“I sing the praises of Hollie and the verve of her doula work to anyone who will listen!
This was my third birth, my second home waterbirth and my first with Hollie by my side. Do you know the feeling you get when you look back on certain things in your life and simply cannot imagine or shudder to think of what could have been without that one incredible person? Consider that person Hollie!
I was convinced of the importance of needing a doula after a very emotionally and psychologically traumatic first birth – there was nothing “wrong” with baby or me, but I was deemed to have “failure to progress”, by the medical “model’s standards” I was taking too long – this caused a devastating blow to my confidence and therein a cascade of interventions. I was young, inexperienced and afraid. From the moment I heard those words my beautiful body and baby slowly succumbed to other people’s fear and then my own.
I knew clearly after the birth that despite having a very loving and diligent husband and enveloping mother on hand I was still incredibly vulnerable. They both did an amazing job supporting me, but I could see with 20/20 vision that what I had needed was someone who could shut out the world for me, protect my birthing space and advocate for me – without the charge and emotion that so often comes via our loved ones.
This bore out in my second birth. A drug-free three-hour, home waterbirth. My doula, fierce and serene guarded and assisted me with every ounce of her being. She knew when I needed her close and when instead she needed to stop others from getting too close. The midwives simply watched in awe and helped me impeccably afterwards.
Three years on and I was eager and excited to welcome my third baby, though, I had the wisdom and measure of past experience to steady me in the realities of birth.
I had had a two-day labour and a three-hour labour so I knew mother nature always has the ultimate say but this time more than ever I was willing to dance with the experience. To really feel it, trust it, cherish it, sink into it. As a psychotherapist, I know that I can only work with what is in the room, what is given to me by the client, the things that are withheld often create the most struggle. So too with birth – the fears and worries we don’t address before birth often arise within birthing.
And I can attest to the power and preserve of a mother whose nervous system is not jacked up on fear. After I discovered the work of Pam England and the Laborinth – a spiritual birthing tool – in my last trimester of pregnancy Hollie and I worked diligently to shine a light on every corner of my mind, chamber of my heart and hiding place in my body.
Hollie was my wing woman at every turn. I had a Kundalini Yoga 120-day celebration (where the soul of the baby is welcomed into the mother) which she meticulously co-ordinated and a Blessing Circle which she lead on my behalf – both were utterly transformative for grounding me sacredly with my baby and my body. The inclusion of ceremony and celebration from a spiritual angle was something that Hollie showed immense skill in adapting her care around.
We even made birthing candles for every woman to light once my birthing began, and Hollie made sure all of my women knew to light their candle – the reassurance I received just from knowing those flames were burning brightly for my baby and me was immense.
During birthing, I was able to spend the first three hours simply breathing and meditating through every surge and trusted when it felt time to call Hollie. I relished the sheer luxury of resting into the care I had been given and felt so grateful to finally be experiencing birth as a woman in her innate power.
From the moment Hollie arrived I suddenly seemed to switch into active labour. Permission granted. Safety assured. I knew I was in very capable hands and I could let myself go.
Three hours later Gabriel was earthside. My memory is of Hollie never leaving my side. She massaged my lower back with precision and performed the pelvic squeeze to alleviate pressure at the peak of every surge. Her well-timed whispers countered or off-set any intrusive or negative remarks often so casually injected into the space. “You’re doing it”, she’d reassure. “b-r-e-a-t-h-e”. she’d remind me.
The oft-overlooked and exquisite touches so necessary for continuity of experience in birth… making sure the lights remanded dim, asking phone calls and conversations to be outside the room, offering water and supplies at just the right moment.
Hollie is not just a doula. She is a woman and mother first. She gets it. She’s been here too, and it’s why she can be there with such deft and stellar support. Her knowing is innate and intuitive and she moves with efficiency and focus – prepare to feel at the very centre of her world.
Hollie is a guardian and advocate for you and your baby. With you before, during and after (coffee and cake deliveries after a long sleepless night anyone?!?) and forever an angel in your midst.
Gift yourself this wise and wonderful woman. I speak with total conviction when I say doulas should not be a luxury or an option, they should be mandatory!”