My name is Mel and I am a very privileged Mummy to 5 beautiful girls born 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2015 all born in a variety of ways just as unique and individual as they are. My husband and not so little family all live in Epsom Surrey. I am the co-chair of the Epsom and St Helier Maternity voices partnership, an NHS working group comprising of women, their families, commissioners and health care professionals who work together to improve local maternity care.
Pregnancy and early parenting are such a fundamental time in life and families deserve the best support. I am passionate about this and it is the sole reason I became a Doula. I support every family with the choices that matter to them, provide evidence based information and education whilst offering support that is non judgemental, compassionate and gentle.
After dipping in and out of many different jobs following leaving school and not really knowing exactly what I wanted to do, at 22 I became pregnant with our first Daughter and her birth completely changed my life, it was a very difficult pregnancy and birth, it was a huge challenge that left me struggling with PTSD and postnatal depression. When I became pregnant for a second time I was convinced that it didn’t have to be that way and set out to educate myself in birth as a physiological process and my autonomous choices.
After my second Daughters birth I decided nursing was where I felt my heart belonged and for a few years worked on the Gynaecology ward at my local hospital and then transferred over to the community nursing team before pregnancy with my fourth daughter left me unable to commit wholeheartedly to my role. I didn’t return following my maternity leave and spent the next 4 years being there for my beautiful girls full time. When my youngest started school I found a job as the Matron of a boarding school house, which suited my life perfectly and I continued with that until daughter number 5 surprised us in 2015.
I had always hoped to study Midwifery but heard of Doulas many years ago and the idea of the freedom to really care without the 3 P’s (policy, procedure and paperwork) sat better in my heart, I honestly wanted the ability to care and support women without any other agenda influencing that.
However all the passion in the world and I still didn’t grab it until 2016 when I found The Positive Birth Movement and became a facilitator in my local area, it astounded me that women were so fundamentally fearful of birth because of the modern narrative of it, the media and the culture of turning birth into a battlefield where only stories of battle wounds were shared. I have experienced the most beautiful, empowering and healing of births, a right that every woman has. I proudly say “I love giving birth” and even though I’m met with looks of horror, surprise and bewilderment I’ll never stop saying it because birth IS amazing, WOMEN are amazing and deserve to be treated as such!
So this is my driving force, my passion for birth, for women to be able to control their birth choices for birth to be YOURS!
From the legendary Ina May Gaskin: “Whenever and however you intend to give birth, your experience will impact your mind, your body and your spirit for the rest of your life”