A doula – which is a greek word meaning ‘a woman at the service of another woman’ – provides emotional and physical support during pregnancy, birth (though this may depend on your choice of care provider and place of birth) and the postnatal period.
Most doulas are mothers (or even grandmothers) themselves and their goal is to accompany the future parent(s) on their journey of discovery, all the while respecting the choices and wishes of the parent(s).
This section looks at:
What can a doula offer me?
Having a doula by your side can bring a great deal of comfort and reassurance, whatever stage you are at in your journey. And most doulas are happy to support you in all kinds of situations, including:
- pre-conception, before you even start trying to conceive
- trying to conceive (including after a loss)
- having difficulty conceiving
- undergoing fertility treatment
- loss of a baby
- elective termination
- pregnancy, including birth preparation
- labour and birth – read more here
- postpartum period
Doulas in Belgium
While doulas are not yet so common in Belgium, the following doulas various kinds of support and services in English:
- Greek mum and grandmother Yana Ardittis runs Good Morning Life (website currently only in French, but Yana also speaks English) offers doula services at whatever stage you are at, from pre-conception through to the post-natal period, and at any time in between. She works in the Brussels area.
- Tazneem Twells offers “doula services for every life transition” though Full Spectrum Journeys. She is American, a qualified OB-GYN nurse and IBCLC lactation consultant, and works in English, French, Spanish and Italian. Tazneem works in the greater Brussels area.
- South-African mum Callen Gerrits is a hypnobirthing practitioner and doula who serves the Turnhout area through Gentle Welcome. She also offers virtual consults and support to families all over the world.
- American Allison Tolman runs New Little Life, offering doula services in SHAPE and in Mons and surrounding areas.
- Belgians Julie Denil and Sophie Fraschina run So Cocoon. They offer a whole range of birth-related services, in English and French. They work in the Jodoigne area.
Because they have lived as expats, they know the feeling you can experience being a far from home, especially during the particular time of pregnancy and early parenthood.
Flemish-speaking and French-speaking doulas have their own associations, through which you can find a doula, and many of these doulas will also speak English.
Get in touch with a doula to find out if she serves your area and which languages she speaks.
- Association francophone des doulas de Belgique – francophone association of Belgian doulas
http://doulas.be/wp/trouver-sa-doula/ (in French; possible to search for doulas in Brussels and Wallonia, by region)
- Vlaamse Federatie van Doula’s – Flemish doula federation
https://doulasite.be/vind%20een%20doula/index.html (in Dutch; possible to search for doulas in Flanders)
You may also be able to find a doula:
- by asking friends, colleagues, acquaintances – if you’re a member of the BCT, ask your local group
- by asking your independent midwife
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