I originally trained as a birth doula in 2006 and have been continually updating my training ever since (including training with DONA International and Spinning Babies) and last year I trained with the incredible Ann Grauer of DONA International as a postpartum doula and offer a limited post partum doula service in Cork.
Since then I have never looked back and over the years I have worked with couples attending CUMH, Waterford Regional and Tipperary Hospitalas well as in a home birth setting. I have worked with couples having their first babies as well as those having a second or third child. I have experience of supporting couples in many different circumstances including those hoping for a VBAC or VBA2C, women who are choosing an epidural and those hoping to have an unmedicated birth. I pride myself on offering support to Mums (and their partners), throughout their pregnancy, labour and postnatally. I am available by email, phone or via Facebook to answer queries or provide reassurance throughout pregnancy - alongside the personal meet ups that I do with all my doula clients. I really enjoy getting to know a family over the time we spend together and it is real honour to be a part of this journey with them.
As well as being a doula I also trained as a GentleBirth Instructor in 2009. I became interested in GentleBirth after attending a course with Tracy Donegan in Dublin, while pregnant on my first child in 2005. I found Tracy thanks to my doula who suggested I meet with her due to my severe anxiety during my pregnancy. I went on to have a very positive birth experience so when Tracy told me she was developing GentleBirth I knew I wanted to offer this to couples in Cork. I began offering workshops in Cork in that year (making me one of the longest running and most experienced GentleBirth Instructors in Ireland). It is extremely fulfilling teaching the workshops knowing that I am supporting couples to have a positive birth experience, whatever path their birthing takes and being able to offer evidence based information to those coming along to the weekend. In 2010 I went on to have my second child using the GentleBirth programme and had a hugely positive experience myself. I pride myself on offering support to Mums (and their partners if needed), long after the workshop has finished and I am available by email, phone or via Facebook to answer queries or provide reassurance. I also offer regular GentleBirth meet ups in Cork and these are a chance for those interested in GentleBirth or who are using the programme to meet other like minded parents and have a cuppa in a relaxing and positive atmosphere. I have now taught hundreds of women and their partners in Cork how to prepare for a positive birth experience using GentleBirth.
In a voluntary capacity, I am a breastfeeding counsellor with Cuidiú, offering breastfeeding support to Mums in Cork over the phone or in person. I help co-ordinate our local Cuidiú breastfeeding group in Midleton which runs monthly.
I am also a qualified aromatherapist (I.T.E.C) since 2004, and when pregnant on my first child I used essential oils to help me deal with common pregnancy ailments such as insomnia; and also to support me during my labour. From this experience I developed my own range of essential oil products for pregnancy and labour: essencia Aromatherapy.
I cannot really put into words how much I love doing this work. I feel hugely privileged to be able to support couples in their choices as they go through such an important time period in their life. Anyone who knows me will attest to the passion I have and my ultimate dream would be that women having babies are treated with respect, listened to and shown compassion and support during their pregnancy and the birth of their child. I would love to see a maternity system where the informed choices they make are supported and that their partner too is supported in whatever role they are comfortable with as well. I would hope that by the time my children are becoming parents that a woman has the choice to give birth wherever they choose, and that no matter what way they hope to give birth (be it a home birth, hospital birth, natural birth, elective caesarean, epidural, drug free etc etc etc), that their decision is valued and respected.
Outside of my love of birth work, I am also passionate about making a difference in the wider community. After doing a BA in UCC (Sociology & History) and a Higher Diploma in Equality Studies in UCD, Iworked as a Community Development worker for women’s groups in Dublin’s North West Inner City. I also worked with Cork City North Citizen’s Information Service for 12 years. In this role as an Information Officer, I provided an information, advice and advocacy service to the general public on the Northside of Cork City and the skills I learned in this capacity enhances my role as a doula I feel (there is a lot of overlap between the two careers).
When I am not working I am busy raising 2 children (and as anyone with kids knows that is a job and a half!). I strive to parent gently and love to read parenting books that resonate and can help. I sometimes forget all the tools I have in my toolkit and the gentleness goes out the window but at least the aim is there to try and keep me on track (the mindfulness tracks I listen to daily also help with this as well). My daughter is nearly 11 - so we are entering the tweenage years, and my son is 6 and we all live in Midleton in East Cork. Myself and my husband emigrated to Cork from Dublin in 2005 during the Celtic Tiger (remember that!) and haven’t looked back since. I love living down here - it’s a great place to raise a family with the city nearby and so many amenities on our doorstep.
I also have hobbies - it’s not all work work work! I love reading and when I am not reading birth books will have some fiction in my hands. I also love unwinding with some TV - no documentaries for me. It’s Grey’s Anatomy all the way (though the birth scenes drive me nuts!). I love catching up with friends and eating out (and one of the things I love about Cork is all the great restaurants we have to choose from - Midleton alone has so many). I also love jigsaw puzzles, basic knitting and chatting (anyone who knows me will know I can talk for Ireland). So that’s me.