A new doula is now available in Bath and the surrounding area to offer birth and postnatal support to new mums and mums-to-be.
Doula Shell, owned and run by Michelle Weeks, offers emotional and practical support, encouragement and reassurance before, during and after childbirth. “The term doula comes from a Greek word meaning ‘a woman who serves’ and is often referred to as ‘mothering the mother’,” explained Michelle.
“Doulas do not perform clinical tasks, give medical advice or diagnose conditions. Instead, a doula is there to complement the birthing team of midwives, doctors and consultants, and to support a woman to find balanced information to make informed decisions about her maternity care.”
The services offered by a doula vary greatly according to the needs of the women, couple or family that she is working with. As Michelle explains, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. “Birth plans, parenting choices and situations vary greatly, but can all be supported. Whether it be a home water birth, a planned c-section, preparing bottles, playing with your toddler whilst you breastfeed, taking baby for a walk so you can get some much needed sleep, or simply a hug and a pair of ears to listen to whatever you feel like talking about, that’s where your doula can prove invaluable.”
Michelle is keen to add that doulas do not replace the partner, but to guide them in being confident support for you too. “A doula has intimate knowledge of birth, while your partner has intimate knowledge of you. Together, we can be the ultimate birthing team!”
“My philosophy is to be the calm in the room and to hold a safe space for women so they can explore the intricacies of their mothering journey along with their families. I aim to support the whole family to ensure a positive birth experience and postnatal period, while also keeping the family rhythm going.”