Abby Hopewell, Doula
What is a Doula anyway?
When I'm asked what I do and I reply "I'm a Doula" I'm often met with a blank or confused expression, followed by "What's a Doula?"
I believe that a Doula looks a little bit different to everybody. I have supported different types of families including first time parents right up to 6th time parents as well as those who have had IVF. Some want an advocate, someone to have their back without judgement. Others want more practical and hands on support because their own support network is small or they don't have one. For some people it can be that they're scared and they would like someone with experience to guide them and help them through this labyrinth they find themselves in.
Fun fact: do you know the difference between a maze and a labyrinth? Sorry David Bowie fans - unlike a maze, a labyrinth is not out to trick you or lead you to a dead end; it's simply a path to follow to the center, but that doesn't mean that sometimes you won't feel a little lost along the way as the path may turn this way and that.
As a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on and someone to truly listen to you, I can be the safe space you need when sometimes it feels like everyone is telling you what to do. When was the last time you felt listened to? It can be a powerful experience.
As your Doula, I'm there to support you in whatever way you feel is best; my care is tailored to you and your needs.
I can accompany you to antenatal appointments and signpost you to evidence based research without telling you what you "should" do; this is your birth.
I am not a midwife, nor am I a medical professional.
I'm Abby, a Birth and Postnatal Doula and Babywearing Consultant based in South Yorkshire. I'm a mum of four little people including twins.
In the beginning, I was really interested in early childhood development.
As time went on, my focus changed to include the whole family and how
their support network, or lack thereof, can make a big difference to those
early years, especially to mental health.
Whilst pregnant with my second child, I developed antenatal depression and unfortunately this also went on to postnatal depression. This sparked my love for babywearing as it became an invaluable tool, especially as the age gap was only 22 months - it allowed me to care for both of my small children as well as myself. I opened up the sling library when my second child was 9 months old.
Training, certificates and extras
Access Fund Doula for birth support through Doula UK
Biomechanics for Birth (September 2020)
Birth pool available free of charge for birth clients
Born to Carry; Carrying Advocate and Peer Supporter
Breastfeeding Support Training Foundation Module with ABM
Closing the Bones (a postnatal massage to aid recovery)
L'ecole a Porter; Babywearing Consultant
Mindful Rebozo (for comfort in pregnancy and labour)
Mother Blessing Celebrant
Recognised Birth Doula with Doula UK
Slingababy; Babywearing Consultant
Sophie Messager - Why Postnatal Recovery Matters (current)
3 Step Rewind Method; for birth related trauma
Through the sling library, I came into contact with many families, some who needed more support than they were able to find and it broke my heart and so I went onto train as a Doula, although in many ways, I had always been one.
I'm passionate about mental health and attachment; I feel I can really help families and the community by being there right at the beginning where it all starts by ensuring parents and carers get the support they need.
I am a firm believer in "It takes a village to raise a child" (an African proverb) and I aim to be a small part of that village for others.
"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."