Hi, I am Mary and based in Cork but run a doula agency that offers doula support nationwide. Alongside Jen Crawford, I set up DoulaCare Ireland in 2017 and we offer support to families throughout the country with a team of doulas that support clients on the full spectrum of doula support services. We also offer a wide range of classes – both in person and virtually such as Gentle Birth Workshops, Antenatal Ireland Childbirth Preparation Classes, Breastfeeding and VBAC Preparation Workshops.
I originally trained as a birth doula in 2006 (this seems like a long time ago now!), having been inspired by having a doula at my own birth. Since then I have been continually updating my training, training as a Postpartum Doula, Spinning Babies, and a myriad of other trainings every year. I won ‘Doula of the Year’ at the MAMA Awards in 2018 and have now developed and teach our own Doula Training at DoulaCare Ireland. Over the years I have worked with couples attending CUMH, Waterford Regional and Tipperary Hospital, as well as in a home birth setting. I have worked with families having their first baby as well as those having a second or third child. I have experience of supporting families in many different circumstances including those hoping for a VBAC or VBA2C, women who are choosing an epidural and those hoping to have an unmedicated birth. I have also worked with families who have experienced loss as a bereavement doula, as well as fertility doula support. As a postpartum doula I have also worked with families of singletons and multiples, as well as premature babies.
I am a trained breastfeeding counsellor with Cuidiu and offer support to families with whatever feeding method they choose. I offer support to families throughout their pregnancy, labour and postnatally. I am available by email, phone or via Facebook to answer queries or provide reassurance throughout pregnancy – alongside the personal meet ups that I do with all my doula clients. I really enjoy getting to know a family over the time we spend together and it is real honour to be a part of this journey with them. As well as being a doula I also trained as a GentleBirth Instructor in 2009 and have now worked with over 350 couples in the Munster region. I also offer regular GentleBirth meet ups in Cork and run VBAC Preparation workshops on a regular basis. In a voluntary capacity, I am a breastfeeding counsellor with Cuidiu, offering breastfeeding support to Mums in Cork over the phone or in person. I am also a qualified aromatherapist (I.T.E.C) since 2004, and when pregnant on my first child I used essential oils to help me deal with common pregnancy ailments such as insomnia; and also to support me during my labour. From this experience I developed my own range of essential oil products for pregnancy and labour, (Essencia Aromatherapy).
I cannot really put into words how much I love doing this work. I feel hugely privileged to be able to support couples in their choices as they go through such an important time period in their life. Anyone who knows me will attest to the passion I have and my ultimate dream would be that women having babies are treated with respect, listened to and shown compassion and support during their pregnancy and the birth of their child. I would love to see a maternity system where the informed choices they make are supported and that their partner too is supported in whatever role they are comfortable with as well. I would hope that by the time my children are becoming parents that a woman/labouring person has the choice to give birth wherever they choose, and that no matter what way they hope to give birth (be it a home birth, hospital birth, natural birth, elective caesarean, epidural, drug free, etc…), that their decision is valued and respected. I would also hope that postpartum support is the norm for new parents, and that every family would have access to a postpartum doula to nurture them in the early weeks and months of parenting.
Outside of my love of birth work, I am also passionate about making a difference in the wider community. I am an Intersectional Feminist and am very aware of my privilege as a white Irish cisgender woman in this country. After doing a BA in UCC (Sociology & History) and then a Higher Diploma in Equality Studies at UCD, I worked as a Community Development worker for a number of years. I also worked with Cork City North Citizen Information Service for 12 years. In this role as an Information Officer, I provided an information, advice and advocacy service to the general public on the Northside of Cork City, and the skills I learned in this capacity enhances my role as a doula I feel (there is a lot of overlap between the two careers).
When I am not working I am busy raising 2 children, a daughter (14) and son (nearly 10), with my husband David (who is a huge support) and we all live in Midleton in East Cork – along with our dog (Blizzard).
Thank you for reading.