Being welcomed into your birth support team is a privilege and an honour. The way we shape this partnership will be tailored to what your needs and desire are, what your healthcare needs are and other practical considerations such as budget, location, timing etc. As I have a variety of skills people often vary the visits to incorporate more coaching, education and support over the whole perinatal time. This can mean I am with a family from a few weeks to a few years.
After initial contact we can also arrange a free meet n greet online or in person. I will give you a copy of my Services and Fees information. Once committing to doula support there is a client intake form to complete, a contract to sign and a deposit to pay. We will decide on the number of visits you initially want and what type of support, education, coaching or counselling you may want to include. We discuss over what time period my support may serve you best.
I look through the lens of woman-centred care and whole family health. Why? Because birthing mothers, their babies and partners have the best birth outcomes when we care for the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the whole family. As the mother is the one giving birth, it is by law her human right to decide what happens to her. so her needs are our first foucs, but with awareness we explore how to support all significant family member in the preparation and experience of birth and parenting. I am an independent birth worker and don’t run my own agenda, nor that of the hospital. I work by a doula code of ethics and aim to be aware of my biases and world view.
As your doula I work to help you create your best transition into life as parents, with a specific focus on preparing you with skills for birth and life. Helping you to explore your values, needs, philosophies, beliefs and expectations around birthing, helps me understand what is important to you. With this knowledge I can more fully trust my instincts, skills and lived experiences in how to support you.
I support and guide you whole heartedly to focus on your capacity for personal growth and change. Your responsibilities, agency and self determination will be noticed and your increasing strength, resilience and love will be felt.
Together we create a birth-support plan for your labour support team. You create another birth plan/preferences for the obstetric care provider and hospital staff. We consider what your post natal and breastfeeding plan are also.
I coach couples to learn and practice skills of communication, connection, empowered consent, self-awareness, self-care, the science of feeling safe, enhancing pleasure, managing pain, active birthing positions and techniques for labour. With these skills we create your ‘labour tool kit’.
I guard your birth space by minimising disruptions, model the respectful relating, keep you as private as possible and in a love bubble with your baby/partner/support team. Where possible I come to your home in labour and we transfer only when you are ready to birth your baby or feel safer in the hospital. We activate your birth support plan and work with the dynamics of the natural birth process to help your mind focus, your body to open and birth your baby. And what a spectacular, relieving, heart opening, powerful, tearful, exhausting, amazing moment this is!
Interestingly, men are only one generation old as helpers in the birth space. There is much to learn, and a lot of unexpected emotions to experience. A myriad of questions will arise about their role and how to be an effective helper. With the support of a doula, a partner often feels more calm, confident and informed in their role as helper, lover and witness to the birth of their baby.
Immediately after birth I stay by your side as a guardian of your family’s time to bond and fall in love. I support where ever I can if there have been challenges or complications. I support you to breastfeed your baby, gentle after care, recording birth information. I usually go home within 2 hrs of the birth and stay in phone contact over the coming days.
It is as important as ever to have doula support during Covid-19 restrictions. If I can not attend you at the hospital:
I attend you at home in labour for as long as you feel safe to do so. This reduces your time in the hospital, minimises unneccessary interventions, increases your comfort and capacity for active birthing and increases your partners confidence to support you once you transfer to hospital. I am with you by phone and virtual support for ongoing continuity of care. I can be available for immediate postnatal care upon your return from the hospital.
Immediate post natal care – during the first 6 weeks:
I stay in phone contact as long as you need to. I check on your wellbeing and what ongoing health and support needs you may need. I help you access other resources to gather your village to you as need be. A birth debrief is always recommended.
Over time ongoing post natal doula home help, life coaching, parenting and relationship support or education is strongly encouraged to help your family life grow and thrive.
Are you Birthready?
Call Erika today on 0407 685 933
Discover the 4 key elements that contribute to a mother feeling satisfied with her birth experience. A systematic review reveals that good team work makes a difference!
1. Quality support
(Continuity of care (Prepared partner, doula, 1:1 midwife care)
2. Trust in the care providers
(Matching values and skills = trust in the team)
3. Feeling in control
(Making an informed choice and communicate respectfully if there is a need to deviate from physiological birth)
4. Personal expectations are acheived
(The team supports her birth plan)
“Pain and women’s satisfaction with the experience of childbirth. (By Ellen D. Hodnett, RN, PhD Toronto, Ontario, Canada)”
I hold these 4 elements in all I do so that her whole birth team will be mindful of helping create a satisfying birth for her and her partner, however it unfolds.
In a nut shell – How do I help this process?
• Work with you during your pregnancy to know what you and your partner would most want, and for you to be Birthready (in mind, body and spirit)
• I check that you and your partner understand what is being communicated to you
• I may reframe a message to be positive and asking for consent, not assuming compliance, when touch or choices are involved.
• I help you explore your birth options, outlining their pros and cons.
• I support your need for time to process decisions, without pressure, and to speak up.
• I model the behaviour we appreciate receiving in return.
• I help keep the atmosphere in the room calm, quiet, friendly and respectful, to optimise normal physiological birth.
As a group facilitator, I follow my guiding principles of facilitation within any team, and apply these to the setting of birth:
We work collaboratively with your birth team to enable you to make an informed choice about your care, to help you feel safe and create a birth environment that optimises normal birth and family bonding.
My facilitation principles are:
• The learning facilitator is at the service of the whole group.
• People already have experience and knowledge.
• There is always wisdom in the group from the pooled wisdom of the individuals.
• Everyone has a contribution to the group’s wisdom.
• Everyone’s contribution is important.
• Wisdom does not necessarily correlate with one’s confidence to speak up!
• Everyone has the capacity for insight and learning.
• Learning is deeper and remains with people longer when they participate in the learning process.
• Even when someone has done or said the ‘wrong thing’ we must not allow them to be shamed.
• Foster love and forgiveness
I am not Supernatural, or a magician or a super hero and cannot control other people. But I do my best to hear, understand and navigate the wisdom that is in the room, through the lens of woman-centred care. I acknowledge that everyone in a birth team has an important role, and deserves respect and positive regard. Together we can abolish a sense of hierarchy, and relate to each other human to human. Speaking up, asking for what you want, saying yes, saying no, saying not now, staying present to the sensations in your body, is so much easier when we know that we are are to be respected in the birth space.
It is a privilege to be entrusted with my intuition and skills to facilitate a collaborative, woman-centred birth team. I bring my skill, support, knowledge and respect, so that you are able to experience the awe and wonder of birthing your child.
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