Kathy, South London
My doula, Julia, made a very good start by meeting us at home on arrival from hospital, carrying a large Le Creuset dish full of Bolognaise sauce, which meant we had a delicious supper on our first night home. I have really enjoyed having Julia's company and help over the last few weeks. It has been very comforting and fun having someone to share all your excitement about the baby and chat about their daily progress and ideas for future care. I have greatly benefited from having an experienced mother, and like-minded individual, on hand to ask questions and from whom to gain reassurance.
I think it made a great difference to my husband in those first few weeks, knowing that I was being looked after, and catching up on sleep while he was at work. Hopefully it has meant that he came home to a happy and content wife and child, and a full fridge!
My doula has been very flexible. On arrival each morning, without asking, she washes up, sweeps the kitchen floor, does the latest batch of washing and makes tea for visitors etc. Most mornings she has looked after my baby in between feeds so that I can catch up on sleep. She has also done shopping, lots of cooking, made sure I've eaten breakfast and lunch and changed sheets etc.
Caroline worked for me just before and after the birth of my third child. She was a fantastic support to me and my family. It is hard to describe all the wonderful ways Caroline helped us. For me, the 'icing on the cake' was the extra touches she gave us. For example, frequently, she would bring us home-made brownies or bread or some other tasty treat. She also took time to ensure my other 2 children (aged 5 and 7 years) felt included, baking bread with them and chatting to them about their own interests. She was kind, helpful, reliable, conscientious, amusing and totally trustworthy. …Thanks to her culinary support I felt fit, rested and my batteries totally charged up in preparation for the birth and the early days post-partem. As a consequence, I carried on feeling fit and rested for weeks after the birth.
Suzannah, West London
I wanted to look after my baby myself (or at least feel that I was in control), but needed someone to look after me and to help run the home so that when my husband returned each evening it was to a well organized and tidy house with a piping hot supper in the oven, a happy baby gurgling in her moses basket and a calm and contented mother - a Sound of Music aspiration which I am proud to say we more or less realized because of Marie. She is extremely competent and experienced, and a genuinely caring person who acts on initiative so that I never had to think about what needed to be done each day because she had already done it. But more importantly, I was lucky to have Marie as she taught me so much about how to understand my baby and the importance of giving her undivided love and attention whilst not being precious or neurotic as a mother…. We live in a tiny studio apartment and I never once felt that there was a stranger in our midst or that we were over-crowded. Quite the opposite: Marie is wonderful company, offering discrete and thoughtful advice about any problems or concerns I had about breast-feeding or Chloe's health and development and helping me to find the solutions myself. She became both a friend and invaluable support and mentor who has made all the difference during a very special period in our lives.
Our doula was a delight to have in our house during the four weeks in which we were adjusting to having our first baby. As a result, things were very chaotic but her calm presence was reassuring for all of us….She has a very good eye for what needs to be done in the household and proactively goes ahead with washing, ironing, tidying up or whatever other minor chore might be required! During the hours she was with us, order would be restored without us really noticing that she was there.
Irene helped us to stay calm when our planned natural birth became an emergency C-section. She has excellent communication skills. We were confident that she would be able to support us through any birth situation. We were able to discuss our concerns with her openly and knowing she was going to be there to look after us, were able to look forward to the birth with confidence. It was a great help to meet with her before the birth to discuss our birth preferences. She attended the birth and then met with us afterwards to discuss how it had gone and to bring us our son's 'birth diary'.