By the end of a 2 year MSc in Paediatric Osteopathy, I had become fascinated by birth because of its relevance to the babies I was treating. I saw a number of women who had enjoyed healthy pregnancies, who went on to have babies with a multitude of symptoms. The birth seemed to be a big part of it. I had come across doulas when I worked at a yoga centre- the term seemed mystical and intriguing. I decided to train to become a doula with Michel Odent and Liliana Lammers , and loved immersing myself in birth. I went through the mentoring programme with Doula UK. I am now a member of Birthworkers of Colour, which seeks to reconnect with the vibrancy of traditions that were passed down from generation to generation.
Attending births whilst maintaining a practice can be a bit tricky, but I do love supporting women through this time.
What does a doula do?
This is a common question. It’s hard to describe this, but a doula is essential a calm and consistent presence who gets to know the woman/ couple in the run up to the birth, during and after it too. A doula is a lay person, but can offer gentle hands-on support if needed such as massage or pressure points. A doula is encouraging, listens deeply and helps to protect the birth space and reflect a woman’s needs. If you would like to discuss me being your birth doula, contact me on [email protected] .
“Avni generously stepped in at the last minute to be my doula for the delivery of my first child. She seamlessly facilitated the birth, offering gentle advice and supportive words to help me progress. Even without prior knowledge of how I wanted the birth to be, she intuitively understood me and her calming presence was exactly what I needed. I am thankful to her for helping me have a drug-free water birth and helping our son transition peacefully into the world. She was a blessing. Thank you Avni!”
Avni was the my doula for the birth of George. I knew as soon as I was pregnant that I wanted her there – my first birth was long and overwhelming and I felt pretty anxious about a repeat experience. From the moment she said yes, I felt that I was in safe hands. It’s not just the sheer amount of knowledge that she has (and believe me she knows everything about pregnancy, birth and babies); it’s her warmth and total commitment to me to have the birth that I wanted. She has this amazing calmness that radiates and she really listens. Never once did she push any agenda, it was always about creating the best experience for myself and George.
On the eve of George’s birth, I remember calling her at midnight form the hospital saying that they wanted me to stay in, even though the birth looked like it was a long way off. She just said “I’m on my way” and she appeared at my side and never left it. It wasn’t just the physical side that she sorted from making sure I drank lots of water to massaging my back each time a contraction came. For me, it was the deep emotional empathy that I still remember – in a midst of changing mid wives and sterile rooms, she was my constant. I just knew that she was totally on my side and wasn’t going anywhere until George had arrived.
When I was at my most vulnerable, Avni supported me to rise to the occasion. Creating life is messy, magical and momentous and having someone that knew the birth process so well, that I trusted implicitly – allowed me to trust the process and my body too.