I am mum to two kids (aged 9 and 7), we've lived in Cheshire for about 5 years now, and have really enjoyed exploring the area. Whilst everyone else in the house is a real technophile my hobby of choice is crochet. I don't often crochet for myself but love making items for others.
My business is called Doula D, because for years friends have called me D rather than Donna and I am a doula. I don't sell any products, but I do offer a range of services which are all about supporting families through pregnancy and beyond. I want to be a hub of support and knowledge for families in my community.
I offer lots of different services, my work focuses around group sessions in the community (baby massage, bumps and baby groups, postnatal groups, baby carrying support) and one to one work with families or individuals as a postnatal doula supporting families after the birth or their baby or babies. The support I give might be practical, emotional, informational, logistical, in fact the only thing I won't do is iron (I'm totally rubbish at it). I also offer baby massage, baby carrying consultations, rewind technique and closing the bones as one to one sessions.
I try and support families in whatever way they need, filling the gaps in their lives so that they can find their way as parents. It really is very different for every family I work with, but in those early days with a new baby someone focused on the parents and their welfare can be really beneficial. I share the skills and knowledge I have in all sorts of ways, I still volunteer at my local breastfeeding support group and provide sling support in the community, run a local pregnancy, parent and baby group, facilitate infant massage courses as well as the NCT courses I facilitate.
One of the advantages to having a range of skills is that I can offer new ways of looking at a situation and tools for families to use. If you book with me as a doula, my other services are all available to you as part of the package, if you book a different service with me you have access to all my skills and knowledge.
My own experience of becoming a mother taught me the value of what real support looked like. My own parents had passed away many years before my children were born and I was very lucky to have wonderful support from my partner, his parents and a great community of friends. I'd worked in IT for years and after the kids were born had started volunteering in a children's centre as a breastfeeding peer supporter. Over the years through volunteering I met many families that didn't have the level of support I did, for all sorts of different reasons.
That's when I changed direction and began training with the NCT to become an Essentials antenatal and Postnatal practitioner. But I could see that this would not give me the skills and knowledge to do everything I wanted to. So as a 40th birthday treat to myself I signed up for two courses. A Developing Doulas doula preparation course, and a Slingababy consultants course. Working through these courses alongside the workload for my NCT studies was hard work, especially with two children but I really felt that the combination of everything gave me the skills, knowledge and confidence to work with families and give them the support they really need.
Since completing these courses I have added infant massage, closing the bones, rewind technique to my skills and knowledge. I am currently studying towards my holistic sleep coaching qualification so that I can offer support and evidence based gentle strategies to help parents with their child's sleep.
I love so much about my job, as a doula I support families as they find their way, until they no longer need me, and what I really love is working with families in all my different roles, seeing their confidence build as they get to know themselves as parents and begin to develop their relationship with their baby. I find the rewind technique the most powerful of my offerings, it's a trauma release technique that utilises relaxation and discussion helping you find a way through trauma and to release the emotions associated with it. To work with someone and help them find the power within themselves to move through it is really empowering, seeing the change in that how that person feels and faces day to day life is really amazing.
It is also really wonderful to see how much clients get out of a closing the bones session, it is not something many people have heard of, but I would love it be something given as a gift to all new mothers. It provides an opportunity to reflect on experiences in a safe space with someone who will listen with compassion and understanding, closing the bones is a gentle nurturing massage of the hips and abdomen with essential oils to enhance relaxation. The session is focused on nurturing a woman, and offering her an opportunity to rest and recuperate, this is such a valuable gift for new mothers, I almost feel like I am casting a little protective bubble from the outside world around them, giving them some precious "me time".
Honestly for me, the hardest thing about being a business owner is combating impostor syndrome, having the confidence to sell myself and what I can do. My business is me, and it feels really hard to sell me, I know I have a lot to offer a core component of the way I work is taking a non-judgemental approach and being willing to hold space for my clients as they work through things. Supporting them with evidence-based information, offering perspective and alternative approaches to support them in reaching their goals. It can sometimes be hard for people to see why they might need this sort of support. I really believe that all new families could benefit from some doula support, especially in those first few weeks when everything is new. Having someone who is willing to spend time with new families, with no agenda, to provide support, allow them some breathing space to build their skills and nurture their baby and themselves is invaluable.
Self-care is so important, its hard sometimes to put yourself first as a mum, there is always so much everyone else needs you to do. Being a doula can be a very draining job, you have to give a lot of yourself to it, as you hear people’s stories, you carry a part of that with you, so I find I have to be quite strict with myself in terms of taking time out and resting. I always promote self care to my clients, it's key factor in wellbeing, so I have to try and practice what I preach. Find something you enjoy that enriches you and do it as often as you can.
To find out more information, have a look at my Facebook and Instagram you can find me with @doulad.cheshire and my website is www.doulad.co.uk My website has details of all the services I offer and prices, whilst facebook tells you what I am up to, where I am in the community and what courses and sessions I have running.
I'd love to offer any reader 10% off a closing the bones session for themselves or someone else, just quote ABIGAIL when they get in touch to get the discount.
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