About Sophie

Someone recently told me that doulas are born, not made and I would agree that my doula journey probably started when I was really very young.  I was definitely inspired by time I spent in Great Ormond Street hospital alongside really caring medical professionals from the age of 2.  What could have been a very scary time was filled with fascination of medical procedure, the ability of the body to heal and how compassionate people could be.  Combine that with an ever-growing interest in human biology and the seeds were sown!  It took time to realise though as I also developed a love of theatre and film, so prior to having children worked in the creative industries writing and developing film scripts, casting, producing and directing plays and films.

After the birth of my son in 2002 I followed a new path, inspired by my own experiences, training as a baby massage teacher and therapeutic massage practitioner.  My focus, given that time in my life, was on the postnatal mother, supporting women to have a more positive experience, and on making babies more relaxed and comfortable.  Discovering the role of the doula in 2007 was an eye-opener and I pursued my training with Nurturing Birth, one of the largest doula-training organisations in the country, and joining Doula UK, the umbrella organisation of doulas.

It was a logical step for me to learn more about supporting breastfeeding and I am so grateful to the Breastfeeding Network for enabling me to train with them first as Peer Helper in 2010, and then to further my studies as a Breastfeeding Supporter (Counsellor) and volunteer on the National Breastfeeding Helpline.  Educating, empowering and supporting new mothers in their feeding choices is an absolute passion.

My time now is divided between supporting my individual clients through their pregnancies, births and early parenting journeys and running Nurturing Birth, the doula organisation I trained with.  I started teaching doula-training courses in 2012, and was then given the opportunity to take over the company in 2014 with another very experienced doula colleague.  I teach courses throughout the year, and regularly abroad too.  Training doulas gives me such pleasure and keeps me firmly on my toes, up to date with research-based evidence, and reflecting on the way I want to support families!  Nurturing Birth is constantly growing and developing – we have an international mentoring programme for doulas, ensuring that they get the best support possible – we have an international Directory for parents to find all types of support for their pregnancies, births and postnatal journeys – and we are developing up new antenatal and postnatal programmes.  So much of my time is engaging with other fantastic birth professionals on the social media scene – blogging, vlogging, interviews, speaking at conferences and workshops – I love it!

Given that my work is such a passion I have no issue with it taking up a very large part of my life!   Separate to that though my other loves are my two fantastic kids who teach me so much about what it is to be a parent, my cats, yoga, singing in the best choir ever, still getting to the theatre and cinema when I can, dancing, eating and drinking with great mates, and walking out in nature as much as possible (hard to do in the centre of London!).  My love for dark chocolate knows no bounds and I relish the occasional glass of Rioja or a cheeky cocktail (not when I am on call)!  I’m embracing a late-developing interest in travel and have various dream trips up my sleeve!

One of the things that I think is really essential is keeping up to date with research and continuing to develop my practice.  Below is a list of some of the study days/conferences I have attended:

 

Mama Conference 2012, 2013, 2017.  Due to appear as a Keynote Speaker at 2018 conference in Glasgow.

Doula Conference 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017

Waterbirth with Dianne Garland

Homebirth with Marie Coveney

Hypnotherapy for Doulas with Maggie Howell

Active Listening for Doulas with Ashley MacDonald

Supporting Every Birth with Michelle Every

A Day at the Breech with Joy Horner and Shawn Walker

Birth Physiology with Michel Odent

Breastfeeding problems with Dr Jack Newman

Malpositioning with Selina Wallis

When Survivors Give Birth with Penny Simkin

Twins with MammyDoula, Mars Lord

Birth and Sex with Sheila Kitzinger

Birthing 4 Blokes with Mark Harris

iLactation Conference 2016 – Scholarship

First Aid with First Aid for Life

and many more …