‘I am a 41 year old first time mother and gave birth to my baby in Belfast, which is not my home city. My mother was my birth partner and I chose Anne as my Doula as my baby would be the sixtieth birth that she had attended and she had had three children herself so I knew I would benefit from her experience in something I was experiencing for the first time.
I first chatted to Anne by phone to discuss how I hoped my birth would be and the support that I would like to receive from her. Anne then sent me lots of materials, including sample birth preferences and information on hypnobirthing. These were very useful in helping me to think about the different aspects of birth and to consider decisions that I might have to make before and during the birth and to prepare my mind for a calm birth.
I met Anne twice before the birth – and she helped me prepare further for example by teaching me about the physical processes of a normal birth and hypnobirthing techniques. Anne adapted these sessions to fit my needs and to supplement what I had learned at other antenatal classes. She also gave me practical help – even taking me to the hospital during my first session when I was worried about my baby’s movements and printing my birth preferences as I didn’t have a printer.
On the night I gave birth Anne took me to the hospital at 2am and she was so calm and professional and worked confidently and respectfully alongside the hospital staff and my mother. This made me feel that I had a united and expert team looking after and supporting me. When needed Anne gave me gentle prompts and reminders of the breathing techniques which helped me through contractions and she supported me when I needed to make urgent decisions about deviations from my birth plan. She was encouraging and calm throughout. As a result, although many aspects of my birth did not go in accordance with my plan, with hindsight I would not have changed anything, even if I had more time to make my decisions.
My beautiful baby boy arrived at 4.41am and Anne stayed with us while he did the breast crawl to reach my breast and have his first feed and until we had feeding established.
A few days later Anne visited again so I could chat about the birth and we could share the lovely ‘groaning cake’ that she had brought – just one of the lovely personal touches that make Anne a wonderful doula, particularly for a first time mother.’ Rachel
‘I was birth partner for my daughter, Rachel, who had her first baby in Belfast. Anne’s presence made the whole experience a great joy for us both. She greatly contributed to the calm environment during the short labour. Together with the attentive care of doctors and midwives a healthy happy boy was born and now 3 weeks old he is enjoying his new surroundings!
Thank you again, Anne’ Barbara
From the offset Anne was amazingly patient and kind – we met briefly and then my husband also met her. We just knew she would make the difference and she really did; despite all my fears and worries, including Group B strep, I achieved a VBAC water birth with not one stitch!!!! I could not have asked for a better outcome and feel I’ve achieved closure after my two previous deliveries.
Anne was always at the end of the phone, offering support and guidance. She also supported me with hypnobirthing and came over for a pre-birth relaxation session. I felt more confident, relaxed and supported having her in my corner and her calm presence and unflappable nature just made me feel more self-assured.
Thank you so, so much Anne, for making my final birth such a positive and healing journey for me. I will never forget it.’ Rachel
Michelle and Bruce
The presence of a Doula goes beyond a birthing partner for me as also meant a gentle mothering figure, someone to reach out to for help, touch or just a glance to when having strong waves of surges (contractions). Whilst I chose to have my third baby in hospital and without knowing how or when I would give birth , it was important that I had a holistic sense of well-being and felt the natural side to the birthing of the baby even if in what can be sometimes a clinical environment and I felt it was a Doula that can prompt you with all these things and help in any options that you may have to think about and above all remain calm and focussed.
Also having the practical help as a woman in the final stages needing extra help with the logistics of moving alongside the help and support of the midwives too. For me, it was and still is important to embrace the natural side of childbirth in all its stages in pregnancy and I found that a Doula can empower you as a woman and fill in the gaps of knowledge you may need to prepare you for birthing your baby the best you can.
I could not have managed without Anne at my side and she stayed a valuable 4 hours afterwards into the early hours of the morning and found the Doula support a healing and nurturing experience, something I would definitely have again and thoroughly recommend.’ Rebecca
‘The worst thing about using a doula for the birth of my second child was that I was cross with myself for not doing it the first time around. During and following the birth of my first son I felt lost; decisions were made that I later regretted. I felt swept along by health service protocols and didn’t get anything the way I wanted it. The second time, with Anne was amazing. And it wasn’t because I was more confident the second time around. If anything I was more wound up because the first time had been so dreadful.
Anne empowered me and helped me to think logically and clearly. She was sensitive to my fears and my emotions; her wisdom helped me navigate those. She gave the right information at the right time and always in a balanced way. She helped me understand more thoroughly what the medics were telling me but also provided additional evidence-based information. Every time I felt overwhelmed her input helped me calm myself and ensure that I always felt well informed.
I had experienced five miscarriages before my second successful pregnancy. Prior to meeting Anne I was nervous about even being pregnant never mind going through labour again. She transformed the experience. I had a breezy easy pregnancy and felt that the decisions made during and following labour were mine. It was such a worthwhile investment. Having those positive pregnancy and labour experiences this time around helped me put the negative experiences of the first time to bed, but I also think that they helped me be a better and happier mother right from the start.
Anne is professional and highly competent, but more importantly she just slots in. Easy to be with. Fun. Considerate. And her presence meant my husband could focus on my other son which was crucially important to us. The only negative is that we missed her when it was all done.’ Katie
‘Thank you for supporting us throughout our birthing journey. It really was more amazing that I could have imagined! You are a fantastic doula. I hope you can continue to do the work you do, and many more babies can be born to parents with your support and expertise.’ Owen
‘Thank you for educating, empowering and supporting us through our birth journey, and for making the process enjoyable, exciting, magical and full of love. I will always be grateful we found you. Tara
‘First time mother and so glad I made the decision to have a doula. Honestly, I could not imagine going through my labour without Anne. My birth plan changed massively once I arrived at the hospital and everything I was afraid of happening happened. But I was so grateful Anne was there. She kept my anxiety at bay and walked me through everything that was happening around me and kept me calm and relaxed. She has made what I would have believed to be a traumatic birth otherwise into a special moment that I will never forget. Would highly recommend!’ Heather
“After a traumatic first birth, I knew that I wanted to do things differently for my second baby. I contacted Anne and was struck by her warm and understanding manner. My husband and I were seeking more continuity of care and support than we had previously experienced… Anne provided this and more during the pregnancy and birth. I chose to plan a home birth, but believe that whatever way I wanted to welcome my baby into the world she would have been fully supportive. We encountered some obstacles in the process of planning the birth but she was always ready to listen and respond with words of encouragement and wisdom as well as facts and reason from her extensive research and continued professional development.
In early labour I was glad to have someone to contact without feeling like a nuisance and Anne regularly checked how I was doing and sent me encouraging messages. Later, she came to our home and I was glad of her suggestions to help me relax and cope with the hard work of birth… tens machine, rebozo, positioning, oils, massage… it was all so appreciated and I know she has many more tricks in her doula bag! But best of all was the positive atmosphere she created with her attitude that birth should be a special experience – and it was. Our baby arrived swiftly and safely in our home and myself and my husband will always cherish those first few hours with our newly expanded little family and Anne ready in the background to anticipate our needs and assert our choices.
In my first birth, I lost my voice and power. In the second, Anne not only was a strong advocate for me but also helped me to make myself heard, making me feel dignified and powerful throughout the experience.” Lauren
“Thank you so much for your support during both pregnancy and (most importantly!) during labour. It was invaluable having you there and I keep raving about how great doulas are to random pregnant woman!” Amy
“My wife Evelyn and I were expecting our first child and she wanted a doula because she does not have any family here and my own mother is no longer with us. We discovered Anne’s website and arranged an initial meeting which went extremely well.
We found Anne very easy to talk to and were impressed with the breadth and depth of her knowledge about all aspects of childbirth. At the same time, she was always sensitive to our views and preferences, and did not try to change our minds about things we wanted. We also quickly realised that being a doula is a vocation for Anne, something she thoroughly enjoys and passionately believes in, rather than doing it to earn a living.
When the big day arrived, things did not go smoothly and it got quite hectic in the delivery room. Anne remained calm throughout and helped me to reassure Evelyn and encourage her during the delivery which was successful in the end.
Immediately afterwards, Evelyn had to be taken to the operating theatre so did not have much time for skin-to-skin contact with our baby. Anne suggested to the midwives that I could do this instead, to which they agreed. She then sat with me and helped me keep the baby calm until Evelyn was back and able to feed her. She even thought of taking a video of me with the baby so that Evelyn would be able to share in the experience.
Evelyn had to remain in hospital for a while and Anne visited her regularly as a postnatal doula, bringing fruit to aid her recovery and offering lots of useful suggestions on looking after the baby.
We are so blessed to have had Anne’s help, knowledge and companionship over the past few months. We would confidently state that you are unlikely to find a better doula in Northern Ireland.” Dale & Evelyn
“Having Anne as our doula genuinely changed our experience of pregnancy and birth. From the first contact to the birth itself we felt completely comfortable with her, she truly went above and beyond to be available and supportive. She ‘got’ what we needed and we felt that however the birth went, we were in a much stronger place having her there with us.
My first birth was a very difficult experience for us and left me deeply anxious and worried in my next pregnancies. Despite a calm birth at home with our second child, I still found preparing for birth a third time stressful, so we considered finding a doula for the first time. Anne really understood where we were coming from and immediately had practical suggestions to support us through the pregnancy.
During the birth itself she kept me calm through a rapid labour, and remembered and reminded the midwives of my wishes discreetly. It made a whole hour with just us and our baby possible after our daughter’s birth, and will always be one of my happiest memories.
I wholeheartedly recommend her – whether it’s your first or fourth and wherever/however you hope to give birth having someone like Anne to support you makes such a difference.” Caragh
“The service Anne provided throughout the pregnancy and during birth was wonderful. She was very supportive of our birth wishes and took the time to thoroughly read and discuss our birth plan, which was very reassuring for both my partner and myself.
Being the Father during pregnancy and birth can be stressful for its own reasons. This was our third pregnancy and our second home birth. From our first meeting with Anne she was at pains to ensure our birth experience was as rewarding for me as it was my partner.
The birth experience itself was beautiful, and in no small part to Anne’s ability as a Doula. Her thorough knowledge of our birth plan meant that when things became more involved, we had someone with the experience to remember those key points.
After the birth Anne ensured that my partner, our new-born daughter and myself spent the first hour together alone. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had and a memory I will always cherish.
I have Anne to thank for that.” Martin
“My first gorgeous child, a little boy of 18 months was born in 2016 at 38 weeks. I was induced by oxytocin and it was hot and heavy. During my second pregnancy this year, I decided I wanted a doula to keep me calm, focused and empowered, and boy that’s exactly what I got and so much more. I gained a friend who I’m very grateful for. My beautiful daughter was born in August 2017, also by induction, and Anne could not have done any more for me, during and after. In fact words can’t really describe how she managed to make the clinical, sterile, unhomely, scary delivery suite magical. With each intense contraction, it was made bearable and when my little girl took us all by surprise by showing up quickly, Anne saw me panic and was my voice of reason and reassurance.
I am so grateful to Anne for all she did for me and my son, and at the awesome birth of my daughter. It would have all been very different had I not had Motherdoula at my back and we will remember that forever! If anyone I know announces a pregnancy, I cannot recommend Anne highly enough!” Elaine
“This was my fourth baby, my second VBAC and the first one to have a doula, and Anne was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a natural birth – as natural as I could get, as I had to have my baby in the hospital. We were very comfortable with Anne from the first time we met. She gave us alot of information that we didn’t know; about my rights, and natural ways to deliver, and cope with labour.
While in labour, Anne just said and did everything I needed her to do. I had the quick natural drug-free birth that I wanted. We would highly recommend Anne to anyone who was considering employing a doula.” Melissa and Steven
“My first delivery wasn’t ideal, leaving me with deep fears, anxiety and concerns about how the birth of baby number two would go, which caused me alot of stress throughout the early part of my second pregnancy. That is until I met Anne, she helped alleviate my fears, helped me feel listened to, cared about and assured that this time things would be better and positive. And indeed she was right. Anne supported myself and my husband throughout my labour and helped me have a positive, empowering natural birth, the birth I had always hoped to have had the first time round. She made me feel safe from the minute we arrived at the hospital, she asked all the right questions on my behalf, whilst maintaining a respectful and professional manner with all the midwives, doctors, etc, with whom we came into contact with. She supported both myself and my husband in the delivery room, and kept everything upbeat and relaxed, which I am so grateful for! I am so pleased to have had her at the birth and would recommend her highly! You couldn’t get a nicer lady or a more fantastic doula and I will forever be grateful for her being there with us on the birth of our son.” Vicki
“This was my first baby and I was very nervous of the birth. I chose to have Anne as my doula to support me throughout the pregnancy and birth and I’m really glad I did. Anne was armed with plenty of information that put my mind at ease and meant I could enjoy being pregnant instead of worrying. At the birth I found Anne’s presence comforting and reassuring and I know that without her I would have been stressed out the whole time. Thanks to her natural pain relief and supportive words I got the drug free birth I had hoped for. I have lovely memories of coloured lights in the water, the scent of essential oils, my partner and Anne by my side and my beautiful baby at the end. Anne also captured these special moments on camera. After Anne’s last visit I felt sad to be saying goodbye to such a wonderful lady but if I have another baby I will definitely be giving her a call!” Sarah
“A friend of ours suggested that a post-natal doula might provide us with the support that we required. She found Anne online and sent the details to Victoria. There are currently very few doulas in Northern Ireland and so we did not interview more than one doula. However, even if there had been numerous doulas to choose from we still would have chosen Anne. Victoria made contact with Anne and within the same day she came out to meet our family and offered her support. From the first meeting we found Anne’s personable, sympathetic and non-judgemental character very appealing and knew that she was the perfect person to help us through this turbulent and emotionally overwhelming period in our lives.
Anne is an incredibly emotionally sensitive individual and has such a warm personality, it would be difficult not to build a strong rapport with such a wonderful lady.” Victoria & James
“My wife and I were accompanied through our second child’s birth by Anne. This was the first time we have used a doula and we can thoroughly recommend the experience.
Right from meeting Anne we felt comfortable sharing our plans for a normal delivery following a previous Caesarean section. Anne made our birth environment comfortable and allowed us to concentrate on relaxing whilst Anne dealt with the extraneous factors.
It was also great to leave Anne to look after my wife when I arrived at the hospital and parked the car. Anne stayed with us the day before the birth and the night of the birth and only left when we were settled and happy. With Anne’s help and expertise we achieved the harmonious natural delivery we had been so determined to experience. Thank you Anne!” Alexander
“I felt safe with Anne right from the off. She was recommended to me through another doula I went to school with and after a previous traumatic emcs I really needed a professional I could trust.
On the big day she intuitively knew when to be there and when to make the decision to go home to give me a break for a sleep when early labour progressed quite slowly. She knew when to melt into the background to give us our space when we needed it. It was great to have her help me make the decision to go to the hospital at the right time. She gave me the confidence to make the decisions when I needed to. She was great at reminding me to do the things I’d planned to do in my birth wishes plan. She also had good relaxation and painkilling skills up her sleeve!
It was such a comfort to know I had back up both at home and in the hospital, and that we weren’t alone in our endeavours to have a normal, natural birth after a caesarean. We were successful against the odds (malpostioned baby, slightly stalled labour) and Anne was fundamental in helping us create the right ambience for the job. Thank you Anne!” Suzanne
“From the start Anne was supportive, understanding and helpful. She listened to my concerns and through the birth of our daughter, her support was fantastic. Anne really helped us to stay focused. Having Anne as our doula was awesome!” Richard
“Anne is calm and confident. I knew that if my anxiety crept in, her calmness would be what I needed. I knew that if I started to feel like I was losing control or started doubting myself, she would give me confidence. I knew I could rely on her to see beyond policy and procedure so she could ensure I had all the information, risks, benefits and alternatives to make fully informed choices that were right for me and my baby. She was able to pick up what my triggers were so she could step in to support me. She was not only understanding of my wishes, but was able to adapt and support them as my birth plans and environment changed. I loved having her to be a part of my daughter’s birth.” Patricia
“Anne visited me a couple of times, always taking her time to listen and getting to know my expectations. She was very understanding with regards to my first experience at childbirth. All I wanted was to have someone listening to my fears and wishes. Anne was creative and supportive throughout the stages of labour. Her emotional support was essential for me to have a great birth. Anne was ever so sweet and discreet, letting me know she was right there if I needed her, but at the same time allowing space to bond with my baby. It’s been a wonderful experience from the first day! If Anne is available she will definitely be my doula again.
Anne is an experienced mother, a caring, gentle, good-natured woman who absolutely loves her occupation, taking her time to fully listen to and support a mum-to-be’s wishes. With her skilled knowledge on pain relief methods, she know exactly what to use and when to act, showing confidence and empathy all the time.
If someone asked me about the benefits of using a doula, I’d tell them about my positive experience, and how the presence of a doula can change the whole scenario and idea of childbirth.” Ilana
“I think that especially in Northern Ireland the conversation is more likely to be ‘have you thought about having a doula?’ as many people are still not familiar with the idea and the associated benefits. I would strongly encourage anyone to have a doula involved in their birth. I think that it dramatically reduced my fear and anxiety, contributes to fewer clinical interventions and transforms the role of the father. Dads attending births is still relatively new but there is really very little support to equip them with the skills and knowledge to undertake the role of birth partner confidently and therefore it can be a traumatic event for them. I think that Anne was a major source of encouragement and confidence to both of us.” Caroline
‘Anne was very friendly, open and down to earth, and easy to talk to. Anne was organised and very knowledgeable, bringing information to me as discussed. Anne was supportive to my situation and open to changes.’ First time mum