I trained as a Birth Companion (doula) with the NCT (National Childbirth Trust), in 2011. My journey with the NCT began with the birth of our first son in 2002, when we attended the NCT antenatal classes. For me, his birth was traumatic, and so began my interest in birth and the importance of a positive experience.
In 2004 our daughter was born at home – a very positive and healing birth that helped me overcome the feelings I had been left with after our son’s birth. Around the same time several of our friends had their first babies, and looked to me for support, particularly with breastfeeding. Although I had breastfed both my children I felt I did not have the skills to support another mum, which inspired me to train with the NCT as a Breastfeeding Counsellor.
I began my training in 2006, and shortly after discovered I was pregnant with our third child! I completed the breastfeeding training in 2010, and since then I have thoroughly enjoyed providing breastfeeding support to many women.
My role includes teaching breastfeeding antenatal classes, running two drop-in groups at local children centres and training peer supporters. I support women through meeting them at the drop-in groups, telephone and email support, and I am also able to visit them at home. I understand the value of having someone to listen attentively in a non-judgemental way.
Although my work with the NCT focusses on breastfeeding, it also overlaps with the subject of birth. I enjoyed teaching the antenatal classes, and also seeing women at the groups with their babies, but I felt that the middle part of the story – the birth – was missing. My awareness and understanding of the impact of birth on a baby’s ability to breastfeed, and also the effect on the parents of a positive birth experience drove me to train as a doula so that I might offer support from late pregnancy through labour and birth to early days with a new baby.
In September 2011 I began the nine month course to train as an NCT Birth Companion. I completed the course in May 2012, and in June I attended my first birth in this role. I am now a member of Doula UK.
Pregnancy, birth and the transition to parenthood is a special and amazing journey, and I am proud to be able to offer support in this vulnerable period of people’s lives.