Friday, 9 March 2012


Last week I was at Gail Tully's Spinning Babies workshop.  It was a wonderful day, but it felt strange to be there.

Now, I introduce myself to potential clients as 'a Doula with no tricks' and tell them how a North London hospital refers to me as 'the sensible Doula'.  It's funny really, because Spinning Babies is all about doing things, so I found myself learning and wondering how, why or if I would use the principles.  This is something that causes debate in the Doula world, or maybe just the Doula world that I inhabit.  We are there to BE rather than to DO.

So, as it is spinning around my mind (did you see what I did there?), it is being blogged.  So do forgive me if I pop things down and end up at an expected conclusion.  Who knows.  My mind is busy busy busy with this.

Gail talked about balance, gravity and movement.  Now as a Doula I spend a lot of time thinking about gravity and movement.  I'm not sure why balance didn't occur to me.  I encourage my ladies to be mobile in labour (where they want to be and sometimes when they are not so sure).  I tell everyone who will listen that gravity will help bring the baby down and get the baby out.  It's a no brainer.  But balance?  I hadn't thought about that at all.  Thinking about the fascia was new to me.  I have cranial osteopaths that I recommend to my clients.  Muscles?  Pregnancy massage.  What's not to love?  Ligaments, well they stretch don't they?  And that was about as far as I had gotten until Gail's workshop.  Now I'm changing my thinking.  Perhaps it is my balance that needs checking.

There is a thin line between Being and Doing and so one thing I need to think about is, when is it appropriate?  That will be a balance thing.  One of my lovely ladies was the model for the workshop.  She was wonderful because she had been using Spinning Babies techniques for herself and had only recently been told that her breech baby was now head down.  Another reason why she was wonderful was the way that she responded to questions. Her answers spawned new questions and thoughts.  It also taught Gail that on this side of the Pond, we speak the same language differently.  lol.  What I learned from her presence was a simple reinforcement of signposting and allowing (sorry Mary) my ladies to take and leave what they wanted from the information that I am so keen to share.  I will admit to a little jealousy that she has now taught her husband how to use a Rebozo.  I'll be the Doula in the corner reading. 

The workshop also answered some questions in the recesses of my mind with regards to labours I had been unable to 'read'.  I wouldn't have changed much of what I did, but I would have pointed my ladies towards Spinning Babies and I would have made more informed suggestions at those times when my ladies ask me 'what more can I do?' and I tread that tightrope called Being and Doing.

So perhaps the Doula with no tricks does have one or two up her sleeve!


  1. DOING nothing is a kind of DOING, no? Signposting is a doing. Listening is a doing. Opening doors by making suggestions is a doing. Even a 'hands on' technique like using a rebozo doesn't have to be 'anti-being'. My feeling is that it is HOW we do nothing and HOW we do something that makes the difference. I've seen midwives examine a woman in a way that I would consider 'hands off' (I know that sounds bonkers, but I hope you know what I mean!). I've also seen far too many VEs that the Mary you refer to would definitely not approve of, because of HOW it was done.
    Brilliant musings as usual!

  2. Thank you for this!! I was starting to feel (as I am starting up as a Doula) that I don't have enough "tricks up my sleeve" and not much to really offer women..even thought I know that I know that I know it's all about is SO hard not to make yourself seem valued by what you can DO.

  3. I totally agree. Actually we spent more than half of the birth skills study day recently talking about not doing! One thing that really impressed me with Gail Tully at her presentation in Manchester is that she seemed to be very much with this idea, of doing nothing, if that was what was called for in the moment and/or what the mother wanted. Meeting her and seeing her work in person with mothers brought a lot of clarity around her work for me, and a new level of comfort with it.