Whatever you want
Whatever you like
Whatever you say
Whatever you need
As a Doula, I help you prepare for one of, if not the most, important events in your life.
Every time I attend a mum in labour, I bring the total of all my previous experiences and lessons learned at previous births with me.
From the day we agree to work together, I help to care for you in the remainder of your pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Being a doula is not just a job...it’s a vocation…I love being a Doula. I am passionate about it and I also have a great deal of knowledge and experience.
As a Doula I offer non-clinical, emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple) before, during and after childbirth. My aim is to assist women, and their partners, to have the most satisfying and empowering time they can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a new parent. What I like to witness is the family relaxed and enjoying the experience and journey.
As a Doula I seek to respect and honour client’s choices. It is your baby, your body and your choices. As a Doula I can, and do, signpost parents to quality information to assist parents in making fully informed decisions that they feel comfortable with. Being able to align myself with my client’s philosophy in birthing matters, rather than with my own, is very comforting to parents.
So, it is important to meet potential Doulas and to find the one which best “fits” with you and what you are needing.
I aim to help parents be prepared and have tools to support themselves during labour, birth and early parenthood using Hypnobirthing techniques, relaxation scripts, breathing, comfort, practical help and foster a positive mindset in parents.
The benefits of having a Doula
Many studies have shown that having a Doula reduces incidences of Cesarean birth, use of anesthesia, shortens labour and provides mums with positive reflection and good memories of their experience.
If you are wondering if I am worth my fee. Weigh up the long lasting benefits of a new Travel System compared to 'Having a Doula', who helps to steer you on a wonderful path for you, your baby and your family for the foreseeable future.
Sometimes it helps partners to know there is someone else present with them while they support the mum. Someone with some experience and knowledge of birth, so that they can focus on supporting rather than worrying about ‘doing the right thing’, or when to call the midwife in, or go to the birth place. I feel that a Doula takes some of the strain off the supporting partner; and that always helps a mum in labour to feel calm. Clients do not feel like they are alone when a Doula is there; reassuring them that all is usual and well, or suggesting it is time to seek clinical help. Removing, or giving balance to, the stereo-typed negative drama of childbirth, makes such a positive difference to parents.
I am mentally strong and supportive and able to stand up for others when required to do so. Sometimes support is simply attending midwife and consultant appointments with the mum and her partner. Having a third party there seems to make a difference for the parents. Sometimes it is visiting you, or chatting with you on the phone, when you require my presence in your journey.
What on earth do I do when I am with a mum for one of those long drawn-out labours?
Walk in the snow with her, or the beach in summer, bake a cake, read stories to the toddler, massage mum, supply cooling refreshing drinks and tasty snacks, laugh, snooze, make the dinner for the family, whatever it takes, whatever you want, whatever you need.
How far do you travel?
I work a radius of 100 miles from my home (maximum distance I will travel each way) considering that I will usually make 5 or 6 visits to your home / hospital and also spend two days with you teaching antenatal and hypnosis techniques, be with you for as much of your labour (including very early labour) as possible, the birth and postnatal time and…also provide you with the best I can…I am worth your investment.
Well, I live most of my year ‘On Call’, sleeping with the phone beside the bed waiting on YOU to call and say I think I am in labour.
Being a Doula takes commitment
This is actually quite a balancing act.
Luckily for me I have no children to arrange care for. And my husband manages to look after the cats, the dog and eight fish tanks when I am not around! However, it does mean I restrict my daily activities to being five minutes away from my car at all times. I explain to friends and family that I may need to leave the cinema, restaurant, or their home in a flash! Sometimes asking them to visit me - because they really do live 40 miles in the opposite direction to your home. I always have a back-up plan for family birthdays and theatre outings, so that husband has a substitute partner if I am called out.
I always have a packed bag in the car and a pile of clean clothes beside the shower. Often I munch and slurp oatcakes and half a cup of tea, as I run out the door with my devoted husband saying "I loves you, see you next month!"
It's fair to say my liver loves me being a Doula, as I am DRY when on call!
I am grateful that I am surrounded by a husband, family and friends that understand just how seriously I take my responsibilities for every mum I attend. I guess they all do their own part of supporting you, as well.
Since I chose this way of life in 2009, I have never failed to go to a woman in labour when called, I have never counted the hours I work. Although some labours have taken a couple of days and others a mere hour from the call! On Call can be 3 or 4 days to 28 or more before the call comes.
Don’t take MY word for it, read what mums and dads say in their testimonials or watch the wee film of mums chatting to the film producer about what it means to them on my Birth and Postnatal Doula page.
Mums, dads and babies this year are booked in for Fife, Tayside and Angus so my wee car will be seen chugging along many beautiful roads in 2019.
And retirement? Personally, I can’t see that far ahead! I am in my 60’s and loving every single day of life and especially the opportunity I have to be a positive part in the lives of so many families, why would I EVER want to retire?!
I hope this has helped you in making your decision.
5/12/2018 0 Comments
Below is a testimonial from one of my recent clients Rosemary, from her Facebook feed:
"I would like to recommend Renee Elliott as a birth doula and hypnobirthing teacher and also mention the incredible contribution that a good doula has for any childbirth - as a doula is often an unknown or misunderstood part of the birth process.
My husband and I both come from a scientific/mathematical background, so our initial bias towards maternity care was that the 'doctors know best' as I expected that they would use an evidence-based approach at the center of their decision making. However the more that I have learned about maternity care, the more I discovered that much of it is based on little or no evidence.
I had never heard of a doula or the concept of a 'positive birth' until I happened to meet a doula before I gave birth to my first child. I realised that I had a lot of misconceptions about birth and I started obsessively reading articles and watching positive birth videos. I saw the pure joy and elation on the countless mum's faces when their baby was placed on their chest and I knew that I wanted to experience that too!
Although, I chose not to use a doula at that time because I thought I could use the learning I made to make informed decisions for myself. I greatly underestimated how difficult it is to go against hospital protocols especially when you are 9 months pregnant and a doctor tells you that your child is at risk!
Long story short, the birth of my daughter was a very fearful event. It started with an induction that I didn't really want and ended up with a c-section that quite probably could have been avoided. After the birth, both my husband and I were traumatised and my daughter had a very rocky start to breastfeeding, which put a lot of unnecessary stress on us during the early weeks/months of our daughter's life.
I decided then that the next time, I would have a doula and after becoming pregnant with baby #2, I met Renee. We got on straight away and I was impressed that she was a fully licensed hypnotherapist, as I had already decided that hypnobirthing would be a great option for both me and my husband. I also knew from my experience that I would not labour well in the labour ward and as a VBAC mum, any alternative to the labour ward would require a battle against the hospital's protocols. I could tell that Renee was just the sort person needed in my corner to get the kind of birth I wanted.
I am so glad that I chose Renee. She helped me negotiate a bespoke birth plan with my consultant (which hadn't been done before in Edinburgh) and helped me prepare for the birth with a 1-2-1 hypnobirthing course and being on-hand to provide support when needed.
The birth of my son was a completely different experience. I labored at home for 24 hours and then transferred to the hospital for the final few hours/delivery. Most people seem sympathetic towards me when they hear that I labored for so long, but honestly I really enjoyed the time at home. It was like a little party in my house where I was the guest of honour! During that time I was massaged, fed sandwiches, listened to music, sat in a warm pool... etc. And the hypnobirthing really did help. It made me relax and bond with my husband and baby during the birth. Even though the gas and air canister was their the whole time, I rarely felt the need to use it.
When I finally did transfer to the labour ward, I was advanced enough in my labor that the transfer didn't have a negative impact. My experience in the labour ward was very different to my previous experience. The midwives and doctors really went out of their way to give me as gentle a birth as possible.
A few hours later, I was able to complete my VBAC journey with only needing an episiotomy to make space for my large baby. I did choose to have an epidural so that I could rest before pushing (as at that point I had been awake for nearly 40 hours!!). Although, the epidural was not topped up, so I could still feel the urge to push myself.
The feeling of my son sliding out of my body and being placed on my chest was the single most incredible experience of my life! The start of my son's life has been so much more enjoyable and has helped give a sense of closure from my daughter's traumatic birth. Also, since my son wasn't groggy from morphine, starting breastfeeding has been so much easier and the initial checks confirm that my son is feeding well.
I honestly don't think I could have done it without the help and support of Renee. I wouldn't have thought to negotiate the birth plan that I had and I know that laboring at the hospital would not have been as productive for me. Also, the hypnobirthing course and practice was a big help and made the day so much more enjoyable.
I feel really thankful to have had a positive birth experience. A week on and I still think on the events of the day and smile to myself. I cannot thank Renee enough and would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for a positive birth experience."
#doula #hypnobirthing #mindandbodyscotland #vbac #reneemcbride #birth
So last week I was reading a report about Abortion Doula work and the more I read, the more I felt a rising emotional wave within myself and an internal dialogue, the result if which led me to change my own bio on Facebook and to make additional information available on my website.
As a student of antenatal education the training by the NCT was such that personal bias was put aside in the teaching of mum’s and dad’s to enable personal choice in alignment with each persons own beliefs, values and social circles and so I learned not to lead others into ways of being that matched my values and beliefs, rather I learned to provide quality, unbiased, current information and empowered parents to make their own decisions.
When I trained as an Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist we discussed unconditional positive regard for our hypnotherapy clients and the importance of rapport in any therapeutic relationship.
As a Doula I seek to respect and honour client’s choices, it is Your Baby, Your Body and Your Choices, not mine, sure I search for and signpost parents to quality information and I walk beside them all through the pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal period (beside not in front or behind).
In my work I have, and do, support people from all backgrounds in dealing with all manner of stressful situations, behaviours and emotional journeys, working with drug and alcohol addictions, phobias, relationship issues and many more aspects of simply being human.
I have supported women who have multiple miscarriages, some who work to achieve fertility, those who struggle to find a place of acceptance of a childless life, support parents through childbirth with various outcomes including undiagnosed illnesses of the new born and sometimes birthing their stillborn baby. I have also supported mums to continue their pregnancy following rape and assault.
Through all of this, I strive to remain respectful at all times.
So last week, I found myself emerging from the article like a kind of metamorphosis becoming ready, in fact, I am ready to support women and parents when faced with choices around continuing with a pregnancy. It could be through identification of foetal anomaly during a second trimester ultrasound scan and/or blood tests, or uncertainty within a relationship, lack of support, financial constraints, contraception failure and other reasons.
Whatever the circumstances I stand firmly for a woman’s right to choose what happens with her own body, and her right to have the best support possible. For some women there is no one to turn to, no one to trust, no one to walk beside her. No one to perhaps provide her with information on choices, procedures, available clinical care. Maybe she doesn’t have a listening ear, a companion to go with her to clinic appointments, someone to be there on the day, to hold her in a sacred, safe space and to be available in the days, weeks and months that follow, if needed. For some, like the women of Northern Ireland, there are as yet no clinical provisions and therefore a journey to Scotland including a couple of nights in our home is available providing there are no adverse reactions to our two cats, a dog and numerous fish tanks.
If you or someone you know is looking for unconditional support then I, amongst others are available.
I am a Full Spectrum Doula and I am at your service.
I wondered how to share this message with all of you who will read it. I decided simply to tell it as it is and to give you an inside picture of my mind. That’s right… an inside picture of your Hypnotherapist's and Doula's mind…
On Saturday past, I felt strong urge to go straight home after “The Gathering” in Edinburgh. It's a gathering of Hypnotherapists from all over the UK and one who flew in from Spain to present a technique. It was a fantastic day and having been invited to join some colleagues from the south of England for a drink I thought 'Why Not?' ...immediately I said yes, then I became uncomfortable with my decision. I could not work out why ? Great day, great people, lots of laughter and learning. Why did I get that gut feeling that I had to go straight home to be with my husband?
I didn’t even stay to find the lovely woman and explain, I simply left A.S.A.P. I had to get home pronto…
On arriving home around 7pm, I found a poorly man, with a full-on headache, hot, flushed face. By 9pm he was staggering on his way up the stairs to bed. Through the night he refused to allow me to call the NHS (in hindsight I should have done so). By 10pm he thought we were on holiday and was confused, and I will spare you and him the rest of the gory details of that night. Suffice to say that it took a visit the next lunch time from a friend before he agreed to medical care.
His Blood Pressure was 80/54 and his pee was bright orange.
So, it has been a roller coaster ride since Saturday . Though I'm happy to say he is on the mend, big leaps forwards every day.
Antibiotics are my biggest friend right now, the truly save lives for some folks, do they not?
A brush with the fine line between life and death has taught me much.
How did I Cope?
It is indeed a wise thing to have coping mechanisms, when all else fails.
That old adage: 'Take a Day at a Time'. I didn’t allow myself to get too far ahead, after all I can only guess at the future, can I not? None of us really see the future, we imagine it though and if our imagination runs riot we get carried away… beginning with our fertile imaginations making up all sorts of outcomes, good or bad. So I knew to live it an hour, a day at a time. Have you ever thought on this…? When something happens which we don’t like, scares us, etc. and you say HOW MANY MORE TIMES must I / we go through this…the best response may be JUST ONE MORE TIME, you can do ONE MORE TIME, can you not? Just one more hour, day, week? Just one more time.
I trusted the doctors. The doctor in St Johns Hospital in Livingston, the doctor in Broxburn and I trusted the process that was happening inside his body when he was given antibiotics.
I was inquisitive, I questioned everything that I thought of, that was said, I wanted to learn, to know, what to do.
I knew it would pass, perhaps slowly, perhaps painfully, but it would pass, just like when I used to have a phobia of driving, flying and dying, yup I had all three at various stages in my life, can you imagine that?
I reached out to both friends and family. My own family and my husband’s family, I found supporting them and them supporting me was the best ever feeling. Talking to others helps at times.
It’s a good time to let bygones BE bygones too. Forgiving others frees up space within me, resenting festers inside and takes up too much time. Its Autumn, is it not? The time when leaves fall, the time when we prune our shrubs? So, sometimes it means we need to do an internal pruning too, and sometimes we need to prune our contacts, so I did some personal pruning and felt easier, stronger, more able to cope.
I counted my blessings, I named them one by one. 1005 days since we first met, 1005 days of laughter and companionship.
When my inner Chimp became restless and started screaming, I started breathing, breathing in slowly and out even slower, it calmed my troubled mind, actually I used the breathing exercises that I teach my Doula Mums and that I teach in Hypnobirthing / Antenatal classes. It soothed my anxiety, calmed my soul. Worrying about the situation would not change it, dealing with it, doing what I could do and staying positive would help, and it did.
So, where am I at now?
In a place of being, calm, confident and in control… I have become contented that all is being done that can be done.
I know that Life is uncertain, there are no guarantees…
I know that Life is too short to hold grudges.
I know we can all choose how to be with others and in certain situations.
I can be as prepared as I can for life’s uncertainties so that I can get on with the business of appreciating and enjoying every day as it comes.
I leave you with the insight that I wasn’t always so able to cope with adversity, I learned to cope. If any of you reading this wish to deal with any fears or phobias or general anxiety that is making your life more stressed than it needs to be; if you wish to become calm, confident and in control; if you wish to be supported in change, changing perspective, changing behaviours, then contact me and let's have a chat.
And finally…Today and all your tomorrows
Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can’t change, forgive quickly, take chances, give everything, and HAVE NO REGRETS, LIFE IS TOO SHORT to be anything but HAPPY !
PS. Trust your gut instinct. I was needed at home...
This month just gets better and better. As I say to ALL my hypnosis clients…repeat after me: “Every Day in EVERY WAY, I AM getting better and better”. So, EVERY DAY for the next 10 Days say this x 10 daily and see for yourself...say it like you mean it, emphasis on the I AM. It makes little difference whether you want to change bad habits into good ones; stop self-sabotaging eating patterns; gain more confidence; or reduce anxiety this short mantra will help you in your efforts to get more out of life..
As we run up to the longest day in the year, I feel my energy levels rising. Can YOU?
After a busy week last week, I enjoyed a very green and relaxed drive down to the Borders on Sunday to visit the next mum-in-waiting. I saw cute villages on the way: Pathead, Dalkeith, St Boswells, Jedburgh, Melrose, Hawick and Galashiels all basking in the sun and roadsides blooming with Dog Rose and Hawthorn, fields full of buttercups and horses and sheep enjoying the early summer weather.
A treat of four beautiful Cocker Spaniels were a extra pleasure during my visit.
Today I spent most of the day trawling through N.I.C.E. Guidelines on Maternity Care during Labour and Birth, the Midwifery and Nursing Council Code and www.homebirth.org.uk all in preparation for a midwife appointment with a client later this week.
Tomorrow brings a farewell - a funeral for a friend - and it reminds me tearfully of a song from Les Miserables (Empty Chairs at Empty Tables) and the work I have done with clients on grief and loss. I have helped people cope with the loss of family and friends, relationships and sometimes I have worked with mums on fertility and coping with pregnancy loss.
This morning I had a wonderful reflexology session and came home feeling like a new me!
Later this week I have a couple of Doula appointments; a great friend is coming in for hypnotherapy to alleviate her fear of flying, just before her holiday and I am helping with driving and exam anxiety. Then I am off to Kilmarnock and Beith to run a hypnobirthing course at the weekend.
Perhaps when I get back from Hawick on Thursday I will drive to the Bathgate Hills and climb Cairnpapple to watch the sunset on Midsummers Day and give thanks for my many blessings... anyone care to join me? Renee
14/6/2018 0 Comments
Hello peeps, today I am in warm Glasgow sitting outside drinking frothy coffee and appreciating the opportunity of being ‘On Call’ for a west of Scotland family. Glasgow, like everywhere else, is beautiful in the sun and the people smile more while the sun shines; and because they are not all encased in winter coats and hidden under umbrellas, I people watched. In about 30 minutes, I am sure I saw many from the Far East, the Middle East, Europe, America and South America. Aren’t humans colourful! Every single one beautiful by their own measure, every one of them different from all others, yet still all the same species, different religions, values, shapes and sizes, all ages, ALL together in Glasgow city centre. There was music playing. John Lennon. IMAGINE. I was moved by the beauty, the gathering, the vision of John Lennon.
I found myself wondering how different the scene before me would have been 60 years ago when mum and dad took me into Glasgow shopping. I wondered about how much we gave become hybrid humans, eclectic mixes of genes as I watched couples holding hands and pushing prams, or travel systems as they are now known as!
I marvel at it all, then as a Clinical Hypnotherapist I begin wondering how happy, or contented each one may be, or not.. I like John Lennon want the world to be a more contented place, a happy space for the human race. I count my blessings, 62 years young and well enough to work, to travel around Scotland working and people watching, meeting you, all you amazingly wonderful people.
This week has been such a crazy mix of working fun! Here is what's been going on...
Sunday: meeting a Doula family, a bit of extra bonding and birth plan chat in Glasgow and birthday shopping for an anxious ex agoraphobia hypnotherapy client who has become a family friend and superb dog sitter1 ...Followed by a bit of comedy at the S.S.E.C....home at 11.30pm
Monday: a Doula client has teeny premature baby at 1am in Simpson’s Maternity Hospital, Edinburgh... later that day I have a Reiki and hypnosis session with a client who lives with cancer - pain relief and confidence boosting is on the menu. Followed by a visit to mum and premature baby...then a drive to Ayrshire to Crosshouse Maternity Unit near Irvine, well actually it’s almost in Kilmarnock as a mum settles into her in patient room ready for the labour and birth of her baby...home at 11.15pm
What day is it? Ah Tuesday! It starts off gently with a visit to new teeny baby and mum at Edinburgh Simpson’s and preparing tea at 5pm, then JOY! A call comes in and I am off to Kilmarnock, last night a strong, empowered mum gave birth to a beautiful baby, his dad by her side. Words cannot convey how blessed I am to witness this...home at 1.00am this morning.
Wednesday: catch up time, house like midden, slow cooker on, Doula bags unpacked for now!
Reiki client at high noon; birthday girl arriving soon; catch up on supervision calls with new Doulas tonight; hypnotherapy for insomnia at 6.30pm (if I am still awake); pregnancy massage booked for Thursday night; hypnobirthing books to post to Skye, Falkirk and Irvine; a birthday party for a fantastic three year old diva on Saturday, followed by hypnosis for work performance and on Sunday, an other trip to teeny baby’s mum and a drive to Melrose in the Borders to catch up with the next mum-in waiting.
Speak soon. Renee
This morning I wakened early to the sound of birdsong in Beith, Ayrshire. I am so grateful for my health and strength that enables me to tour Scotland while working and visiting family.
This year I am blessed as both a Doula and a Hypnobirthing Teacher in that I have work in Kilmarnock, Irvine, Arran, Falkirk, Livingston, Fife (Kinross), Melrose in the Borders, Glasgow, Portree on the Isle of Skye, and I can’t wait to hear from more parents wherever they are! No doubt the joy is greater due to the beautiful sunshine this spring and early summer however there is always sunshine in my heart when I start out on a journey.
My joy is in being of service to you in your journey through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. Supporting you to be your best, helping you to learn skills like relaxation, breathing, massage and how to make fully informed decisions that are self-supporting in you being and remaining calm, comfortable, confident and in control of your own transition journey into parenthood is my goal. So, forgive me if I bleat on about how rewarding it is, how much it means to me to be a part of your life, I really can’t help myself.
Yours gratefully....from an addicted to birth doula. BTW Hypnotherapy Rocks too! Renee x
Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy | BWRT | Hypnobirthing | Birth Doula | Postnatal Doula | The Use of Hypnosis in Childbirth