Doulas

Being indie doulas

When looking for a doula locally, women are frequently directed towards Doula UK, a membership association of birth and postnatal doulas in the UK. You will notice however that none of the Greater Manchester Doulas are listed in the Find a Doula directory of doulas, as none of us are members of Doula UK. We are proud to be independent doulas!

Snapseed (4)Why are we independent?

Being independent is an important part of our ethos and is very much reflected in the way that we work. As independent doulas, we value independence and autonomy, not just for ourselves, but more importantly for you too.

When we chose to be fully independent, we chose:

  • a commitment to ensure that we are completely women-centred; offering non-judgemental support to women remains at the heart of what we do,
  • to work with doulas who shared the same philosophy of reproductive experiences and how this impacts the support we offer,
  • to work alongside like-minded women who will support and mentor each other with compassion and without judgement, helping each other to be the best doulas we can be.

What does this mean?

As independent doulas, we have no agenda and no interest in serving any kind of authoritative body – we answer to nobody but you. Rather than trying to balance the way we work with being part of a body that we don’t fully align with, we are now able to support women in a way that is completely focussed on their needs with no outside limitations.

There are many myths about independent doulas and they are often criticised for various reasons – they do not following a code of conduct, are not required to keep their knowledge and skills up to date, are not part of a mentoring program, do not work with insurance, are not part of a membership community where they continually learn and develop.

Whilst we cannot speak for all indie doulas, we can say that every Greater Manchester Doula:

  • Has completed an initial preparation course and regularly seeks out CPD opportunities to learn and grow as a doula.

We believe that as doulas, we are so much more than the courses we have taken but we are also passionate about birth and reproductive experiences and for us the learning never stops. We are always reading new research and taking part in courses that support and expand our knowledge, and are more than happy to talk about this.

  • Is not just part of a doula community but one that completely reflects their ethos.

Part of the reason we chose to work together is because our philosophy of reproductive experiences and the way in which we support women is very much aligned. We know that when we reach out for support from each other, it will come from someone who really understands who we are as women and as doulas so we are supported to develop and grow in a way reflects our views and ethos.

  •  Values mentoring as a continuous practise.

We see a value in mentoring, not just at the beginning of our doula journeys but throughout. We continually reflect with each other on the way in which we work and on specific experiences of working with women. We use our individual experience as doulas to support each other and take new learning from every woman that we work with.

  • Has appropriate insurance.

We all have up to date insurance for the work that we do and use written contracts to ensure that everyone is in agreement about what is expected of them.

  • Is committed to following the Greater Manchester Doulas’ Philosophy and Code of Conduct.

An important part of being independent is being able to follow a philosophy and code of conduct that fully reflects who we are and what we believe in.

Get in touch if you’d like to chat more about our work as indie doulas!

Doulas

5 doula myths… busted!

We often hear that doulas are only for a certain type of woman wanting a certain type of birth, but thankfully that just isn’t true! As doulas we offer support to a wide variety of women and families; women from different communities, with different needs, and planning all kinds of births. We thought we would bust some myths about doulas, what we do and who we support…

1. Isn’t a doula just like a midwife?! I don’t need both.Mother holding a newborn baby in a birth pool

In short no! A doula is not just like a midwife. Each role is very distinct, and has a different place in a woman’s birthing journey.

A midwife’s job is focused on the physical well being of a woman and her baby, centred around the clinical aspects of pregnancy and birth.

Doulas on the other hand are not clinically trained, so we don’t perform clinical tasks or give medical advice – that’s where your doctor or midwife might come in! Instead we give you emotional, physical, and practical support, and signpost to relevant information, so that you can make informed choices yourself.

2. I have a birth partner already, I wouldn’t want a doula to replace them!

We love that you have a supportive birth partner, and we would never want to replace them, or interfere with the relationship you have with them. We imagine they know you better than we ever could, and that is so special and valuable – especially in the birth space.

As doulas we want to work with birth partners; supporting them to be a confident support for you. Sometimes this will look like reassurance and guidance for them, or we might take on more practical tasks so your birth partner can focus on giving you all the emotional and physical support you need. We are there to step in so they can take a break: during labour your body is flooded with all kinds of good hormones so you can stay in your birthing bubble – but it is always the cold light of day for your birth partner. It can be a huge comfort to know they are able to step out to eat, sleep, use the toilet etc. and be in the best place possible to support you.

We would hope to get to know your birth partner antenatally, and we even offer a separate meeting with them so we can really work together as a team to give you the very best support.

We believe that women are strong, capable and the experts on their bodies and babies. No matter what you want for your birth, we want you to feel respected, in control, and powerful3. Doulas are only for women who are having a natural home birth.

Doulas are for all women and every birth! We want to support you to have whatever kind of birth you want, be that a hospital birth with pain relief, a caesarean birth, a home water birth, or anything in between.

We support your birth choices with compassion and without judgement. We want to help ensure that you feel respected throughout your pregnancy and birth, and supported in the choices you make so you can look back on your experience positively, with warmth and pride.

4. I can’t have a doula because I’m having a caesarean.

A doula can still provide invaluable support if you have a caesarean birth. Here are just some of the ways we can give support:

  • Support you to be informed about what to expect and what your options are
  • Guide you in writing your birth preferences
  • Be an advocate for you and support you in your birth choices
  • Support you pre-theatre, practically and emotionally, so you feel as relaxed as possible and looking forward to the birth of your baby
  • Be present for you, your birth partner and your baby throughout, and hold space for whatever is going on for you at the time
  • Help to facilitate skin-to-skin, bonding, and breastfeeding after birth
  • Give you practical and emotional support after your caesarean, helping with self-care and giving you the opportunity to reflect back on your birthing experience with us.

5. Doulas are too expensive!

mydoulawasworththemoola

We know that hiring a doula can be a big investment for some, but is your birth experience worth investing in?

Women who choose to invest in doula support are less likely to need an epidural, less likely to have a caesarean birth, and more likely to birth at home, with better rates of exclusive breastfeeding at six weeks compared with national average.*

Saying that, we know that the cost of doula support can be a barrier for lots of women. Whilst we still have bills to pay, and families of our own to support, we are not in this for the money – we love what we do and are passionate about supporting women. We want to be as accessible as possible for all women, so our fee is based on a sliding scale and we just trust that you will pay what you are able to within that. We are also more than open to payment plans and skill swaps, so if you want our support please don’t let finances stop you from getting in touch!

http://nurturingbirth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/MIDIRS_Research-PDF.pdf