- Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am Portuguese, 36 years old, love so much exercise that 10years ago decide to get my fitness certification, I graduate as speech therapist, come to UAE in 2014 as personal trainer, get married and have 2 kids (almost 4 and 2 years old). I have passion for teach and learn. I like to travel, with kids now different kind of travels, something more comfortable, close by and easy… when in my early 20’s travel almost all Europe with backpack! I love beach and nature…
- What led you to becoming a doula?
The desire of helping people… it is a fun story. I was in one group of mothers and babies, one mother was having problems during her breastfeeding journey, I offer to help, give her my stash of milk and some tips! I did tell her that I would like to help more women, so I search, and decide that I want to become doula. This mother that I help, send me information about a DOULA course that will happen after a few days, and I went to do it and I became a doula!
- What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
In a very fast answer: midwife is a birth professional that is medical trained and will be responsible for mother and baby, and all the medical decisions. A doula is not medical trained but know all the medical terminology, and support the mother and family emotionally, without any medical intervention.
- How does a doula help in the experience of birth?
According to a 2017 Cochrane Database Systematic Review, “Continuous support in labor may improve a number of outcomes for both mother and baby, and no adverse outcomes have been identified. (…)” Less likely to need Pitocin, less likely to have a cesarean birth, less likely to use any pain medication and more likely to rate their childbirth experience positively.
And in the UAE, as there is no family members in case of a lot of expats mothers, we are the familiar face that accompanied that pregnant, sometimes the only face that she will recognize when she is going to the hospital to give birth.
- What is your philosophy about birth?
Well, do I have one? I would say that maybe principles… be educated, search for information – do your own research, know what you really want, have your priorities well established and trained what you learn… Be loyal to yourself and your own needs and principles!
- How would you describe your doula style?
I think with time and experience we grow as people and professionals… I don’t know if I have a style, as doula in general we don’t take decisions on behalf of our clients… so I am there just to support their decisions, and give information that help then to decide.
- Have you every given birth, if yes, did your birth experience you to be a doula? What did you learn from your birth experience?
Yes, I am mother of 2 kids. For my second birth, I had a doula supporting me, I always say a doula also needs a doula…I did my hypnobirthing training, try most of all my recommendations to my pregnant clients! When we are giving birth, no matter what our background is, we are A Mother, a mother that need to have her own space to let her body do what it is designed to do naturally. I had two very different birth experiences, the second one was beautiful and inspire (and exactly as I imagine, or better even…). Just what I “preach”, that birth preparation/education makes always difference…
- How do you empower women and support women?
I love my work! First, I like them to do their own research, to look for information and what they want, and this process is part of their self-growing and discovery. I am always available for answer any question/doubt – as well as giving nonstop emotional support. After this process I teach them what they need – give them education – I show them that they have inside what they really need to give birth! Give them tools and techniques to facilitate the process. And if they wish, I help the partner/father to be part of all the process and have a role as well. When I also attend the births, I give emotional and physical support for mother and doula the father as well.
- How has your profession helped individuals during the pandemic?
To be honest during the 1st year of the pandemic I was on my maternity leave, my daughter was born the day before COVID19 was announced as pandemic. After that, I did my regular support, went little online as well, but as my work is very personal and I also attend births we still met in person. During this time, having someone they know, and trust really made a big difference… as all was so uncertain, rules keep changing, restrictions…
- As you went through your journey, how did it change your personal and professional life?
I would say that my personal life influences my professional and vice versa, as I am working with women, learning with each contact I have, working with pregnant and their babies as well.
- Do you find your life purpose in what you do? How so?
Sure, I do! Every day I read, with the willing to learn new things, different point of views… sometimes I find courses that I feel will complement my work or add new value. I feel really satisfied supporting and empower women, in life in general and through their pregnancy and birth experiences.
- When you look back at your health journey, what stands out to you?
My exercise routine, that is mainly the time that is for myself – well, expect when I am on call, I always have mobile next to me – it is a daily routine, that helps me stay healthy – my body and my mind! A positive attitude towards life is also essential to accept and deal with the uncertain…
- How do you keep people motivated and engaged?
Be clear when I prepare a plan for anyone approach me, ask questions to know them and be able to assess their needs, as my goal is to full fill their needs, reach to their expectations. Always explain that their success is part of training/practice (what they learn, like doing workout – need practice and time) and only depend on their selves, I am there just to facilitate and support, physically and emotional.
- What is your favorite quote?
Maybe a few, cannot remember one specifically now… but I always like to say that birth is always unpredictable… as well as life.
- Share with us your 5 top life tips
- Know what you want if you don’t research to know it.
- Educate yourself on it, again research and get someone to help you, if required.
- Surrounded yourself with people that have same ideas as you and will support your choices.
- Make your own choices, know that you have duties and rights as well.
- Don’t isolate yourself, there is is someone willing to help – to listen, someone that has been in your situation or has tools to help you through it. Always ask, there is no silly questions or doubts.