Our next show flew by as we were lucky enough to talk to an amazing woman who has really tapped into her passion. Louise Ringshaw Doula (on FB) tells us how pressured she felt in her 20s to get a ‘proper job’. Once she had had her first baby, which was a traumatic birth, she looked into being a midwife but instead ran a dance school for many years. She loved the connection with adults and children and seeing their confidence grow through dance.
However, her desire to support women through birth never left her. She considered, once again, being a midwife but felt very constrained by the NHS approach. It felt more like a tick-boxing exercise rather than an opportunity to empower, support and show women how incredible their bodies are.
Now she’s attended five births and knows that she really is on the path she was put on this planet to do.
Men’s Roles in Birth
We also talked about the role men have to play. I had a free birth with our last child and her dad helped birth her and tied the umbilical cord. He explained afterwards that if he’d known beforehand he’d be doing that he wouldn’t have agreed to a doula because he didn’t think that was his role. However, it empowered him and he’s incredibly thankful he had that opportunity. We’ve come a long way since men weren’t to attend the birth. However, we’ve still got a long way to go.
A Doula’s Role
What is a Doula?
“Doulas support in pregnancy, birth and in the postnatal period by providing information, advocacy, and offering practical and emotional support to the whole family.”
Knowing All The Options
Many women say they weren’t encouraged to have a home birth and weren’t aware of what a free birth was. We had four home births including one free birth but I only found out what a free birth was during my last pregnancy. A free birth is when there’s no midwife present. This is where a doula comes in. Some women feel happy to have only their family there. Others may want a women experienced in birth – such as a doula. One lady on our team classifies her last birth as a free birth, but did have a midwife there. She simply asked her to stay in another room and be there if she needed her.
These experiences need to be heard more. A positive birth can change so much for a woman and may reduce her chances of getting postnatal depression.
This is a huge topic and one we are passionate about at Joinavision.
Hope you enjoy the show!
If you can’t listen to the whole show here’s the clip of Louise and I chatting about her journey.