Why I became a doula
During the course of my pregnancy, I transferred my care from a hospital in Surrey to a hospital in London. That was when I became aware that there were different policies and procedures depending on where you live. I was very disappointed by the lack of continuity and support. It wasn’t a collaboration, most of the plan was made without me and I was just expected to go along with it. I did challenge some aspects of my care. Sometimes the response was fine and other times I felt quite belittled.
In the end, my birth wasn’t the visionary birth I had hoped for… far from it. I don’t think I had enough information and didn’t have the positive support I needed at the time. During my birth, I met some amazing professionals (especially the Spanish and Italian midwives) that were caring, honest and beautiful souls. There were also professionals who should never be let anywhere near a postnatal or birthing woman. I was appalled by their complete lack of regard and competence. I thought this isn’t right!
I needed someone knowledgeable, someone who could navigate the system, to give me emotional and physical support when I needed it. I needed a Doula. I kept going over my experience and noting where a doula could have done that or helped me with this. I started looking into it more in preparation for my next birth and thought I could do this job!
I started to notice the treatment of labouring women and the disregard for even basic human rights… I was astounded. Coming from a mental health background it was always reinforced to me that everyone should be able to make informed decisions within their capacity. But in birth women are being treated like children incapable of making an informed choice. They are being coerced, harassed, manipulated and abused all during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives. Birth is being controlled by non-evidenced based policy when people should be getting treatment that is individualised to them and their circumstances. I thought I need to do something about this!
On a whim, I booked the next available training on my credit card and told everyone I was going to become a doula. Everyone was sceptical of course and thought I was absolutely mad! Visionary Births was born.