We rely on our volunteer doulas to help meet the demand to support vulnerable and isolated pregnant women and new mums.
It’s a varied role with lots of support and training on offer, so you never feel out of your depth.
Our clients come from various backgrounds and face a wide range of issues from domestic violence, poor mental health and poverty. They may be refugees, victims of trafficking or have substance abuse issues. What unites them all is the need for support during their pregnancy and beyond.
Like any good doula practitioner, we aim to deliver that support with compassion, integrity and fairness, looking to form a partnership with our mums to be so that they feel empowered to make the choices they feel are best for them.
42-year-old Gail joined Bethel as a volunteer in February 2019. Our volunteers are asked to give up to five hours a week, giving them the flexibility to do as Gail does and fit her volunteering around bringing up her two children.
In the time Gail’s been with us, she’s supported scores of women and been a birth partner to eight.
If you volunteer with us, you’ll find the needs of women vary. You may meet someone who just needs to know you’re a friendly face they can talk to and may not need you at the birth itself. Other cases can be more intense.
As Gail notes, “There is no typical client. For example, one woman I supported had two teenage children, and her third pregnancy was unexpected. She felt that she wasn’t going to be able to cope financially and would have to give it up, but we worked it through together so she could keep the baby.”
The impact of the pandemic has been striking. “We’ve seen an increase in mental health issues. Partners not being allowed to attend the birth has caused a lot of stress. The system doesn’t make sense to them, and different hospitals have different priorities. Thankfully, it’s slowly getting back to normal.”
What motivated Gail to volunteer with Bethel? “I wanted to help vulnerable and isolated women by empowering them through building skills, knowledge and confidence. It’s about making a difference in someone’s life.”
If you’re interested in making a difference, register your interest to become a volunteer doula.