Abby Hopewell, Doula and Birthkeeper
What is a Doula anyway?
When I'm asked what I do and I reply "I'm a Doula and Birthkeeper" I'm often met with a blank or confused expression, followed by "What's that?"
I believe that a Doula looks a little bit different to everybody. I have supported a wide range of people on their journeys to, and through, becoming parents and the early years that follow. 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 journey to conceive, your pregnancy, 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 corrected 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.
A love letter: (more here)
"I’m not sure how we can ever put into words the praise that Abby deserves. We are still fresh from the birth of our baby and something we keep saying is that it wouldn’t have the amazing experience it was without Abby. From the get go Abby was kind, attentive and helped us stay on top of all the questions and doubts that arose throughout pregnancy. From the final weeks, through labour and the post-birth clean up, I have never been so thankful to have met such an amazing person. From the bottom of our hearts- thank you for everything you did for us Abby. Not just does every birth need a doula, they need an Abby." - Rebecca