I grew up surrounded by people who wanted to change the world around them for the better. Fundraisers were where I hung around as a kid, then when I got older our house became the place all the waifs and strays gathered when my troubled teenage mates found themselves in need of a place to go and I would drag my poor mum out of bed at 3am to collect them (she's a very patient person.)
Over the years I have done many things and learnt from many hard-working and inspirational people, both professionally and as a volunteer. From supporting children and adults with additional needs in education and in the community, to care work where I met amazing people in all stages of life and was occasionally privileged enough to care for people I will never forget in their final days. Through to working in the criminal justice system with people battling drug and alcohol dependency and trying to change their lives for the better, to helping out on the committee of a local animal charity, doing night shifts in homeless shelters and mentoring high school pupils whilst at university.
My parents taught me, above all else, this: ask questions, listen and be kind. This has always stayed with me - it is what I teach my own children and it forms the basis for all my work as a doula.
I was lucky enough to train as a doula by the extremely knowledgeable and experienced Zara from Developing Doulas, who was in fact my own doula during the birth of my youngest child. I am currently working towards finding a mentor and eventually hope to become registered with Doula UK. You may have noticed my packages cost less than some doulas in the area and this is why - I am not yet registered, but working towards it. If you would like to find out more about the different training and qualification levels of doulas I am happy to talk it through, or you can find more information on the Doula UK and Developing Doulas websites.
Although my official life as a doula started fairly recently, like many doulas it is something I have found myself doing for friends and relatives in various ways for many years. I am very used to being called upon for tips and tricks on babywearing and my own very difficult breastfeeding journey has meant I quickly became the go-to-girl for many new mums struggling to feed their babies comfortably.
Eventually I decided it would be a good idea to make it official, so in 2014 I trained with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, passed and became a mother supporter. Since then I have supported families face to face, via email, at home, in hospital, at peer support groups and even in NICU.
Like most parents, my kids are my world.
My first birth was a hospital birth, and my first baby was a special care baby, so I have a particular interest in supporting parents who are trying to establish feeding and bonding in these unusual circumstances. Our feeding journey was troubled and painful, and I remain eternally grateful to the friends, family, volunteers and professionals who kept me going and turned things around for us. I am passionate about making sure as many parents as possible have the support to feed their baby safely in the way they want to.
Aside from my family, I love the community around me in Newport and try to be as involved as I can with our vibrant and diverse community. You can read more about this on my 'community' page.
Then there are my hobbies. I am a singer and music is a part of my life everyday. I also love to dance and am a lapsed powerlifter determined to get back to work and start lifting some heavy things again!
Another important part of my life is information. I am a scientist and philosopher at heart, with a love for analysis and over thinking. To me, providing robust, accurrate information alongside compassion for my clients is key to my work as a doula.
Do give me a call for a no-pressure, non-judgemental chat. I look forward to hearing where you are in your journey and finding out if I'm the right doula for you. Ella.x