I'm Lulu Winfield - a mother, a birth doula, a reflexologist and a YogaBirth teacher. I live in West London with my little girls and and we love walking by the river near our home.
I was drawn towards working around birth after my first pregnancy in 1997.
I loved being pregnant and feeling full of life and sensed at that time that I was plugged directly into the socket of nature itself. The birth was what I thought at that time to be ‘a typical hospital birth’ but I felt something had been missing. I had planned a waterbirth but ended up with a long labour and epidural due to my daughter passing meconium and the requisite continual electronic monitoring. It was okay, she was born without intervention or tearing but with many changes of staff and some subtle bullying. My partner was present and my mum too. I guess she was my doula really and her female presence was invaluable to me. I knew I needed another woman there who had experienced birth and whom I could trust to nurture and protect me. After the birth I realised that I hadn’t been wise to all my options, rights and choices and felt let down by my GP, ante natal carers and by myself.
New motherhood blossomed and my daughter benefited profoundly from treatments such as cranial osteopathy which released some of her birth stresses. I decided to explore this further, feeling a strong pull towards supporting women and babes and birth in more natural, traditional and gentle ways.
I studied anatomy and physiology and based my final project on what happens to neonatal skulls during moulding in the birth canal. l then went on to train as a reflexologist. During the training myself and six other woman discovered we were pregnant! I based my case studies on pre and post natal women and loved the energy I was working around and also loved receiving regular treatments during my pregnancy. At the same time I was taking yoga classes with Lolly Stirk - an amazing teacher - who gave me an insight into how truly empowering birth can be and I prepared for a home waterbirth. I hired a doula for my second daughter’s birth and can still say it was the best day of my life. I didn’t get to birth her in the pool but the natural, drug free birth in my own surroundings was exhilarating and empowering and filled me with a sense of achievement, confidence and love that I still carry with me every day.
On that day I knew exactly where I wanted to take all this inspiration and potential, so holding my new bundle, I phoned the Active Birth Centre to find out how to train as a doula. My motivation then as now was to support women in having an informed pregnancy and a nurtured birth, something we all deserve. I had been lucky enough to come into contact with people who really feel passionate about keeping birth normal and in womens’ innate abilities.
Having supported two family members through pregnancy and birth I trained with British Doulas and was privileged to take on my first client Fiona shortly after that. I learned so much from being with her and her family and have always felt that the best teachers are the women we work with. I joined Doula UK in 2002 and found an incredible source of wisdom, faith and passion amongst the members. I am now the West London regional representative for Doula UK and I’m also an assessor and mentor for new doulas. I have attended many workshops and courses including an inspirational and transforming time with Binnie Dansby and a fantastically educational workshop with Jean Sutton on Optimal Foetal Positioning. It seems to me that the knowledge and insights these teachers have is invaluable and should be readily available to us all. I also commenced the Paramana Course with Michel Odent and Liliana Lammers.
In the summer of 2005 I undertook the Hypno-birthing teacher training programme having attended several powerful, peaceful and gentle births where the couples had attended hypno-birthing courses and were completely released from their fears. I look forward to developing my skills in this practice to assist in enabling more parents experience birth without fear or conditioning. I have also spent the last four years learning directly from Yvonne Moore, another seminal childbirth educator and yoga teacher and also Lolly Stirk both of whom founded Yogabirth (and previously the Active Birth Centre with Janet Balaskas). I am now a fully qualified Yogabirth teacher.
As doulas we never stop learning and I am committed to furthering my knowledge and appreciation of this lovely work. I have now been present at over 90 births as a doula, each one so very different and memorable. I have supported women at hospital and in their homes and have caught three babes when they arrived surprisingly quickly. Many of these births have been ‘vbac’s’ - vaginal birth after ceasarian. These were lovely healing experiences for all involved.
I feel my role as a doula is to support both parents towards achieving a satisfying and positive experience of birth and to help protect their emotional memory of the experience. I enjoy supporting them whatever their choices and preferences and hope to assist in their choices being informed. I tell clients that they cannot pass or fail at labour and birth what matters, is that they do what is right for them. I use reflexology extensively as a pre birth treatment to relax my clients and during labour I use massage, homeopathy and always the breath which is such a powerful coping device.
I love my work and sharing this amazing time with families.
There is a gift to be shared from woman to woman within this work which seems to spill its’ positive potential into our lives, families and attitudes. This is a job for life.