Helper by day, dreamer-schemer by night, inquiring by nature, mother of four by hook or by crook, slightly zany by coincidence: I'm Laura.
I'm a serial creator, beard lover, lapsed cloth nappy user and the handy one of the house. When I'm not busy helping families grow, I might be drinking tea, exploring a new footpath, making lists, punching down the pizza dough with excess glee, walking my kids to school, relishing the Divine Liturgy at my Eastern Orthodox Christian church, joking around with my husband or hatching harebrained ideas for a new writing project.
MA: Theology and Philosophy, Oxford University
Dip HE: Antenatal Education, University of Luton/NCT
Recognised doula: Birth Consultancy
Trained Peer Supporter: Berwick Breastfeeding Support Group
Neonatal Resuscitation Provider: American Academy of Pediatrics/AHA
* I am not a medical caregiver, but this could help me facilitate parents' resuscitation of their own baby in an emergency
Further specific training in: massage, baby massage, yoga,
active listening, breastfeeding support, Optimal Foetal Positioning
Member of: Doula UK
You'd never guess it, but I am a native Californian. My family of origin moved from SoCal to the UK when I was little. We settled in Surrey, where I grew up in a village Rectory.
I met my husband while we were both living in Berlin. I've lived in several other places as well, from Fiji to Serbia. Most recently, my family spent a decade in the midwestern US, in the town on the shores of Lake Michigan where my husband was raised. This exposure to many ways of life has taught me that, wherever I am in the world, the done thing is not the only thing that can be done.
Each of my four children was born beautifully and simply at home, two in England and two in the States. I am full of wonder at the way in which this happened and at the lasting impact these experiences have left on me and my whole family. I wish that all people had the good companionship and quality information that enabled us to be so enriched by birth. This work represents my efforts toward that reality.
My grandmother always said she knew I'd write a book one day, and Fertile Ground: A Pilgrimage Through Pregnancy is dedicated to her. This book draws on stories from the families I've served, as well as on biblical, patristic, liturgical and medical sources. I pinch myself to think I'm lucky enough to be its author: few people get to see the experiences of their life culminate in such a concrete form.
My path to this work
I have chosen birth work because I believe it is my calling, one of the things I was born to do.
My fascination with childbearing sprang alive during my first pregnancy. I gobbled up all the information I could. What ensued was a magical birth. My labor began in its own good time (at 42w3d!); a Blue Moon provided its light; my husband held me in the birth pool; my sister braided my hair; my midwife caught our slippery nine-pounder; the friends who had loaned their house for a home birth brought food; and the world greeted our newborn boy with a thunderstorm.
If I were a fairy Godmother, I would give all new mothers the gifts that birth gave me: dignity, simplicity, a glimpse of my own capabilities, and a sense of the holiness of the moment.
I began to reach out and share what I had received with others, attending my first birth in 2005 and starting to train as a childbirth educator with the National Childbirth Trust. During the two-year diploma process I realised that, although I love classroom teaching, my role is incomplete unless my help is ‘incarnated’ as a doula. I enrolled in a Doula UK training program and began to assist families outside the circle of my own family and friends. In 2008 I became certified as an antenatal teacher, doula and breastfeeding peer supporter.
After almost fifteen years in practice, I now have experience of working with women in many different situations, from uncomplicated home waterbirth to emergency Cesarean birth under general anesthesia, and in several countries.
I have enormous confidence in women as they grow, birth and care for their babies – and in babies, with their individuality, desire to thrive and surprising wisdom.
It’s my experience that… …giving birth can be enjoyable, healing, joyful and enriching
…a woman is the greatest expert in her own body
…change is always possible. If there are no good options, I can still change my attitude
It’s my belief that… …pregnancy is not an illness but a marker of health
…each person is a walking image of God deserving to be treated as such
…birth is a spiritual, emotional, familial, relational event, not just a medical one
It’s my hope that… …all babies will be brought into the world with reverence and celebration
…doulas will one day be obsolete, replaced by organic sources of skilled care
…all mothers know the transforming power of birthing with autonomy and support
These are my own views, and I respect that yours may be different. I am happy to serve with equal respect all people, no matter what their beliefs about life or birth.