Being the second eldest and with seven siblings my doula journey started early on in life. I was blissfully unaware that I would still be in a position to be doing something that I love to this day and with a confidence that has grown over the years.
My career path before becoming a doula was in the fashion business. I felt I was one of the most fortunate people to work with some incredible designers and to travel the world. The time was so exciting and I really embraced everything about my work life.
I guess there was also a thought in the back of my mind that I would love to have children one day. Hmm! At this point I was never in one place long enough to find or fall in love. So I adjusted my schedule and gave Booney some time. Jumping on a few years I was married and had 2 wonderful children. That sounded easy didn’t it!
I remained with my toes in fashion and juggling my little family. The sands had definitely shifted though and my passion was no longer so focused on the world that had been my life for so many years. My children were my priority and being more mature I wanted to fulfil my role as a mother to the best of my ability. So I stepped back. What to do?
I‘m sure I am not alone in being told by friends and colleagues – become a midwife. I started researching and when I learnt more about what being a Doula entails, it just felt right. As before in my work, I felt like I was in the right place. I simply could not get enough of it and it seemed so natural to walk alongside someone who wanted and needed support.
My doula career was launched. My official training started in 2005 and in 2009 I continued to train with Nurturing Birth as a Birth and Post Natal doula. I initially focused for 10 years on being a Post Natal doula.
I felt totally at ease in a hospital, yurt, car park or home. And I felt utterly fulfilled sharing, supporting, guiding somebody at such an important time in their lives and the learning was as much for me, the doula, as it was the mother.
In these years I learnt so much: Training in Hypnobirthing, baby massage and Rebozo, Traumatic birth recovery courses, researching Stem Cell collection and Placenta Encapsulation guidance.
I soon came to understand the incredible need and benefits that having a doula can make. It was so rewarding to see the positive impact that encouraging words made. The reassurance of Continuity of Care was empowering to the mother and their partner. Although they are the expert in what they feel is right for their little one, ensuring that their voices are heard and respected is so important. By sharing and sign-posting information we are empowering parents to make well informed and confident decisions.
Of course, like in any vocation, there are good, better, bad and sad times as well as euphoric and abject happiness. Throughout my time I have encountered all these emotions and I believe with my hand on my heart this is what makes me passionate and constantly driven to support anyone who is willing to trust, to learn, and to laugh together through their birth journey.
To share such a pivotal and special moment in a family’s life is such an honour and I always leave with a tremendous feeling of contentment that I have supported somebody to the very best of my ability.
Interestingly I remained very independent in my work – I was a loner other than when I was working and this over the years became very lonely. I was so busy going from job to job but with very little contact with my peers. When I realised what a welcoming and inclusive network of very special women were available to me in the Nurturing Birth community, it really did feel as though I was, for the first time, a part of a large family. Why it has taken me so long I can’t imagine, but I now feel very safe and there is never a time a doula/mentor isn’t there to reach out to if needed.
In becoming part of the Nurturing Birth Mentoring team I feel almost as if I have come full circle. I am with an amazing set of people that are all making a difference and that, for me, is what a Doula does.
Booney Smith trained as a doula with Nurturing Birth in 2009. She lives in Godalming, Surrey, and supports doula clients across a wide area. Booney is also a Nurturing Birth mentor.
Nurturing Birth Directory: https://nurturingbirthdirectory.com/doulas/united-kingdom/surrey/guildford/booney-smith/