A Sleaford area mum who is developing a network of alternative birthing partners wants to raise the scheme’s profile through World Doula Week.
Sarah Budden, from Caythorpe, is a mum of four children aged eight and under, who works as an accountant but is also now a ‘birth doula’.
She explains: “I became a doula because I needed to do something having heard so many heartbreaking birth horror stories and so few amazing and positive birth stories. Mums in particular take their birth memories to their grave and so it’s really important that those memories are positive ones.
“I am determined to slowly change perceptions about birth being something horrendous and instead have people believe that it should be something memorable for all the right reasons.”
She added a note of realism: “This is not about drug free, orgasmic birth with some hippy woman drumming in the corner and wafting incense, although of course there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s about choice and support and caring for women and families so that even if they don’t get the birth they dreamed of they get a birth that they are happy with, where they felt loved and respected and that they achieved something amazing, which of course they did.”
March 22 to 28 is World Doula Week, which is raising awareness of doula support. Last year, an estimated 2,500 couples in Britain spent between £500 and £1,000 hiring a doula.
Doulas provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support before, during and just after childbirth. A doula supports the whole family - to help the family have a positive experience of pregnancy, birth and the early weeks with a new baby.
Doulas support women and families in all kinds of situations, who have different kinds of births; home, hospital, medicalised, water or caesarean. The services offered by a doula vary greatly according to the needs of the women, couple or family that she is working with.
Sarah said: “I trained to be a doula because I believe every family deserves a positive birth story and every woman should be able to look back on her birth day and smile not shudder. A doula doesn’t come with a magic wand and offers no guarantees for a perfect birth, but what she does bring to the birth room is continuity of care, compassion, kindness, knowledge and a huge amount of love.
“People might think that this kind of support costs hundreds of pounds but the truth is most doulas operate on a sliding fee scale, they would do everything in their power to support a family within their budget, including working for free or expenses only in some circumstances. We all have bills to pay but most doulas doula for love not money and I feel very strongly that a positive birth experience should not come down to finances.”
“World Doula Week is a great chance to spread the doula word, to let families know that there is support out there whatever your circumstances and that doulas are a very passionate bunch dedicated to helping families have positive birth experiences.
“Being a doula is truly wonderful. It is a real privilege to support people at such a precious time.”
Sarah is supported by a wider doula network. She added: “I didn’t realise when I started my doula journey that it would involve being nurtured by such a kind hearted group of human beings who, incidentally, absolutely do not all fall into the category of extreme hippy.”
Having completed her doula preparation training, Sarah is now the Doula UK Area Representative for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Doula UK is a ‘not for profit’ organisation set up in 2001 to support women during the child bearing year and their families.
There is an Access Fund which provides doula assistance to vulnerable women and families suffering financial hardship. Any donations are gratefully received.
There is a Newark and Grantham Positive Birth Movement Group, which is a free session facilitated by local birth professionals.
Parents can attend without booking to discuss all things pregnancy and birth and meet other new parents and parents-to-be.
The next Positive Birth Movement meeting is at Grantham Tennis Club on Tuesday April 18 at 10am. Follow the Facebook page Positive Birth Movement - Newark and Grantham and you can find out more at http://www.positivebirthmovement.org/
To find out more about Doula UK go to https://doula.org.uk/, or contact Sarah directly at http://doulasarahb.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/doulasarahb/