Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my life as a birth doula and answering some interesting questions from friends and colleagues about my role.

The conversations I have had have made me think about the crossover between my doula life and my personal one and how I can use the knowledge from one and implement it in my daily life.

Research has shown that hiring a doula can have a positive effect on a woman’s experience of birth and in today’s article, I thought it would be good to write down the top five things that I have been reflecting on from my doula world.

  1. Relax and take your time

We rush from one thing to another in our busy lives, not focusing on one thing at a time but spreading ourselves thinly. We fail to stop and really take notice of the world around us.

I have found that if a labouring woman is left to herself, without intervention and well-meaning cheerleading from her observers, it can be an amazing process to watch. She trusts that the process will take some time and her body will perform and it’s all ok. It’s nature, and she goes with it.

Dim the lights and let it be.

Being present at a birth has helped me to rethink my ways of being in the world and slowing down a little to focus on one thing at a time. I take long walks with my dog first thing in the morning and I embrace the light and the rising sun and listen to the sounds of the birds. I allow time to flow like my labouring mother. No agenda. No rush.

2. Listen to your body

The labouring woman listens and trusts that her body will find it’s own rhythm and space. In an active birth, she will often finds a place to stand or squat  for each surge and she breaths her way through the sensations. She trusts that her body will do the work and she focuses inward

The benefits of an active birth

If we are busy rushing around, we don’t have time to listen to our body. There are so many sights and sounds, conflicting demands on our time and the whispers are being drowned out by the assault on our senses.

It’s time to do things differently.

3. A Divine Plan

I am often amazed by the woman’s body and how it works. I love watching nature take its course and it makes me feel that there is a wonderful divine plan at work. Watching this process unfold is incredible and I always feel privileged to be part of a woman’s birth story.

I think about this grand design when I am walking the dog and I look at the trees and the sky and enjoy my time in nature. Whether you believe that there is a great divine plan and who it is created by – God, The  Universe, Nature – you don’t have to have a name for it to enjoy it.

4.  Surround yourself with support

Women book doula’s for a number of reasons. They may have had a difficult first birth and feel that they would like more support this time around. They may be first-time mums and feel that they are bombarded with negativity from others and are looking for a more balanced and positive view of the birthing world.

 having a companion fully present in the moment, can be tremendously beneficial to her mental health and confidence. 

Since starting my business, I have found amazing support from others in the small business world. There’s a wonderful community of women who are there for each other and willing to listen to the business issue of the day or help with suggestions. Sometimes just knowing that they are there and that they have my best interests at heart can feel great.

This makes me think about how a doula can support a birthing woman by walking alongside her during her transition from woman to mother.

Listening, watching and being.

5. The use of alternative therapies

I have been interested in the use of alternative therapies for many years and got a lot of benefit from treatments in the past, but it’s only recently when treating my pregnancy ladies that I have seen first hand how helpful they can be.

The benefits of maternity reflexology are plentiful.

I help my clients relax and feel strong and empowered during their pregnancy with reflexology and positive birthing classes in my garden space. Towards the end of their pregnancy, I can encourage a natural labour with a treatment especially deigned for induction, if the baby is ready.

I love using aromatherapy oils during labour by placing a few drops on a tissue on the radiator to scent the room or added to a carrier oil for a massage or reflexology session.

There are some oils that are helpful during pregnancy and some that you should avoid. 

I use a reiki self-healing ritual in the morning to clear my energy before the day and sometimes at night after my bath. Alternative therapies can have a subtle effect and can really help you in day to day life.

Best job in the world!

I love my role in promoting a positive birth experience for a woman and her partner and I relish adapting when I learn from doula-ing for use in my life.

I now listen to myself a lot more and when I’m tired, I rest. When I’m hungry I eat healthy foods or a smoothie. I surround myself with happy, supportive women and I allow nature to take its course instead of trying to rush things.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my top five take-aways and it’s made you think about ideas to implement in your daily routine. I would love to hear about five values or activities that you take from your work into your life so comment in the box below.

Contact me

If you would like to chat about how I can help to support you during your birth or pregnancy, please drop me a line elisabeth@thegardensanctuary.co.uk and we’ll arrange to chat.

If you’re interested in booking a reflexology or reiki session with me, please book an appointment by clicking this link.