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 whether that's through your pregnancy journey, the birth or postnatally.
I can signpost you to evidence based research without telling you what you "should" do; this is your story, not mine. My aim is not to empower you; you are already powerful. My aim is to help you see that for yourself and to remind you if you have a wobble.
I support all families and all birthing people. I understand that some families and birthing people face additional pressures, specifically the LGBTQIA+ communities facing discrimination and families facing systemic racism, especially Black families. I aim to always be a safe space for all families; to be their ally, to listen to their individual needs and be their advocate where required. I am always learning and I am completely open to being contacted if I get something wrong. I have undertaken a Cultural Competency course with Mars Lord and Nicola Mahdiyyah Goodall. I have also completed and passed a Breastfeeding Culture Safety course created by Ruth Dennison. This type of work is always ongoing and I'm always learning. I completed a LGBTQIA+ Competency in Maternity with The Queer Birth Club in April 2021.
I am not a midwife, nor am I a medical professional.
I'm Abby (they/she) and I wear many hats including being a Pregnancy, Birth and Postnatal Doula; Photographer and Babywearing Consultant based in South Yorkshire. I'm a mum of four little people including twins; apparently we thought it would be a great idea to have four children in as many years...
I'm pretty active over on instagram stories in particular if you want to have a nosey and see what I'm like.
I'm really interested in holistic support for families and how
their support network, or lack thereof, can make a big difference in 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 8 months old.
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. As a result, I went onto train as a Doula after having our twins, 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.
The two autumnal photos above are courtesy of the wonderful Lara Frost Photography.
Abby facts: drinker of the tea; audio bookworm; creative writer; a collector of hobbies; doodler; fan of all things witchy and woo; moon admirer; dungaree devotee; enjoys singing; terrible dancer but doesn't care; an intersectional feminist; crochet lover; yarn collector (buying and using yarn are two separate hobbies, if you know, you know); partial to swearing; textile art enthusiast; neurodiverse; photography fanatic and an all round busy bee.
Training, certificates and extra bits & bobs
Access Fund Doula for birth support through Doula UK
Biomechanics for Birth with Optimal Birth (for pregnancy and labour)
Birth pool only available for birth clients
Born to Carry; Carrying Advocate and Peer Supporter
Breastfeeding Culture Safety with Ruth Dennison
Breastfeeding Support Training Foundation Module with ABM
Closing the Bones (a traditional postnatal massage to aid recovery)
Cultural Competency with Mars Lord and Nicola Mahdiyyah Goodall
Developing Doula's initial Doula training
L'ecole a Porter; Babywearing Consultant
LGBTQIA+ Competency in Maternity with The Queer Birth Club
Recognised Birth Doula with Doula UK
Reiki (Level 2)
Slingababy; Babywearing Consultant
Sophie Messager - Why Postnatal Recovery Matters course
3 Step Rewind Method; for birth related trauma
Birth before arrival (BBA)
Home birth after caesarean (HBAC)
Supporting through Covid
Pregnancy after loss
Supporting parents when Social Services are involved
Vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC)
Fancy a natter?
You are welcome to pop me an e-mail or Facebook message at any time. After your initial enquiry, I'm happy to contact you by phone at a mutually convenient time.
"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."