What is your name? Kelly Harper
What is your doula business name? Elemental Beginnings
Where are you located? Adelaide, South Australia
When did you finish your doula certification?
I completed training with New Beginnings in 2018 but have been working in my business since 2012.
Why did you decide to become a doula?
I have long been passionate about birth ever since I started looking into home birth when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2006. After providing postnatal doula support for a number of years while my children were still young, birth work was the next logical step for me. I enjoy being able to share the knowledge I have learnt over many years with couples and watching the transformation that occurs when they step into their own power
Tell us about the most impactful birth you have attended.
Every single birth has an impact on me but the past 12 months have really brought home how unpredictable birth can be. We get to bear witness to women during their most strong and yet most vulnerable moments. I really feel like I have done my job well when I see parents, who are faced with a choice, stop and take the time to ask questions, make sure they have the information they need and then consider what is best for them and their baby at that moment in time. They might not be able to control what their body or baby does but they can be in control of the decisions they make.
Those are the moments that have the most impact on me.
What advice would you give to aspiring doulas?
Birth is unpredictable. We can’t make promises to families about how their births will turn out. Other than to say we will be there for them and provide continuity of care. Provide evidence-based information and trust in mothers to make the decisions that are best for them, even if they aren’t ones we would make for ourselves. Have a good support network for yourself to debrief where necessary.
What is something you always say to birthing mothers?
“Hospital policy isn’t the law. You have the right to choose what is or isn’t done to your body.”
What is your favourite labour comfort measure?
Breathwork. Being in control of your breath can make a big impact on how relaxed your body is and can really stop things from feeling overwhelming.
What is your best advice to give to new expecting mothers?
Be prepared to put in the internal work. Your mind is your most powerful tool. Use it to educate yourself about birth, know your rights as a birthing person, learn how to make decisions (yes, there are decision making processes!) and practise mindfulness or being in the moment with your breath. A doula is a fabulous addition to your birth team to help guide you along the way but she can’t do the work for you =)
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