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.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

an unimaginable loss

           Yesterday I attended a study day for NCT practitioners to deepen their knowledge and understanding of loss, the theories and processes involved and how to support parents who have been touched by Loss and bereavement around pregnancy, birth and postnatally. This is quite a taboo subject for discussion in our society, however it needs to be acknowledged, especially amongst birth workers that it does happen. There are 3, 600 stillbirths alone in the UK (NHS) and with about 15-20% miscarriage rate loss is something that may have touched many parents at some point in their lives. Even if this isn't a direct experience of theirs, they may well have been touched by the experience of a friend, family member, neighbour or colleague. As an antenatal teacher one of the things I can try and do is signpost any grieving parents onto charities which specialise in offering support, counselling, and practical knowledge. I have compiled a list below, but please feel free to contact me to add others if you see I have missed any or the ones I have need updating.

Where do people go for support: 

SANDS: stillbirth and neonatal death charity https://www.uk-sands.org

Cruse: Bereavement care http://www.cruse.org.uk

Lullaby Trust: Safer sleep for babies - support for families http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk

Bliss: For babies born too sick, too small, too soon http://www.bliss.org.uk

Tommy's: Funding research into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage, and providing information for parents-to-be http://www.tommys.org

Willow Tree Centre: advice and support around pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion and stillbirth http://www.thewillowtreecentre.org.uk

Miscarriage Association: advice and support around miscarriage http://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk

Child Bereavement UK: supporting families when a baby or child of any age is dying or when a child is facing bereavement: http://www.childbereavementuk.org

TAMBA: Twin and Multiple Birth Association http://www.tamba.org.uk

Sadly all the support in the world cannot change what has happened, but with lots of good support from trained and dedicated people there can be a way of rebuilding lives when loss occurs. Its also important to recognise that it isn't just the parents who feel the loss, but also the grandparents, siblings, friends and colleagues. These organisations and charities are there for all.

Several years ago I attended a conference by the Association of Radical Midwives (ARM) who had invited a mother to come and talk to us about her experience of losing her son at birth. This remarkable woman, Mel Scott,  not only spoke eloquently and passionately about her experience, and how midwives (and doulas) can support a family at this time, but she has also written a book too called After Finley, A diary of events following her sons birth. I obtained a copy of her book as soon as I could, and read it cover to cover. a truly touching and expressive telling of their unimaginable loss, but also an account of the practicalities of what was happening in the weeks and months following. please support Mel's cause by following her website, Finleys Footprints and purchasing her book


Some on-line sources of information are here:

NCT: coping with stillbirth http://www.nct.org.uk

NHS: coping with stillbirth http://www.nhs.uk

   I will always hold the memories of the stillbirths I have supported as a doula close to my heart, these tiny lives were over before they even had a chance to start, such a bitter sweet moment of joy at meeting the new babe but knowing that this is all it is going to be melts the soul.  For these parents who displayed so much dignity in their pain, I hold a special place in my heart, and always will. 
It has also been an absolute joy to have supported the same parents birth again, and while their new babies can never replace the ones lost, it has been a special moment indeed to see arms that have been empty for far too long cradling their new baby.

                                                     "No mother should ever have to walk
                                                      this lonely and painful road
                                                      the death of a beautiful child you know
                                                      is just too heavy a load"

Quote from 'Beautiful Boy - RIP Darling Adrian' by Cara Veronica Doyle

Please support Baby loss awareness day 15th October: http://www.babyloss-awareness.org

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