The dictionary definition of the word doula is:
A woman who gives support, help, and advice to another woman during pregnancy and during and after the birth.
We disagree with the use of the word advice; we also hesitate at the word help – it depends on the definition of help. Support is the word that works for us. We strongly believe that every woman should have a doula. Juliet likes to describe her first experience as birth partner to explain why we feel so passionately about this:
I was asked by a hypnobirthing couple to support them at their birth. Pregnant myself and not ever having seen a birth before I jumped at the chance. When they contacted me to say that labour had begun I couldn't get out of the house quick enough. I wanted to stop everyone in the street and tell them where I was going. It was amazingly exciting. At their house things were just as exciting; the midwives came to check what was happening and said they would come back later but an unexpectedly short while later it seemed as if things had stepped up to the next level. We telephoned the midwives and asked them to come. It took 45 minutes for the midwives to arrive. All the while I was in an internal state of panic. 45 minutes when I had never experienced labour before seemed an eternity. I however did not let on that I was concerned about this and reassured the birth partner that everything was perfectly fine (it was, the baby took hours to come). Having me there meant that I took on that unnecessary fear. The fear and concern that he would have had to deal with had I not been there. He was able to relax; I had told him everything was fine and in hand (it was). I had become the reassuring voice that ensured he felt safe and comfortable in the situation.
This, to us, is how a doula helps in birth. Other than a lot of birth preparation in the weeks leading up to your baby's birth day we take on the feelings of responsibility so that your birth partner can totally relax and fully support you.
The word doula is derived from the Greek word doúlos meaning slave. When supporting women in birth we do not see our role as a slave: yes, we will offer a sip of water when it’s needed; we will quietly lay a jasmine oil dipped handkerchief beside you whilst you relax in the pool. But we are on your team, we want to provide you with access to information so that you are brimming with knowledge in the weeks and months before birth. We want to love you, genuinely, because love is what a birthing woman needs. If you have a birth partner that is the other parent to your unborn child we want to enable him or her to support you and give you what you need. If you have a birth partner that is a friend/relative we want to help them help you. We want the relationship we develop with you prior to the birth, and the work we do together to create a bubble for you and your birth partner to birth within. We will remain outside the bubble ensuring it doesn’t burst. Inconspicuously making sure everything outside of that bubble stays just so to maintain the calm inside of it. Quietly. In the background.
Should there be other people present that want to divert from your ideal birth we know the questions to ask to ensure you are able to make an informed decision. We hope to ask you the right questions to help you search within and find your true birth preferences. Informed birth preferences.
Above everything though we are there to support you in what you want, from an elective caesarean to a natural birth in your forest.
If you have an unusual situation we will use our contacts to find the expert for your situation, making sure you do not make decisions based on the limited knowledge of a more general practitioner.
When we work with women in birth, from the moment we meet our intention is for you to feel special. Every woman growing and birthing a baby should feel special.
Our support doesn't end after you've given birth. We'll meet up after you're settled in back at home to talk through your experience and see how you're getting on.
If you'd like more ongoing support, we also offer postnatal doula services. Meg will provide practical and emotional support in the days, weeks and months following birth - giving your family precious time to relax and adjust to life with a new baby:
Postnatal doula support is available even if we weren't your birth doulas. Postnatal doula services are priced at £20 per hour, or £15 per hour when booked in bundles of 5 hours.
We are part of The Red Tent Doulas, having attended their doula course. But this is not our principal qualification or experience. Juliet's two natural home water births and Meg's change from medicated birth in which she was out of control to a beautiful natural homebirth are our most powerful qualifications. Our friendships and conversations with amazing midwives is our experience, our roles as birth partner are our qualifications. The countless conversations with pregnant couples discussing previous birth experiences and hopes for future birth experiences are our qualifications. Juliet's work with women in overcoming previous birth experiences are my qualifications. Meg's work photographing babies and being a listening ear to the new mums as they relax in her presence is her experience.
As doulas we work together. The ideal is for us both to be present at your birth. We find this works well as there is always one of us to be there on hand whilst the other telephones the midwives/sets up the pool/gets your bags to travel to the hospital etc. Sometimes due to our own childcare commitments it may be that one of us is there for more time than the other. With two of us ready on call from 38-42 weeks gestation we can guarantee that one of us will be able to come to you promptly when you need us.
We both live in Farnham, Surrey. We are happy to cover a wide, reasonable radius. Depending on the distance we may need to charge extra for travel and distance does need to be taken into consideration when calling us to your birth but we love birth so much and will travel to share this with you.
Our full doula service is just £795. Meg and Juliet (or just one of us, if you'd prefer) will be on call for the month around your due date and will support you before, during and after your birth and act as your advocate during labour.
Postnatal doula services are £20 per hour or £15 when booked in bundles of 5 hours.
Our doula services are also available in combination with our hypnobirthing and photography services.
It's completely normal to have lots of questions before birth.
Read our frequently asked questions to get the answers to some of the most common things we're asked.