Giving birth, breastfeeding and mothering my babies has completely transformed the way I look at life and what I hope to achieve for myself. With every tiny step my babies took, I, as a mother, found my own path and learnt to trust my instincts and what feels right to me. Breastfeeding, gentle attachment parenting, baby-wearing, signing with my babies and (as they became more verbal) communication techniques such as Non-Violent Communication, have all played an important part on my journey and I am always happy to share what I have learnt with those who are interested in finding out more.
Through my volunteer work as a breastfeeding counsellor with La Leche League in Southampton, which I started in 2014, I have discovered the joy of supporting other mothers to find their own voice and discover what works for them. Time after time, I have experienced that providing mothers with a non-judgmental listening ear as well as access to research based information that allows them to make informed decisions, will always result in the same outcome: mothers growing in confidence with each challenge having a baby brings. I firmly believe in empowering mothers this way!
This inspired me to do more training, so in 2019-2020, I completed a Breastfeeding Specialist Course with Deborah Robertson, IBCLC, which was an intense journey of learning and deepened my understanding and knowledge of breastfeeding and supporting mothers.
Later in 2020, I embarked on a new adventure and started a postnatal doula training course with Younique Postnatal, to add a new dimension to the support I feel I can offer.
Learning about the importance of postnatal care, surrounded by a group of likeminded women, opened a new world for me and it now feels like all the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place!
Since then, I have continued to expand my skills and knowledge to be able to offer mothers a wide range of support in the fourth trimester. In 2022, I completed training in the 3 Step Rewind technique with Ellie Cook to help mothers recover from trauma. Later in 2022, I rekindled my passion for baby-wearing with Rosie Knowles (author of "Why Babywearing Matters") and became a baby-wearing peer supporter.
My ultimate goal as a postnatal doula is this: a mother who feels satisfied with her postpartum experience and has the odds stacked in her favour to continue on a positive, confident parenting journey, and to reach the goals she sets for herself along the way.
This doesn’t just magically happen though: we’re really not supposed to just bounce back after birth, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Physical recovery as well as the mental and emotional transition into motherhood take time and need to be invested in.
I believe the care a new mother receives and the attention that is given to her general well-being in the early weeks, can have a life-long impact on her over-all health and mothering experience.
Being cared for in the postnatal period so you can focus on caring for your baby may sound like a luxury, but it really isn’t! We are not meant to do this alone and every mother deserves to have this support within reach, for her own well-being, that of her baby, her future self, her family, and, yes, I believe ultimately… our whole society! It really is just that important.
So to me, as your doula, it definitely feels like an honour to provide that support and make that difference in your life. Next to being a mother, being a doula is the best job in the world!
As a postnatal doula, I bring my listening and communication skills, my passion for and experience with breastfeeding and gentle parenting techniques, and my love for cooking. What the support I give looks like, completely depends on you, your baby and your family. In every situation, I ask myself: what will help you feel better and empowered; what will give you the best chance of recovering; which needs are most urgent?
All families, however big or small, are different. My aim is to be as inclusive as I can be in my practice. Please tell me what your individual needs are and I will do my best to meet those needs.
Breastfeeding has been an essential part of my mothering experience and I know from first-hand experience how important it is to many mothers. It is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying your baby’s needs: it is the natural food for babies that uniquely meets their changing needs; it is a mothering tool that can often fix any problem; it is a deep bond and a way of communicating with your baby, long before they speak their first words.
But while it is the natural way of feeding your baby, it is also a skill that you and your baby need to learn together. And sometimes, this can take a bit of time and encouragement. Sometimes, there are obstacles that make it harder for you both. Most times, mothers do need support. Maybe this is practical support and information, maybe this is simply talking to an experienced breastfeeding mother who can reassure you it is normal your baby wants to feed again and tell you you’re doing great!
Ideally, no mother would ever have to say: “I wanted to breastfeed, but…”. Every mother who chooses to breastfeed, should get the support she needs to make it work for her.
Breastfeeding is worth investing in! Having someone at home who can sit with you and make time for you from the start, can help steer your breastfeeding journey in the direction you want. Often, making some small adjustments at the start or catching issues before they become problems, can save you a lot of hard work to get back on track later on. A postnatal doula with experience in breastfeeding is ideally placed for this kind of guidance.
My Personal Background
I grew up in Flanders, Belgium and first studied languages and worked as an interpreter and teacher. I was lucky enough to live in Spain, Italy and Canada for some time and moved to Southampton in 2010, where I have been living since. I have two beautiful children who were born in 2011 and 2013 and every day I enjoy seeing them grow and develop, and I love how much I get to learn from them. In my free time I practice yoga, go cycling in the beautiful New Forest nearby, and play tennis. I enjoy cooking, drawing and painting, gardening and reading, and am always excited to learn new skills. I also love looking after my three happy chickens, my two bunnies and my cat, so I don’t have any problems keeping busy!