My name is Paula. I live in March, Cambridgeshire with my husband Pete, our 5 children, and a Bearded Collie called Martha.
I’m a doula, women’s rights activist, adventurer, traveller, writer, and founder of a campaign called Birthplace Matters, which successfully lobbied QE hospital in Kings Lynn to restore its homebirth service. I've been supporting women in the area for the last 15 years and helped set up Home Birth Norfolk with my wonderful friend fellow doula Siobhán Ridley. I am also the organiser of the Holistic Birth Fair in Castle Acre. More recently I took up Macramé (Macra-Mama-Licious on facebook) and teach classes across East Anglia.
My antenatal curriculum organically came into being after I wrote the my Go With The Flow Mindfulness For Pregnancy and Birth Cards and Guidebook a few years ago and I get such a buzz from sharing what I know in this way. This set has proven really popular with antenatal teachers, doulas and of course most importantly, pregnant people themselves! (If you hire me as your doula you get them free as part of your package)
WHAT LIGHTS ME UP?
Becoming a mum has been the most amazing, fun, healing, inspiring, challenging and transformational journey – each pregnancy and birth has taught me so much. By working as a doula it is wonderful to be able to pay it forwards and help other parents. Since I first trained as a doula in 2011 with Nurturing Birth, I’ve been helping mothers to give birth, sometimes more than once.
Supporting you no matter how fresh to parenting or experienced you may be is my passion and I believe that each family has its own unique path and birth dance to follow – there is no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ template for pregnancy, birth and parenthood.
HOW I WORK WITH YOU TO SET YOUR GOALS
By listening to you and your partner, I help you to navigate the maze of birth choices, providing signposts to evidence-based information, so you can put birth plans in place which will help the magic to flow no matter the setting or circumstances of your baby’s birth. My go with the flow antenatal sessions can take place in your home setting or if you prefer, in my cosy yurt. This typically happens over a few sessions and is really practical but also a holistic journey of self discovery. Learning at a pace that is right for you, we explore positions, mindsets and options that will help your birth flow as smoothly as possible. The course is for both parents (or just you if you are solo parenting!) and focuses you on this baby and this birth, with ways to support you through all the changes – helping you to make more confident and informed choices as you go along.
I trained initially with Nurturing Birth but because I enjoy learning and sharing skills and knowledge and travelling so much (and doula lunch buffets are frankly delicious!), I’ve also trained with Birthing from Within (based on teachings from the iconic book by Pam England), and I have also hosted a training course in my yurt (secretly my favourite training but sshhh don't tell anyone) with my friend Maddie McMahon from Developing Doulas.
Each course has brought very precious and totally different insights, knowledge and some great friendships all over the world. I'm all about lifelong learning and personal growth. Any chance to get together with a group of doulas and I'm there.
In 2019 I started training with Suzanne Yates in Bristol, (she is seriously brilliant) using Shiatsu for Pregnancy and Labour comfort and have completed the first part of her course for doulas and midwives. I love her training so much I'm heading back to Bristol to learn again with her in Spring 2023 as I have seen the benefits of Shiatsu first hand with the families I work with, and want to go deeper!
I LOVE REBOZOS!
You may want extra support during your birth which I can give you in the form of a mexican rebozo -a traditional long woven scarf/ wrap which is extremely versatile and non invasive for supporting your bump and entire pelvic/hips area during pregnancy, birth and beyond. I have trained with some of the best – Stacia Smales, Sophie Messager and most recently, midwife Molly O’Brien at her Biomechanics for birth workshop, which was focused on identifying malpositioned babies and using non-invasive simple techniques, gently encouraging them into optimal positions to ease birth, keep contractions more productive and shorten what could otherwise potentially be a long labour.
CLOSING THE BONES
During your birth I will be a rock for your family to lean on, giving you emotional, physical and practical support throughout. The support doesn't end there however. Afterwards I offer a postnatal traditional belly massage followed by Closing The Bones using the rebozo. It’s wonderful for helping your pelvis to feel healed and restored after birth, and can actually be done months or years after a woman has given birth.
MY WISHES FOR YOU
My deepest wish is to help make your unique journey a little lighter, easier, more gentle and fun, as you transition into this new part of your lives. You will see from the testimonials on this website from parents I have supported, examples of that wish in action!
To walk away from a birth story with a happy mother, happy baby and happy family, is my goal – and I'm so fortunate to have stayed friends and got to witness some of those early babies grow into beautiful children. I am very blessed!
A note for SURVIVORS
One area of awareness raising that is close to my heart is advocating for the birthing needs of survivors of CSA. As a survivor myself, I am passionate about supporting women at this highly emotional time of their lives. Please know that it is safe for you to disclose any traumatic experiences you have had so that I can support you to really thrive and feel positive about your body and the care plan you wish to have in place.
Proud to be a member of Norfolk Doulas, and also listed with Developing Doulas, The Doula Directory and also on Samantha Gadsden's directory ❤