My name is Caron Smith and I am the proud mother of three wonderful young adults and we live with my husband and our boxer dog in Theydon Bois, Essex. I qualified as a midwife, having trained at Kings College University and previously worked at St Thomas’ Hospital, London.
However for the last six years I have offered my services as a Doula, supporting over 100 families to date – in a vast range of scenarios including home births, water births, birth centre births, elective and emergency caesarean sections, vaginal births after caesarean sections (VBACs) , breech births and births of multiples. In this role – whilst I no longer provide any clinical care – I am delighted to be able to utilise my extensive experience and my absolute passion. I feel honoured to be able to offer individualised practical and emotional support through pregnancy, birth and those irreplaceable first days and weeks as families learn to care for and bond with their precious new arrival(s).
My philosophy is simple – I hope that with the benefit of my support, clients will be able to reflect upon their birthing journey and feel they had the very best experience possible (in whatever circumstances may have presented themselves).
Having had the privilege to be at many births, I am well aware that every labour is as unique and individual as the babies which are its gift. For many parents it will be approached with optimism and excitement, whilst others may feel anxiety, apprehension or even fear. By getting to know you and your family during the course of your pregnancy, I will try to learn what sort of birth you hope for and what may help or hinder the process. I will be able to provide you with suggestions and information during our tailor-made antenatal sessions to help prepare you for your optimum birth.
Once labour starts I will aim to be with you as soon as you feel you might benefit from my presence. For many this will be whilst they are in the earlier stages of labour where the familiar home environment is more conducive to progress. In this scenario, and if you are choosing to birth in the hospital, we can then all travel into the hospital together when you feel the time is right .
During labour, whilst working in harmonious partnership with the midwifery/medical team, I aim to be your advocate – trying to help facilitate a peaceful birthing environment, helping the team be aware of your wishes/preferences and offering continuous emotional and practical support to you and your partner (if present). This could cover anything from verbal encouragement, relaxation techniques and back massages to facilitating brief breaks for exhausted dads to recharge! Such continuity of support can be especially valuable during longer births when there may be several changes in members of staff responsible for your care.
Although not widely acknowledged, pregnancy and then labour can certainly be a daunting, emotional and draining time for partners too. Although it is now common for fathers to be encouraged to attend their baby’s birth, sadly the present system of maternity provision can often fail to support dads or meet their own individual needs. In my experience this can be vital in helping facilitate a smooth and confident transition to fatherhood. As a doula, I endeavour to support both parents (or any other birth partner you may choose to have with you). By offering and meeting their need for emotional and physical support, they will be better able to be the best support for the labouring mum. Together we will try to achieve the optimum birthing experience in any scenario – be it a drug-free water birth at home or one which requires medical intervention.
Following the birth, I will remain with you until you are comfortable with your baby and help to facilitate the first breastfeed (if that is your preference), but will leave when you feel ready for some privacy.
Women reflect most positively upon their experiences when they have felt safe, love, respected and heard – when they have understood what is happening, why it is happening, and been given control over any decisions which have to be made. I believe that my role as a Doula is to help facilitate and nurture these feelings, empowering women to feel good about themselves and their birthing journey (whatever twists and turns it may happen to have taken) and leaving them emotionally strong and more able to cope with the mothering journey ahead of them.
Postnatal adjustment into motherhood is a major life transition. Your needs as a new mother may seem quite simple to define – enough rest to enable you to heal; gentle advice, help and reassurance whilst you gain confidence in your ‘mothering’; some help with the practical household jobs & responsibilities and some gentle ‘mothering’ for yourself. Experience shows that the more these needs are met, the quicker the transition to a happy and confident mother, a contented baby, and a harmonious household! My basic role is to provide non-intrusive, non-judgemental support according to your family’s needs and wishes. Following the birth, I can help you to settle in, relax and heal. I am able to provide help with any or all of the following services: emotional and moral support, teaching or giving help with baby basics, breast/bottle feeding support , help with older siblings (entertaining, school runs, homework, etc), shopping, cooking, light housework, fielding visitors (as/if appropriate).
If you felt that my experience and philosophy might fit with your approach to birth and motherhood, I would be absolutely delighted to have a relaxed, non-obligatory chat with you – to hear a little more about you and the support that you seek and to see whether you felt I might be the right doula to support you through this special time. Please feel free to contact me via email or over the phone whether you are looking for birth support, postnatal support or a combination of both. If perhaps you don’t feel I could be the right doula for you – then I would like to wish you well in finding the support that you need and hope that you will go onto have a wonderful experience of bringing your baby into the world and can blossom into motherhood.
More information can be found on my website: www.blissfulbeginnings.co.uk
Tel: 07985 793650