What does a birth mentor do?
As birth mentor I share my experience and unbiased, non-judgmental knowledge and resources on the maternal and birth journey. I provide parents with guidance, motivation, emotional and sometimes physical support before, during and after birth. I am not a doctor or a midwife, but a birth professional with a focus on the relationship between clinical, physical and emotive care and wellbeing in birth. My service is complimentary to the healthcare providers I help and serve with and holistic in nature.
Why is birth mentoring important?
Birth is probably one of the single most life-changing events on an emotional and physical level. Its ‘ripples’ consist of a powerful reaction between the physical and the emotional, which can be seen long after the bodily act of giving birth.
Birth mentoring can assist parents in making more empowered prenatal, birth and postnatal choices to set the stage for a safe, well integrated, guilt-free, emotionally uplifting and empowered experience on both a physical and emotional level.
A birth mentor or doula also provides reassurance, comfort, encouragement, as well as respect and focus on non-clinical care and support needed during labour or in some instances c-sections.
The benefits of having a mentor or doula at your birth include:
Support of YOUR birth preferences
Support for dad or birth partner
Help when dealing with the unexpected
Can decrease the length of your labour
Physical support during labour or a c-section
May help minimize interventions or medication
A birth resource guide
Assistance of doctors and medical staff in giving additional emotional support
Creating an optimised birth environment
Do you give clinical / medical advice?
I am not a doctor, but a birth professional with a focus on emotive care and wellbeing in birth and how to effectively integrate that with the crucial medical, physiological and clinical care provided by my healthcare colleagues. I do not give clinical or medical advice, but I often help parents or give them tools to break down and digest and interpret complex medical information given to them so that they can make confident choices instead of feeling paralysed with fear of the ‘unknown’. If at a birth I may also provide the birthing mother with physical support where appropriate.
What qualifies you to be a birth mentor / doula?
With a degree in communication and extensive experience in birth as professional birth photographer, I am uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between medicine and the humanities (the physical and the emotional). I have also completed a course in Medicine and the Arts from UCT, am the co-author of the SABPA Oath of Ethics and have gone through birth 3 times myself. I am also the author of “A the Heart of Birth” an online ante-natal course with a difference, as well as many other birth & maternal columns (e.g. Your Pregnancy, Carmien Rooibos etc.) I’m currently furthering my training through WOMBS as well.
Doula or birth photographer?
If employed as your birth photographer, I would recommend that you employ a doula for physical and emotional support during birth as well. The role of a doula is too important for divided attention. My presence as birth photographer is very much like that of a doula, but my main focus would be to capture your beautiful journey as your professional birth photographer. However if I am employed as your birth mentor and doula during birth I will focus on providing your with physical and emotional support and take photo’s only of key moments and when in a position to do so as an added benefit – I’m a doula with a camera then! Some medical aids cover my fees as a doula up to a certain point. Because of reduced post-production time, my fee as a doula may also be a slightly more affordable option. That being said my doula fees are still on the high end because of the various value adds and my premium service approach.
Do you do one-on-one private mentoring before or after birth?
I love one-on-one mentoring, but I have limited time available for it. Therefore, I am very selective and charge a premium for private mentoring sessions before or after birth. But if you think you could benefit from one-on-one interaction with me you can email me. But don’t dispair if budgets are tight. There are many other ways that you can benefit from my knowledge and experience that are cost-effective and sometimes even free. See below for more detail.
When and where does private mentoring sessions typically take place?
The earlier on in your pregnancy, the better as we focus on the entire maternal journey. I am also available for consultation after birth in the post-natal period when some mothers struggle with coming to terms with major changes and a ‘new kind of normal’ to get used to.Sessions take place in the comfort of your own home or at THE NEST (my studio).
What do you focus on in your sessions?
- Compassion in birth
- Empowering yourself with information
- Bridging the gap – interpreting medical jargon
- Selecting your birth team
- Your birth environment
- Pain management
- Labour & delivery
- Nurturing Mom
- Coming to Terms
- Newborn Soothing
- Baby Wearing
- Postpartum Disorders
- Older Siblings
Sessions are for education purposes only and where relevant I refer people to different experts in different and relevant fields.
How else can I benefit from your knowledge and experience?
- Buy one of my products / courses / books. They can be found in my on-line store and represent my best thinking on and tools for preparing for, understanding and celebrating your maternal journey and birth.
- Book me as a speaker / for a workshop. I have been speaking publicly for more than 15 years with a focus on family dynamics first and later on the humanity aspects of the maternal journey and birth experience.
PS: If you are interested in booking me as your birth photographer to capture your birth story you can do so at www.lovealda.com