Carolyn Holt gets some inquisitive looks when she tells people what she does for a job. She tells Konect about becoming a “doula” and the interesting conversations it sparks at parties.
“I first heard about doulas when I was studying midwifery. A doula is someone who supports and empowers other women throughout their pregnancy and birth, as well as in the postnatal period. They’ve been popular in America for longer, where a lot of women want to take back the ownership of their birthing experiences.
“One of the reasons I wanted to be a midwife was to spend more time with the women, and get to know them throughout their pregnancy. It’s quite difficult to do that within the NHS set up at the moment, but hopefully that will eventually change.”
Carolyn’s tutor planted the seed of becoming a doula. “My tutor suggested that after qualifying, this might be a good route for me to take if I wanted to make a difference to the care women receive.
“For me it’s about being on the whole journey with the women. There used to be a bit of a divide between midwives and doulas, but now there’s better realisation that we’re all after the same thing; we all want a good experience for the woman and her family.”
Now that Carolyn is established, and has her blog and website set up, she’s keen to raise the awareness of doulas. “9 times out of 10 it’s that conversation at parties when you’re talking about what you do for a living; “you’re a what?!” It does make for interesting conversation! I often find I’m told peoples’ birth stories, sometimes from a partner’s perspective. No two experiences are ever the same!
“I think having my training as a midwife definitely helps me to connect with the women I meet, as well as with midwives too. It’s really nice to have that follow up after the mums have their baby. I’m on hand to help women with even the little things after they’ve had their baby, such as entertain an older sibling or pick up things from the shops for them.” Carolyn spends a lot of time researching different books to recommend to pregnant ladies and new mums. She also plans to expand her holistic services by offering reflexology and aromatherapy.
Carolyn works across much of West Lothian and West of Edinburgh too. To find out more about Carolyn’s journey to becoming a doula, visit http://www.doula-la.co.uk/ where you can read her blog.
First published in Konect October 2017
Author: Louise Taylor