As part of our Birth Rights Awareness Campaign, “Have a Choice 2 Have a Doula” at the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, we are interviewing families that had a Birth Doula in Luxembourg (or globally) to help illustrate the benefits they bring to the birth experience. Our approach is to raise awareness at the level of the strongest voice collectively, the consumers, so they understand the benefits. Furthermore, the aim is that consumers understand their Human Rights in Childbirth which provide them the right to “choose the circumstances of birth” according to their individual wishes, regardless of what care providers/birth facilities may claim – e.g. “ you will only be ‘allowed’ 1 support person (the dad) in the birth room”. Read more here about our campaign, your rights, how to navigate around such misguided responses, hire a Doula, sponsor/support our campaign and more!
”We had a Birth Doula!” – Interview with Una Clifford, Luxembourg
Elfi: When and where did you give birth?
Una: Luxembourg city, 2012, Clinique Bohler
Elfi: The support from women to women during labour is age old, but the term Doulas in Luxembourg especially is not yet well known. How did you find out about the role of a doula?
Una: I started reading up a lot when I became pregnant a second time in 2012 to be able to manage the birth more independently. Ironically, the literature enlightened me on the role of the Doula and I realised that being alone was simply not necessary!
Elfi: Why were you interested in Doula support?
Una: My husband was sure during my first pregnancy that birth was not for him – he finds a regular blood test a trial due to a phobia of blood. We tried and it didn’t work so for my first birth I was alone and it was a very unsettling experience.
Elfi: How did you go about finding and hiring your Doula?
Una: I asked around and no-one really seemed to know. One friend advised me to contact the Liewensufank in case they had any idea. It was there that I met my Doula, Maryse Arendt, who informed me that since the organisation was having a birthday that year I would have to attend their birthing classes and then the Doula service would be provided free of charge.
Elfi: What kind of support did she offer prenatally?
Una: We met a couple of times and at first I was not sure that we clicked – she spoke good English which was important to me. My languages are good, but English is the language of my heart and in such an intimate moment it was essential to me that I could speak freely. I attended the birthing classes as required and we also talked through my birthing plan.
Elfi: During your labour and delivery, how did your Doula support you and your partner’s birth experience?
Una: I called her when I was a few hours away from delivering. she turned up promptly and took over from my husband, supporting me physically, rubbing my back, making me feel comfortable and encouraging me to keep moving. I was pretty sure that I did not want any pain relief and I did not want anyone pushing on my stomach. She stuck to this firmly, reminding the doctor and midwives of this when I was too tired to on their suggestion. I could not have been more grateful afterwards! Her presence was so reassuring and she felt like a rock for me in this tough but wondrous moment.
Elfi: What kind of support did she offer postpartum?
Una: I don’t remember Maryse disappearing from my birthing room – she must have called my husband after handing me my beautiful son and encouraging me to allow him to make his way slowly to the breast. Afterwards she visited us once to make sure we were doing well. I wrote to her and made a donation to the foundation later.
Elfi: Please share anything you feel other women should know about your birth experience with a Doula.
Una: A doula can be a mother, a partner and a professional all in one. I cannot recommend it more wholeheartedly!
Elfi: In 1 sentence, how did it make you feel during labour, having an independent, knowledgeable support person, looking out for your best interest by your side, continuously?
Una: The presence of a woman who has your back and supports you in this precious moment of birth is indescribable!
More about Una
Una is a mother of two energetic, independent and fun-filled children. She works as a strategy advisor at the European Investment Bank and runs a 500 strong women’s network in her ‘spare time’! Alongside her mission of supporting the rights of women and girls, Una indulges in her real passion – music – singing with the Choeur de Chambre de Luxembourg.
More about the Author
Elfi joined Luxmama Club as a volunteer in 2015. Along with her full time role in an international organization and raising her daughters, she is passionate about writing stories and helping other people share theirs. Stories that empower, inspire and create the ” you are not alone” feeling. You can see more of her work in her recent blog koufelef.wixsite.com/elfiswritinglab but also in http://www.themamagers.gr (articles in greek) and http://www.newdiaspora.com (articles in english)