Whilst teaching pregnancy yoga, I became very drawn to the idea of not only helping women throughout their pregnancy but also during the uniquely powerful and transformative time of labour and birth. I discovered that Doula work is very much like teaching yoga - I bring attention to the breath, to tired muscles, to emotional blockages, and to the free space between moments of tension. With gentleness I guide my yoga students and birthing mothers to experience the wisdom within their own bodies. By sharing my offerings as a Doula and Childbirth Educator, my goal is to hold space for mamas in a safe, non-judgmental, and loving way. It is my mission to bring empowerment to all women on this journey.
WHAT IS A DOULA?
Birth is sacred and women supporting women through labour is an ageless tradition common to all cultures. Traditionally, labouring women were surrounded by family members and experienced women from their community. As childbirth became the domain of the medical profession and women moved into hospitals for birth, women lost their essential connection to one another during this time of intense physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual work.
Women/couples need to be supported and nurtured so their babies can be welcomed with love and respect. The word doula comes from the ancient Greek meaning 'a woman who serves'. Thus, a doula serves as a guardian helping women/couples journey through the transition of childbirth and motherhood in a smooth, positive and nurtured way. In essence, a doula believes in ‘mothering the mother’, offering continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect.
Doulas are not trained medically (that is the role of the midwife) but are knowledgeable in many medical aspects of labour and delivery. Should a birth become complicated and require medical assistance, a doula will remain by the woman’s side and assist her through the decision making process.
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labour. With the support of a doula, women are less likely to have pain-relief medications administered and less likely to have a caesarean birth. In addition their births tend to be shorter.
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"As first time parents, we were very excited but at the same time nervous about the whole pregnancy and labor. After attending a birthing class my husband was finally convinced that we needed to hire a doula. We learned about Emily from my yoga and birthing class instructor; she was one of three potential options. As soon as I visited Emily’s website I wanted to set up a meeting with her. Emily met with my husband and I and we felt an instant connection. We both knew we wanted her as part of our team. Emily was exactly what we were looking for - warm, caring, loving, a good listener, and knowledgeable. We just knew she was the one, and our search was over. Before the date of my labor, Emily was always available any time I had a question or concern. The day of my labor she was the first person I called and she was ready to meet me at the hospital. I could honestly say I had the perfect labor and a major part is because I had Emily by my side. Emily made sure the hospital staff was following my birth plan. My delivery room was just perfect, Emily set it up just the way I wanted, with candle lights, dimmed lights and great relaxing music (playlist also provided by her). With the help of Emily, I was able to stay off bed and not attached to a monitor. I was able to walk around the room, sit on the toilet, swing my body side to side, and sit on a birthing ball. Emily would guide me and helped me get into a different position to ride my contractions. There were times I felt I was ready to give up and asked for an epidural, but Emily was there to give moral support, she would massage my back, and coach me through the whole process. My precious baby boy came into this world after four hours of labor and three pushes. Emily stayed by our side for a couple hours after birth making sure we were ok. During our hospital stay and after we came home, Emily kept in touch with us answering any questions or concerns. Once I felt ok, Emily came to visit us at home, making sure I was breastfeeding correctly and she even brought us some yummy treats and a beautiful and thoughtful gift. We are extremely happy and fortunate to have found her and glad we chose her to be part of this amazing experience. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her. We couldn’t have made a better decision"
- Maryering, from New York
"Having dear Emily join my birthing tribe was THE best decision I made in my childbearing year. I did not get to have the birth I had hoped for, and there was unnecessary trauma and negligence that came from the hospital's end, but Emily united our family in that unsupported birth (I imagine her when I look back as hugging my husband, my daughter and I metaphorically). She made sure that I met my daughter with dignity and grace, even when there was none in the hospital. I will forever get tingly-nosed thinking about her brushing my matted hair and spraying coconut water mist on my tired face. If there is one thing I would not change about this past year other than having the most amazing daughter, it is having Emily on my side. Love, grace, expertise, and joy...that is Emily and what she brings as a Doula"
- Ashley from London
"We feel so lucky to have had you as our doula, Emily. Your constant loving care, support, good humour and general lovely presence made everything bearable. You gave me strength and courage when I needed it most, and to my husband as well...thank you from the bottom of our hearts - you are a very special lady"
- Tess from London