I am going to consider it.
I would like to say that I have had wonderful support from the community midwives who have offered me care throughout all my pregnancies – this has always been the best professional medical care that the NHS could offer, (according to the protocols of the particular area I have lived in at the time) and these midwives have shown unfailing support within their abilities.
I had my first four children, following religiously any advice or intervention ‘offered’ I say this with tongue a little in cheek because at the time, in my total ignorance, I was not aware that any of these ‘offerings’ were in fact ‘choices’!!
During my 4th pregnancy I became very depressed and frightened of ‘procedures’ that would be done to me, yet again without really understanding WHY they needed to be done, and how the results (or interpretation of these results) may alter the care being offered to me.
I have a wonderfully supportive husband, but his ability to support me through this journey was limited, he had had a very sad experience himself within a previous relationship where his partner had given birth to a stillborn son, therefore my husband was himself frightened and powerless to support me very much at all.
During my 3rd and 4th pregnancies I had made it absolutely apparent that my husband would need extra support during my labours as I knew he would suffer emotionally, and would be unable to support me adequately due to his fear of losing another baby. Our community midwife had made a ‘note’ of this so I had felt confident that come Labour day this would be of utmost importance to my caregivers. I could not have been more wrong... he had no significant support at all. One of my husband’s biggest fears had been the machine that continuously monitored the baby’s heartbeat (I was never told I had a ‘choice’ to be connected to this machine at all) and he would freeze while watching and listening to baby’s changing rhythm. I have to say he was terrified! I would explain to the present midwife what his problem was, and can we have the monitor sound turned down and the machine turned away, which she happily did... then the next midwife came in and turned it all back again, so we asked again for it all to be turned around... then the doctor came in and turned it back again!!!!
THIS is where I would have paid in gold for a doula to be with us!!
She would have supported my husband, and helped protect our space, reduced my stress levels and she would have given my husband the support he needed and the tools to support me.
I never knew any of the midwives who helped me while I delivered my first four children.. they were all labour ward midwives this is all I know, their names and faces were never really absorbed in the short time they were part of my care team, and never remembered – yet these women were the first to touch my new born baby, and the first to make decisions for the immediate care of my children – my husband certainly doesn’t remember anything of these births we shared which he considers traumatic and a medical procedure (even though they were ‘normal’ births)
I can remember going home after my stay in hospital after each birth, shaken, traumatised and with strong feelings of disempowerment.
THIS is where I would have given my left arm to have a doula!
She would have been a continuous presence for me, available to support me, my husband and the rest of our family as needed.
Throughout my maternity care with these first four babies I had never been given clear information that may/or may not have altered my choices in childbirth.
I had never been told that it was my choice to homebirth
I had never been told that I had choices in 3rd stage management
I had never been told that it was my ultimate choice what tests and monitoring I had throughout my maternity care including labour and birth.
Considerable pressure was put on me to comply with consultants wishes for my care, despite my weak protestations. I was vulnerable, frightened for my baby, concerned for my husband and felt very, very alone..
THIS is where I would have cried in the arms of a doula!
She would have given me emotional support that would have made me feel not so alone and frightened. She may have given me skills and information to help me make informed choices for my care. She would have given me the confidence to believe in myself and the choices I made.
Until a friend told me about them not long before I became pregnant with my 5th child.
And that’s when I trained to be one!
Again, I had the care of a wonderful community midwife, she was very helpful, and seemed pleased that I was aware of the choices I could make, and was happy to support them (as she didn’t really have much choice herself I suppose!)
We spent long appointments discussing homebirths/hospital births, tests, managed V physiological 3rd stage!!! What a difference a bit of information can make! But she admits it would never have been information she would have given freely.
I felt empowered to trust my own body; I no longer feared the process of childbirth!
A Doula could have helped me achieve this! And it was only the fact that I was NOW a doula that helped me achieve it this time.
During pregnancy a doula meets with parents several times. She puts in place a support package which includes information, and birth preparation sessions to help both parents understand the birthing process and how to prepare for it, physically, mentally and emotionally. At no time should she offer any ‘advice’ or interfere with the relationship between midwives and parents.
My 5th child was born at home. I was attended by community midwives who were lovely, but still unknown to me or my husband as neither of them were my ‘regular’ midwife. This potential situation had been a concern for me as they would not have understood my husband’s fears (and if they did i was unaware of it) but my regular community midwife could not guarantee that she would be available to be called to me in labour, and it could have been anyone within the community team..
But my doula would have been available 24/7 to be with me – and I would know I could depend on having someone familiar who understood my wishes and needs. She would not be going off shift either, but would be dedicated to stay with me throughout the time I would need her, whether at home or hospital. She would NOT offer any clinical care, but just to know she was there and knew me would be plenty.
This was the only birth of our children that my husband actually remembers with any clarity! It had been an empowering and healing experience for both of us.
A doula would understand what this meant to us.
A doula is NOT a replacement for a midwife, she does not offer support instead of a midwife, she does not attempt to obstruct the relationship of parents and midwife.
A doula offers additional emotional and practical support, and at all times is focused on helping parents to achieve a more empowered, satisfying birthing experience whose main caregiver at all times will be a medical professional, whether it be a midwife, doctor or other.
It can be easy to consider birth as a small part in a woman’s journey to becoming a mother, and we often stumble through the experience with our eyes closed. A doula believes that whatever a woman’s childbirth choices are, as long as they are HER choices, will ultimately produce a more confident, satisfied mother and woman.
Doulas are women who have been ‘through the system’ as pregnant, birthing women, and KNOW how it feels... and we recognise that there is a need for more personalised support. We have not just woken up one day and decided that we will carve a place for ourselves, whether there is a ‘need’ for us or not, we haven’t decided that we will force ourselves on women, and convince them that they need us! We ARE those women! We recognise the need for doulas and have become them due to our own experiences. WE are a product of the very system that cannot provide all the support some of us feel we have needed in our birthing journeys, and we feel passionately about providing it to others so they don’t have to feel the same loss and disempowerment that we have.
I know there can be intolerance and suspicion from midwives directed at doulas, but I would beg you to realise that we are the very same women that you support throughout pregnancy and birth, and by questioning our service as doulas you are also devaluing our choices as women in your care. Instead of telling us that you don’t think doulas are needed, because you feel you offer all the support that a woman could want, please consider this: - if that were true, why are we here? And where have we come from?
On a positive note, well done and thank you midwives!! Especially the ones working in challenging areas – you’re doing a wonderful job and you are invaluable to our care in this country, birth wouldn’t and couldn’t have the opportunity to be a great experience without you! xxx