The Doula Project works with vulnerable new mothers, especially asylum seekers. 'Doula' refers to a helper who accompanies women around the birth of a child. The project arose out of a clear need discovered amongst pregnant women, most of whom were seeking asylum, and termed 'isolated' or vulnerable. A small team of committed volunteers grew in response, offering emotional and practical support to these special mums, which has continued and is increasing in demand every year.
At the project, we receive referrals from a wide range of sources, and at various stages of pregnancy. We aim to create a doula team around each mum, offering assistance in getting ready for the new baby, and providing someone (at no cost) to be with them at hospital during labour and the birth, if requested.
We also offer some help at home and regular support, through visiting and phone calls, during the two weeks or so following the baby’s birth: this could be shopping, cooking or helping with infant care. We are staffed almost entirely by volunteers, so we can’t guarantee to always be available, but the dedication of our teams means we do try to meet each family’s needs if we can, often far beyond the first few weeks. In time, the teams encourage mums to connect into their wider community, through signposting and accompanying them to drop-ins, baby groups, etc.Having a doula present at birth has been shown in research to give mums and babies a much better experience in labour, and increases success in breastfeeding. In the words of one of our mums, "Having you with me through this time has made all the difference in the world." This is the Bethel Doula Project – making a difference, one person at a time.
The work is funded by Comic Relief for three years and also by other trusts, including William Cadbury Trust.
For more information, please call Debbie Ducille on 07713 113215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This mother and baby needed our support in hospital
One of our happy babies
It's been a busy day!