What to look for in a Doula.

I’ve been working as a professional birth partner or doula for nearly 10 years, heres my top ten tips for choosing the best doula for you.
Congratulations you are making a smart choice by deciding to hire a doula.

1, Word of mouth, if you’re recommended a doula by a friend or family member then make sure to contact her.

2, Avoid any doula with hidden extras, the doula who charges you for the cab to the birth or who will add costs to your bill for her food and drink during the birth. Ask about costs.

3, The doula with “DOULA” branding, its fine to pass a card or leaflet but I’m suspicious of doulas who wear t shirts with their logo and number on.

4, A control freak doula, I’ve witnessed a doula tell a women “your birth will be s*** if you don’t hire me ” eek run, run from this kind of doula.

5, The same goes for if your doula has a negative attitude to anything you want, its YOUR birth not hers.

6, The doula who talks endlessly about how perfect her births were, this is YOUR birth. Its your story not hers. Good doulas try to never mention their own births incase it influences their clients choices in anyway.

7, Hire a doula who has trained with a respected expert, I did my course with Michel Odent a retired OB who attended thousands of natural births as well as medicated births,There are many great courses but there are also lots of crap ones, do a bit of research, many many people are “training” doulas, the truth is there is no course that can prepare your for working with women the way actually getting to births will.

8, Consider whether you need a doula, do you need to hire a doula? I’m not suggesting you substitute your mother or sister,(many a birth has been stalled because the mothers mother is around!) eeek ! I’m suggesting that after reading about birth, watching videos on natural birth and believing in your body’s ability to birth that you might find that you hire a doula and when you go into labour never get round to calling her ! This isn’t an issue for most doula’s as they usually cover this in their contract or agreement. As the client you need to ask about what if I don’t call you to the birth? Some doulas will charge full price, some a percentage and some just the deposit, take into account that the toughest part of the job of birth partner is being on call, 24/7 for weeks on end its exhausting.

9, Do NOT hire a doula who has a negative attitude to midwives or other health professionals, i’ve heard of doulas telling clients to go against the recommendations of midwives, its ok to question why a decision is being made or ask for time to think but to refuse on the say so of a doula is not on. Doulas are NOT health professionals, we are hired to secure your emotional well being.

10, Be wary of doulas who don’t use a contract or agreement of any kind, they often change their minds or fail to turn up when called to a birth and you could be left out of pocket.

I love love love attending births its an honour and a privilege and I remember every single birth I’ve attended.

The Kids are Alright.



Hello there people, I’ve read over the years scores of “signs of autisim/adhd/aspergers” lists and afterwards I’ve spent hours/days/weeks watching my kids and then deciding they have a problem, shock panic sleepless nights and worry.

I’m not alone in this, most mothers I know would agree that at least one of their children has an “issue”.

The simple fact is that your kids and mine are fine. Yes, FINE.

My eldest was referred to a speech therapist by the school nurse when he was 4 because he lisped, I didn’t take him, he out grew it within a year, he s an incredibly articulate young man and has won awards for his speaking abilities.

My second child had serious speech issues and years of speech therapy to over come them, he went to a primary school which had an attached speech and language unit so it was all done with little disruption to him, I can spot a real problem and deal with it! Its all the phantom ones I’m wary of.

I was told once that my son Mr A was deaf by his teacher, I laughed because I knew my son could hear me open a packet of crisps from another floor of the house, or hear the xbox be switched on from a mile away!

The truth is her lessons were boring and she shouted all the time, he hates shouting and was literally tuning her out as a way to cope with the day.

My youngest was a reluctant speaker and at the age of 3 would still only speak to us, his family. His nursery teacher told me “hes a selective mute” sorry but wtf?? Its not ok that she said that, its terrible that she took it upon herself to diagnose my child with a serious mental health issue, shes a nursery teacher not a phycologist.

Hes now 6 and speaks just fine except for a slight lisp due to recently losing his two front teeth. We home educate for many reasons but one of them is that we don’t want our talented, happy children to be labelled with a syndrome, they all have autistic traits, lining up toys, slow to speak, trouble concentrating.

Teachers and support staff are trained to “spot” the trouble children, and “help” them by referring to social workers, eek thats a nightmare isnt it, a noisy child or one who cant sit still and thats it your child has a label and you have contact with social workers.

In my experience social workers are often completely out of touch with the needs of their clients and their good intentions have harmed many people and allowed many children to grow up in desperate situations of abuse and neglect. I don’t have much time for the profession, though I am sure many are lovely. I’ve not met any.

My beautiful talented niece is autistic and has been pretty much since birth, her parents have had to fight tooth and nail to get her the support and help she needs, why should they have to fight for it? They pay their taxes, well I assume they do ­čśŤ Shes gone from having a lot of probles at the age of 4 to over coming most of them and though shes had help and one to one teaching at school most of the work was done by her mum and dad who are easily the most positive parents I know. She is 16 and currently writing a book as well as studying for GCSE’s.

But my point is that if 1000 kids are labelled with syndromes they don’t actually have and treated for them then what about those who do really truly need help? The truth is they often don’t get anywhere near the amount of support they need, their parents become experts and its through their support and hard work that the children get on.

I’m sure we all have a family member with “funny ways”. If these things are not affecting them negatively then just ignore them, so the hat itches, the socks have to match, the forks have to be rounded not flat handled. So what? Everyone has unique ways about them, I drive my husband nuts by losing things all the time, he has a set place for everything. Which of us has the syndrome? Who cares !!

Some of the most creative, intelligent, inventive people to ever live would have been diagnosed with some kind of syndrome had they lived in the west today, dosed up with toxic prescription drugs or given counselling.

Sometimes having to have everything “just so” is fine, perfectionism isn’t a bad thing , its vital in many professions. We don’t all learn and develop at the same pace, we don’t all enjoy the same things, we are different and so are our kids, and thats OK.

I honestly believe we are all on the autistic spectrum at some point in our lives. The professionals are quick to label kids and this means the ones who really do need help get lost in the crowd of scores of kids who really are just fine and would be able to sit and listen for half an hour if they’d been given the chance to run to school and had a nutritious breakfast and not ┬ásugar filled pop tarts or coco pops. I don’t hate schools, honestly, I just disagree with everyone being forced into the same shape whole.

So please ignore the lists going round online on how to spot the early signs of ADHD or whatever and trust your instincts as a parent, of course if you are worried see your GP but don’t worry needlessly. Your child’s childhood is sadly @ 9 short years from age 2-11, before 2 they’ll not remember much and after 11 they really are teenagers and will talk about “when I was little” as though they are adults ! Squeeze as much positivity into those years as you can.



Rant over.