Hi, my name is Susannah and I am an experienced midwife and mother of two, providing a Postnatal Doula service.
The word doula comes from the Ancient Greek, meaning ‘woman’s servant’. Every woman deserves her own personal postnatal slave!
At Hills Postnatal I can help with:
People will tell you: ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’, ‘Forget the housework’, ‘Enjoy this time’. When you spend most of your waking hours feeding, winding, changing and soothing your baby, any time they are asleep you might be emptying the bins, doing essential laundry, washing up, or taking a shower. It can be hard to get any rest at all, even when you’re only doing the bare minimum around the house.
If this is not your first baby, then you will know all too well how much work a new baby creates. Even though you will find things much easier with second or subsequent babies, you have the added workload of sibling/s to care for and it’s a daunting thought!
Imagine how good you would feel if when you came home from hospital I had cleaned your house, brought groceries, walked your dog, prepared your evening meal, got your toddler ready for bed and helped you feed and settle your baby. Imagine how relieved you would feel to have a supportive, experienced adult arrive during the witching hour to clean up the last few days of kitchen detritus and rock the crying baby so you could get out of your pyjamas!
I relish the opportunity to use my specialist skills to help Mums, as well as providing affordable domestic help all within one service. Let me relieve some of the stress you may feel from multitasking, leaving you free to really enjoy your baby’s first weeks, instead of merely surviving them!
I am kind, friendly, energetic, and straightforward. I’m not in the least bit intimidating and I work like a Trojan. I will respect your views but I will also not hang back from making suggestions where I think I can help. An issue that comes up frequently for new Mums is that of being given conflicting advice. I am not rigid in my approach and will help you weigh up the evidence, to decide which options will work best for you.
My midwifery background gives me a breadth and depth of experience, which can’t be gained from doula training alone. I’ve also spent the last six years working on a book on breastfeeding and babies’ sleep, which is still a work in progress! I am fascinated by the anthropology of childbirth and child rearing around the world, and have spent literally thousands of hours researching my book. I therefore have a wealth of knowledge to share with you, above and beyond my experience as a midwife and mother.
I am currently working on a series of handouts to give to my clients, which will incorporate some excerpts from my upcoming book. I have trialled the book on my best friends as they began having their children and it’s met with enthusiastic approval so far. Click here to read reviews of my book.View Testimonials (PDF Download)
Society leads us to believe that motherhood, and in particular breastfeeding, will come ‘naturally’ – but this is not the case. A mother’s instinct is a powerful thing; but it is not a mother’s instinct that tells you how to breastfeed your baby or how to recognise when they are tired. These are learned skills. The reason we think of them as natural is because in recent generations they felt natural. Women grew up within larger and extended families and close-knit communities, observing other women in labour, feeding and calming their babies and participating in child care duties themselves. When it was their turn to have a baby, they knew roughly what to do!
For millennia, all around the world, women have been cared for by their families and communities after they give birth, usually for periods of two to six weeks. During the traditional ‘lying in’ period, the mother remains in and around her bed, doing nothing but eating, sleeping, feeding and changing her baby.
The lying in period serves a physiological purpose. It speeds a woman’s physical and mental recovery from birth, helps establish plentiful lactation, promotes bonding and gives the baby’s immature nervous system time to acclimatise to life outside the womb, rather than exposing him to too many sensory experiences and new people.
In stark contrast is our culture, where it is not unusual for a woman to have rarely even held a baby before she has her own, let alone know how to breastfeed one. Few mothers choose or even have the option to stop and rest after giving birth. As our community bonds have been eroded, becoming a mother can be, for many women, a very lonely and overwhelming experience.
In addition, we women have done ourselves a massive disservice in cultivating the myth of the superwoman. We think we can be everything, do everything and have everything. We can be wives, mothers, career women, grow our own organic veggies, maintain an active social life, make time for ourselves, exercise, be fit, sexy and well dressed, have a clean house….the list goes on! We have enormous expectations of ourselves, and one of those is that after we have a baby we have to get ‘back to normal’ straight away and just carry on with everything.
A postnatal doula can go at least part way to replace the community support that we generally lack. Doulas of North America report that women who have a postnatal doula:
I created Hills Postnatal because supporting women as they make the drastically life altering journey into motherhood lies at the very heart of what I love most about midwifery.I qualified as a midwife in 2000 in the UK. I trained and initially worked at a large teaching hospital in the midlands with a midwife-led birth centre attached. As a student midwife I was also involved in community midwifery before, during and after birth. This was followed by a stint working as a locum in six very busy hospitals around outer London, and an isolated rural unit in Ireland. I then returned to a permanent role in a large hospital in Essex and also worked casually in a cottage hospital in Suffolk.
When we emigrated from England, we started a family and now have two lovely girls aged six and three. I haven’t practiced midwifery since I became a Mum. I chose to stay at home for my children’s early years, mainly because I wanted to, but also because shift work was not possible when my husband worked away a lot. Furthermore, I didn’t want to lose my autonomy working in the Australian hospital system.
Now that my youngest child is in Pre-School and my husband is based permanently in Adelaide, I am ready to return to work. I do miss midwifery, but I don’t miss the working conditions! By practicing as a doula I can be my own boss and balance the needs of my own family with serving my clients. I can continue to nurture women at this amazing time of their lives without the competing demands of endless paperwork, policies, procedures and short staffing.
Through my own experience of having a severe magnesium deficiency and seeing the resultant effects on my children, I’ve also become really interested in nutrition and would love to gain a formal qualification in this area. I’m particularly passionate about the importance of diet during pregnancy and the management of children with special needs. I would ultimately like to be able to provide a nutrition service to my clients alongside the postnatal support service.
I would like to become a Lactation Consultant but unfortunately since I have been at home in the last five years, my clinical counselling hours are no longer valid and I will have to start accumulating my hours all over again. In the meantime I will begin some self-directed study on the Examination blueprint, in order to continually improve the service I can provide to my clients. If you had a very complex breastfeeding problem, which we were unable solve together, then I would refer you on to an IBCLC Lactation Consultant and help you follow through on the plan of care recommended by them.
Thank you for visiting my site. Please feel free to contact me at any time for a chat. 0411 897 222 or
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