Week 16 – I DO like Mondays

Week 16 – I DO like Mondays

In fact I like every day of the week now. I realised this week that I have not had that “Monday feeling” since I retired from the Civil Service – even though I am now doing quite a lot  of work (long may it last!).

This has been a really good seven days for my new life: I have had a lovely  few afternoons with my new postnatal family  who, together with the others I have worked with, have given me a lot to think about in the different roles that a doula can provide. Thinking back to the first couple of weeks after the birth I am struck again how important it is that visitors think about the new family’s needs before their own (understandable) desire to meet the baby. Doulas can help in this –  for example organising visitors to bring food for the new family and helping to avoid over-long visits or too many visitors at the same time.

We also  have the advantage of being someone that a mother can speak to who is completely on her side – but without the complications of family closeness. This requires a high level of trust which is why I decided when I started this blog that the focus would be on the development of my new working life – not on my client’s stories. So if I write anything which refers to any of the families I work with I check this with them first – and am very happy to change or delete anything they are uncomfortable with. (I have not had to do this yet.)

We also provide practical day to day support with those things that need doing but are so hard to get done with a new baby – like chopping vegetables for an evening meal or taking the rubbish out. And we are a source of information – on recovery from labour, on infant feeding, on sleeping patterns or whatever the family wants. As a new doula I know as little about some of these things as my clients but have the time and resources to find out. I don’t think I have  done so much desk research since I was a junior researcher – I love it.

The last main thing that I have been doing in the couple of months since I started this work is providing that extra pair of hands that enables a mother to get some rest/ sleep. So I am being paid to cuddle, play with and occasionally feed or change my client’s babies.

I realise that there is a risk that this weeks’s blog is getting too smug for words so will keep my remaining thoughts to a few words: this fabulous week has included: the first paid massage clients coming to my home studio; a great pregnancy massage course  so that I am now formally qualified to massage pregnant women in their second and third trimesters; and I have my first birth doula booking!!! Its a tough life . . .

Week 15 – first “job” comes to an end

Week 15 – first “job” comes to an end

My doula work over the last few of weeks has become focussed on providing support in the late afternoon/early evening. The families that I am working have babies of a similar age (c 2 months) and  are beginning to find their children sleeping for several hours at a stretch at nighttime – but evenings are difficult with babies (and parents) tired, but unable to settle easily. I am surprised by how much I like offering another pair of – less tired and relatively relaxed – hands at this time.

This Wednesday I had my last session with my first family. Another milestone for me. I have known them for about 5 weeks and seen so much change over that time. It’s such a short period by most standards but huge in the development of a child and new family. For example when I first met him J was a baby who  was only able to focus at short distances and was just beginning to show signs of responding to other people; and needed to be held most of the time.  A month on he clearly enjoys lying on his play mat where he touches and coos at his toys and he is very generous with smiles  for his parents and others who play with him. Am sad that our time together is finished but the timing does feel right.  Mostly I feel really lucky to have found  this role – it really is a great job!

Week 14 – social media

Week 14 – social media

When I decided that I was going to start a new way of working I knew that if anyone apart from friends and family were going to find out about me I really needed to engage with social media.   I had effectively avoided doing this during my time in Acas.  I had a Twitter account and was Linked In, but never engaged in discussion on the latter and wrote a total of at most 10 tweets over a 2 year period (my apologies to all my ex-colleagues who tried their best to encourage me in this) . This blog was my first tentative step in trying to establish an online presence. This weekend I gritted my teeth and set up a new Twitter account: @Fionathere4you . I always struggled at Acas with knowing what to share via Twitter. I felt that anything I might say was rather obvious – I had  probably been in the world of employment relations for too long . The advantage of a entering a new sphere is that to me everything is fresh.This time round my plan is see how I get on sharing interesting pregnancy and massage related material I come across; as well as updates on my “business” – just hope that it does not come across as totally banal!

Week 13 – www.fionathereforyou.co.uk

Week 13 – www.fionathereforyou.co.uk

My website is now live and I have spent a lot of this week turning the journal I have been writing over the past 3 months into a blog format.  My background in writing research and policy papers has not helped when it comes to the style of these, but my sister and web designer Alison has been great with her gentle feedback so I’m trying to be a bit more personal and informal than I am used to. And I always liked writing so am enjoying trying to do this.

I have done some more post-natal work this week. I also met another potential birth doula client – with the same lack of success as previously.  This chicken and egg dilemma of needing experience to get the work, but needing the work to get the experience, is beginning to get to me a bit. I do though have a new post-natal client as a result of the recommendation my first client gave.