My name is Patricia (that's Pah-treat-zee-ah) and I grew up in Germany before travelling the world and finally settling in Ireland.
I have been working in the womb care and birthing field for ten years now and absolutely love supporting every stage of the journey, from helping with fertility struggles to curating my own post-partum remedies. In my work, I combine ancient indigenous traditions from my family lineage as well as the communities I was adopted into throughout my travels. And I also still love all the evidence based research that's available to us. My degree in Psychology and long training in consent education so often plays a role in affirming birth rights and helping my clients navigate communication with their medical teams. From bodywork to education, night support and feeding care... I love to nourish. And I can't help but imagine my ancestral line cheering me on as I remember and utilize the recipes and remedies they so deeply cultivated.
What inspired you to become a doula?
I have been exposed to births and deaths from quite a young age. Community care runs in my blood. Then a trajectory of trauma and loss brought me into the awareness of how broken our systems truly are. So I learned all I could about the somatic care of trauma, healing our sexuality, consent, death and finally circled back to birth. There is a deep roar of defiance in my heart when I see how our world treats mothers. I strongly believe that how we arrive at this planet shapes us. How can we expect to die well if we are subjected to such trauma and abuse at birth? How can we expect parents to be kind and generous and patient when they are told throughout birth that they can't trust themselves or their children? It fills my heart to know how many entries to this life have been changed for the better because babies and parents had access to the loving support they deserved!
What did you do for a living before becoming a doula and if so, how has this helped you when working as a doula?
I have worked in the birthing field one way or another since I can remember. Over the years, I have studied as many modalities as there are under the sun. Some of my trainings involve a BSc Psychology, EFT-Tapping Master Level, Reiki Master/Teacher Level, Consent and Intimacy Education, Bodywork (including Womb and Fertility Massage and ITEC Level 3, as well as pregnancy massage and postpartum care), Yoga, 3 Step Rewind and I also have diplomas and long-term study in TCM and TMM. The list goes on. A ceremonialist at heart, I tend to feel called into spaces of training every other month or so and I simply love blending the mind stuff with heart-centred care.
What has been the highlight of your doula career so far?
At a birth not too long ago, I carried my client's 2 year old while showing the 10 year old how to massage her mums back in gentle ways. I actually was at both of their births as well. There was the lovely smell of the cinnamon rolls we baked in the air and the fairy lights lent a gentle gleam as baby arrived en caul, still snoozing away, peacefully unaware he had been born in the midst of family. Such a special birth and a testament to the preparation and work this momma had been putting in.
What have you found the most difficult?
The violence and coercion in the medical setting. There's just such a lack of preparation and even knowledge of different methods and options to prepare for birth. Oftentimes, people in hospital diagnose a problem without knowing how to prevent it or how to find a solution. So often it's a mix of 'cut this' 'medicate that' before even considering simple solutions like using gravity, or changing positions. So many instances of wishes being ignored and human rights being violated. I have beautiful midwife friends who are working so hard to change this... but I never thought I would have to witness such abuse on a regular basis.
Can you share one lesson you have learnt through your work as a doula?
Presence. I always thought of myself as patient and compassionate. But being there with a mumma on day 3 of a labour, exhausted and smelly, having heard labour groans for days... the love that unfolds in the presence of all that is birth... Magic.
What is the one essential item you can't be without in your doula kit?
A feather duster (unused, obviously). Tickling nerve endings, creating giggles and delight. Equally adored by parents and siblings alike.
What would be your one piece of advice to a woman who is considering training as a doula?
Find a training that connects you to your roots, not a random practice taken from a culture you don't belong to. Lean into the science and evidence as well as into the heart and wisdom. This work can be gruelling at times, find yourself soul-friends who get it. Even if your training helps just one baby arrive in love, it will have been worth it. This is the revolution.
Kicki Hansard is a member of Doula UK, however any opinions expressed on this blog are personal views and not necessarily the view of Doula UK.