What is a Doula? By The Dungaree Doula

I have admired The Dungaree Doula on social media for some times and am always learning something new about pregnancy and the 4th trimester (which few people talk about!) through her posts. At My Mindful Movement we have Pregnancy Friendly classes however these are now all available for free on YouTube. We are still dedicated to helping pregnant people as much as we can, so sharing this wonderfully written post by Meg, The Dungaree Doula. Enjoy!

Hi guys, I’m Meg AKA The Dungaree Doula, a doula, hypnobirthing teacher, workshop facilitator and avid yogi. I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for many years but it wasn’t until I became pregnant and found Helens channel that I began practicing everyday, and now here we are – my clients have no choice but to do the same (they do really!) and I’m a recent MMM member and loving it so far.

If you’re wondering what a doula or hypnobirthing teacher is, you’re not alone, whilst both are slowly gaining popularity, they’re nowhere near being the norm for our antenatal or birth practices. So let me explain, a doula is an individual who supports pregnant people 121 throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond, we all work a little differently and do things our own way, we have our own specialisms and niches and differing driving forces behind our work. For me personally I had a bit of a rough fourth trimester after having my first bambino (the fourth trimester is the 12 week period immediately following birth) despite having a really great birth, all thanks to hypnobirthing. Around a year into parenting I started to look into training up to be a hypnobirthing teacher when I discovered doulas, my mind was blown. I felt like if I’d known about doulas and had the support of one my postpartum would have been so much different, I knew that I wanted to train as one and signed up to become a doula almost immediately.

So what do we do? Well doulas offer support throughout pregnancy, our clients can call, text, or email us anytime for support with anything, we’ll meet up a few times and help with birth prep, calming fears or anxieties, relaxation, practical stuff or whatever they need. Then we go on call, this is the exciting bit, I go on call from the moment my clients hit 37 weeks pregnant until the day they give birth. When my clients go into labour they call me up and I attend them at their home or chosen birth place and support them throughout their birth experience, it is a magical role and one that I feel very honored to be trusted with. We stick around for a few hours after birth, maybe offering feeding support, tidying up the aftermath, ensuring everyone is well and then we go home in a haze of oxytocin* fuelled bliss and ride that high for the next few days. (*oxytocin is the hormone that drives labour forward, it’s also the love hormone that we all hopefully feel everyday). Then we support our clients postpartum with whatever they need, again it depends on the doula, my specialisms are babywearing and breastfeeding so I offer hands on support in both those areas, I’m also a listening ear, a tea and food maker, a signposter, a baby holder whilst my clients have a well deserved rest/bath/chill out, and sometimes an occupier of older kiddos. After a few postpartum sessions we part ways, but I’m always around for a text, catch up, or follow on work. It’s truly a beautiful job.

As a hypnobirthing teacher I run antenatal courses to help people prepare for birth and beyond. Hypnobirthing is amazing, it’s full of practical information to help people understand how birth works, the science behind it and how to help it along, people have a misconception that it’s a load of nonsense but everything we teach is backed up by science, research and evidence, it’s also full of absolutely brilliant decision making tools. It’s also a lot of mindset work, rewriting how we think and feel about birth to relieve those fears society feeds us about how birth has to be terrifying and awful (it doesn’t!). It’s comprehensive education, it’s also full of tools that you can use throughout your life, it parallels yoga in that way – the breathing techniques, visualisation, relaxation are all part of something much bigger which can have a whole body and mind impact.
I wish that every pregnant person had the chance to take a hypnobirthing course because this knowledge and these tools truly revolutionize birth, however people choose to birth and whatever comes up during birth. We all know that birth can sometimes be unpredictable, another hypnobirthing misconception is that it’s only for low risk pregnant people planning fancy home births – it’s not. Hypnobirthing covers all scenarios, all birth places, all risks and ensures that we cater to everybodies preferences, we’re not here to sway people towards our ideal birth experience, hypnobirthing teachers are here to help support people to get the birth that they so want and deserve, the birth that is right for one person and their baby will differ from person to person, and that is so valid.

If you’re considering taking a hypnobirthing course or looking for doula support then first of all, YAY! You won’t regret it. Secondly, my biggest piece of advice would be to look around, decide whether you would like in person support or virtual support and see what’s out there. As much as I would love to say, come work with me I’m the best, that wouldn’t be fair because whilst I’m the best for some people I’m not for everyone and that’s important. Ensure that you look at all your options and find the support that’s right for you, most doulas will offer free consultations where you can chat and ask questions, find out more about them and see if they’re the right doula for you. Most hypnobirthing teachers will offer free taster sessions or consultations, again attend a few and get a feel for who you think would be your perfect fit. It’s such an important and monumental time in your life, you need somebody on your wavelength on the journey alongside you. And finally, you’ve got this! Our bodies, brains and babies are incredibly clever, they know how to give birth, getting back in touch with that innate knowledge is a wonderful thing.

If you’d like to know more about me, either because you’d like to work together or just because you’re interested in my work and life then I’d love to have you over in my little corner of the internet, I’m on Instagram and Facebook as @thedungareedoula (I live in dungarees if you’re wondering), and my website is thedungareedoula.co.uk
I work both in person in Leeds and online. My offerings are for everybody and they are inclusive by nature. I offer pay what you can afford birth prep and hypnobirthing courses every other month as I want as many people as possible to be able to benefit from this work. Do get in touch if you have any questions about anything, even if you just want to be a little nosey about anything mentioned here.

Many thanks to Helen for giving me a platform to share a little bit about myself and my role here, and if you’ve read this far – thank you too x