Introducing Hayley Oliveira, BirthBliss Doula Of The Month, August 2018.
My name is Hayley. I was born in West London and have lived here ever since! I'm a mum of one very mischievous two year old. Her name is Gianna (Gigi). I completed my training in June 2017 with BirthBliss and loved every minute of it. I'm now working as a Mentored Doula in and around West London and it's going brilliantly! I've finally found my "thing".
What inspired you to become a doula?
I've always been a doula at heart! It's in my blood to support others, especially women! To help them see their light and their strength! I've always been passionate about birth and initially I wanted to do midwifery but I became pregnant and couldn't commit to the demands of the degree. It inspires and intrigues me even more so after my own birth experience.
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 was a dancer/teacher which took me to South East Asia (Bangkok to be exact) where I lived for quite some time. I started up a dance company called 'Kinetic kids' and it really took off. I got to travel the entire continent with it. I worked in all sorts of orphanages, including ones in Burma, Cambodia, Laos and supported girls as young as 12 who were pregnant. It is in my deep passion to work with vulnerable women and doing this with women during and after childbirth is a bonus!
What has been the highlight of your doula career so far?
Definitely my first job offer. I met a rather overwhelmed first time mother in Tesco, juggling a crying baby. I offered to give her a hand and she accepted. The whole encounter took less than 5 minutes and I left the supermarket with a job and felt terrific. I'd connected with another woman, a complete stranger, and I had cuddled a fat cheeked baby girl. It was an excellent outcome. Knowing that another woman saw something in me that she thought would benefit her and her new family. It was priceless!
What have you found the most difficult?
I forget to care for myself sometimes. I need to remind myself that it's perfectly fine to say no when it feels right to.
Can you share one lesson you have learnt through your work as a doula?
Find your doula tribe! I have to take off my "Super-Woman" cape - every now and then. I realised I'll be happier and my spouse and child will be happier if I am realistic about my limitations and I honour them by giving myself permission to rest and let others "do" for me and my family. You have to be gracious and allow others to help you without guilt or feeling like something's wrong with you because you can't "do it all". I'm very lucky to have my mum on standby always!
What is the one essential item you can't be without in your doula kit?
Lip balm! If I don't have this I'd spend the entire time daydreaming and obsessing about needing it!! For some reason the hospital drys my lips to a new level! They get so chapped you can HEAR ME SMILE!
And finally, what would be your one piece of advice to a woman who is considering training as a doula?
If someone is considering this path, it's for a reason! The world, a mother, a friend, a sister needs you. Find a training course that is the right fit for you and get yourself registered! Don't let fear or doubt hold you back. Find your doula tribe! A crew of devotees that are your biggest cheerleaders; and honest, loyal, people who will keep you in check. Network and meet with other doulas as much as you can. There are 1000's of mum's giving birth every day We don't need to compete with each other! Most importantly HAVE FUN!
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.