Advice From Katy’s Doula

Screen-shot-2013-10-29-at-15.20.55Becca Wickham was with me for my son’s birth, and she’s amazing!

She is a qualified and recognised Doula, having trained with Paramana Doula, and supports mums before, during and after childbirth.
Today Becca shares her advice on coping with, and recovering from childbirth. She draws on her experience helping women to prepare for birth, attending the birth and following-up with mums to make sure they are recovering afterwards.

Q: How does a Doula support mums before, during and after childbirth?

Becca: I provide advice and guidance on how to prepare for birth, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can include devising and writing a birth plan, giving massage or yoga tuition, and talking through fears, concerns and wishes. Then I offer emotional support and act as the mum’s protector during the birth itself. Then afterwards I help women to regain control and feel like themselves again.

Many mums find their attitude to themselves changes throughout pregnancy and birth. Often they feel an instinctive need to look after themselves more, even if they’ve never focused on fitness, well-being and health before. On the other hand, lots of women who are used to having a lot of control in their lives can find motherhood entirely unfamiliar, and even feel quite lost. My job is to help mums navigate through by being a consistent, caring support.

Q: How do mums usually feel after giving birth?

Becca: Birth is a challenge, physically and emotionally, whether yours is a walk in the park or an absolute slog. It’s the most amazing thing your body will ever do.

Mums may feel overwhelmed by the experience of birth – then add to that the challenges of breast-feeding, a lack of sleep, rushing hormones… Most women say they never predicted how much their body would feel it had changed. They want to do something to feel better again, but it’s often tough just to get started and get active.

Q: How can mums actively embrace motherhood from day 1?

Becca: Most of the mums I have worked with are really grateful for a massage or a hug. It sounds really simple, and it is! Just a way to help mums start to feel better in their new bodies. I also always recommend getting out for a walk as soon as mums feel able (even if it’s snowing like it was when your baby was born Katy!).

Mums need to understand that the more relaxed and happy you feel in yourself the better you’ll get on with motherhood. Give yourself the time and space to do whatever you love doing. Ask for help and take time out to walk, sing, cook, surf the Internet, read – whatever works for you. If you can find activities you enjoy to do with baby too you’ve solved a key early problem. Try dancing round the kitchen?!

Just because you’ve had a baby don’t think your needs no longer exist. I’ve seen women act like they’re under siege. They think they’re solely responsible and guilt is such an issue. Loved ones and friends are critical in many ways, ask them to help. So many mums neglect themselves because they feel that their entire raison d’etre is baby. Keep up friendships and positive activities.

Q: What is your top body tip for new mums?

Becca: Be proud of yourself, your baby, and your body. Stay positive and don’t beat yourself up! If you’ve put on a lot of weight, or think your body has changed beyond recognition, don’t worry. You’ll build it back through progressive exercise and healthy eating. Just take the time to do it properly.