Saturday, 13 June 2015

New Review for New Edition GBC

So this is what Maddie McMahon, doula, course leader at Developing Doulas, breastfeeding counsellor and author of Why Doulas Matter has to say: 

"... I am so happy to see this new and improved edition of Gentle Birth Companions. Brought bang up to date, with a new forward by the lovely Geraldine Watson, past Chair of Doula UK, this edition ensures that GBC (as it’s affectionately known) maintains it’s place in the doula canon.

For years everything that was available to read about doulas came to us from across the big pond. All fine and dandy of course, but there are subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the UK and US flavour of doula. The narrative of the development of doulas in Britain was in danger of being lost. The story of the formation and development of Doula UK, our mentoring process and the evolution of our preparation courses was in danger of being lost. Adela’s self-appointment as our historian and scribe was gratefully received by all of us.

And, of course, Adela is perfectly placed for this position; she has been around since the early days, taking on roles within Doula UK and setting up the Scottish Doula Network. As an ex-midwife, she is well placed to have an overview of how doulas fit into the maternity care scene and her teaching and mentoring of new doulas give her an insight into the motivations woman have for joining our community.

But GBC isn’t just a historical record; Adela explores the future of the doula movement, here and around the world – if you want a book on the anthropology of doulaing, this is it. If you’re a new or aspiring doula, this is the book to read to put yourself in context. It is only by knowing a little of the path your sisters have trod that you get insight into the path ahead and work out what kind of doula you want to be.

But whether you are new doula, experienced birthworker or parent, this book will give you food for your soul. The stories at the end never fail to fill my heart with emotion, however many times I read them. As I flicked through this morning, the two I contributed sent me off into a lovely daydream. The stories from other doulas, many of them great friends, fill me with awe at their strength and commitment to their clients.

GBC is the first and greatest UK book on doulas; Adela sets the bar high with her clear writing style and huge circle of wise and experienced contributors."

Read more about Maddie and her work here:

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Revised edition of Gentle Birth Companions available now!

I am pleased to announce that the fully revised edition of Gentle Birth Companions: a handbook for doulas and parents is now available to order from here!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Re- Direction?

This blog is an archive of my birth related, doula related posts, plus book reviews.

I will now be blogging from here, you are also welcome to join me on Twitter @psychodynamix

For counselling services, read more here.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Gentle Birth Companions - Debra Pascali Bonaro review

"I love Adela's book. Gentle Birth Companions captures the heart, passion and sacred path that doulas hold in supporting women and their families through out time. The perfect blend of her-story with science, showing the doulas role and importance today as she helps us  re-discover the value of female companionship during childbirth. 

If you are pregnant, thinking of hiring a doula, becoming a doula or are involved in maternity care today, Adela's book is essential to help you reconnect the circle of support in childbirth that provides an essential ingredient for a safe, fulfilling birth experience."

Debra Pascali-Bonaro, Director of the documentary and Co-Author of Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience, DONA International Doula Trainer and Lamaze International Childbirth Educator


Monday, 10 September 2012

Birth Stories

For many doulas, our journey begins with our own birth story. Our first experience of pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding, becoming a parent. Our first understanding of being part of our new family. And our first contact with the maternity care services. 

The quality of physical, emotional and social support that we have received during this time can make a huge impact on our experience of childbirth. And whether it has turned out as we hoped or expected, or whether it has confirmed our worst fears, it is nonetheless so often the trigger that starts us thinking about the idea of supporting other mothers through the same experience.

Listening to other women's birth stories is bread and butter to doulas therefore. It is the way we learn about and connect to the mothers and fathers we support. It forms the baseline upon which our relationship with our clients during this birth experience balances, it provides waymarkers and flashpoints. And allows for the unpacking of a whole heap of the grief, anger, fear, hurt and disappointment that can sometimes accompany the joys of holding our newborn.

We need to be strong, mindful and steady in order to weather the storm of some birth stories, as well as gentle and yeilding enough for the parents to know we are with them from our hearts. This can be tough, it can resonate with our own birth trauma or postnatal illness, and touch us in ways we never knew was possible. Not only can it connect us back to the circumstances surrounding the birth of our own babies, but also to our personal (unconscious) memories of our own birth.

It's useful for new doulas to be aware of the powerful and valuable impact that birth stories bring to their learning and preparation I feel. Not only does the novice hear about the physiology of natural birth and what happens when this is disturbed, but also it is an opportunity for her to begin to explore what it might mean to provide birth and postnatal support in practical and emotional terms within a safe setting.

To become humble, to begin to know a little of the amazing art of just being.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Birth Mindfulness for Parents 1

Planning a natural birth?
Did you know that there are three key ways that you and your partner can prepare for the arrival of your baby, whether in hospital or at home, which may make a real difference to your chances of experiencing a gentle birth? 

Place – feeling safe and unobserved in your birth environment, free to move around and take up any position you want, can help your mind and body to stay focused and keep those essential labour hormones flowing. Rearrange the furniture, hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door!

People – choosing attendants you trust to uphold your wishes for labour and birth is wise. Your supporters can protect your birth space by keeping questions and noise to a minimum, by banning strangers from the room. Enlist a doula (birth companion) as your advocate, she is there for your partner too!
Pain – establishing a unified attitude to the way you choose to work with your contractions, and making sure you have plenty of positive emotional support, can mean you are less likely to feel the need to request pain medication or an epidural. Write a clear birth plan, keep everyone informed!
An ‘undisturbed’ labour means you are more likely to enjoy a gentle birth. And a positive experience helps you, your baby and your family off to a good start.
To purchase ‘Birth Space, Safe Place: emotional wellbeing through pregnancy and birth’ (Findhorn Press, 2009) see

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