By Victoria Fox
Although I’ve not yet taken on any clients, this is my journey to where I am now and why I trained to be a doula!
I first heard about doulas after I gave birth to my son in April 2020. I was speaking to a fellow new mum about how we would love to be involved with birth but didn’t feel midwifery would be a good fit, and she mentioned Doulas. I had no idea what she was talking about! We spent hours talking about it and it occurred to me that my sister had been acting as my doula even though none of us knew it was a role that existed. I felt very lucky to have had that support. I could see first hand how beneficial it could be to other pregnant women and people, even though Covid-19 meant my sister could not attend the birth in the end or visit me postnatally.
I was on maternity leave when I trained as a doula. My job at the time was Front of House Administrator for the Deafness Support Network. I enjoyed this work as it was incredibly varied – I got to help people with hearing (and sight) loss everyday and it meant I could use my British Sign Language (BSL) skills. I didn’t return to this role, however, as I wanted to dedicate myself to doulaing. Then I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant again!
I’d been to one birth before training to be a doula. I was 21 years old and a birth partner for my best friend. It was a miracle she even fell pregnant due to a long list of medical issues, so the whole pregnancy had been closely monitored and the birth was always going to be a high-risk event. Although we had agreed beforehand that I would leave for any internal examinations and for pushing, I was thrilled to be able to support her through the long labour process and any spare time I had outside of my job at the time was spent supporting her postnatally.
Training to be a doula just felt like something that would fit me and my new life as a mum. Particularly having given birth during a global pandemic, I feel well equipped, like there’s nothing that a new parent could say to me, good or bad, which would shock me. I feel confident that I can support them without judgement.
I think when I do start working more, the main thing I may struggle with is when I can’t ‘fix’ something. Even though I know that’s not my role and I’ll be helping by supporting and listening, I am a people pleaser and I do worry that I’ll perhaps give too much of myself. My other concern will be to not fall into an educator role simply because I’m so excited about everything I’ve learned and learning, maybe it’ll all come spilling out of me when it’s not in the clients’ best interest.
I see myself eventually becoming a birth doula when my children are older, and I have more freedom/flexibility and I just really hope that it becomes something that helps put food on the table whilst not feeling like a ‘job’. I think it will bring me so much joy.
Victoria is a doula based in Ellesmere Port. Want to get in touch with her? Here you go!