If you're reading this, it's probably because you're wondering how DBM came to be, and perhaps you're asking yourself what my background is. Hopefully this will help answer a few questions.
I'm Anne, and I'm mum to two amazing daughters who I'll refer to here as M1 and M2. I'm a trained classical musician by profession, and DBM was only 'born' once I became a mother. If you'd told me before I had my first child that I'd find myself doing this I'd have told you you were MAD! I was 'going to be back at work three months after having this baby' don't-you-know?!
M1 was born in an assisted hospital birth after an OP labour with a very extended second phase. Sadly she was born in a poor condition and was taken to Neonatal Intensive Care straight away - I wasn't allowed to feed her or even touch her for 11 hours. Fortunately (given the state her head was in!) she did eventually breastfeed, but during the weeks and months that followed breastfeeding was far from straightforward for us. I found good support and information very difficult to come by in my local area, and the internet became something of a life-line for me. Because of where I lived (and because at the time I was unable to drive) a visit to the local breastfeeding support group was pretty much out of the question for me, and besides, the group only met every two weeks.. I needed much more regular support than that but I was finding it hard to leave the house AT ALL because every time I tried to feed my daughter she would erupt in blood-curdling screams! And so I began to understand why so many mums stop breastfeeding. I nearly gave up myself many times! I spent night after night in tears, unable to understand why my daughter was refusing to feed (it turned out she had silent reflux and posterior tongue/ lip ties). The support of my 'birth club' friends (you know who you are) was invaluable - without it I would have quit for sure. The more I learnt about breastfeeding the more I realised how many myths are bandied about, and how destructive these can be. I realised how little most people (including many health care professionals) actually know about breastfeeding and how much we are all influenced by advertising and social norms. I hadn't expected to want to breastfeed my daughter so much, but now that I did, I saw how often mothers like myself are failed by a culture where breastfeeding is regularly dismissed as unimportant, or is spoken of with embarrassment or even disgust. It wasn't unimportant to me. So, I trained as a peer supporter with my local Healthcare Trust and began to support mothers in my local community. In July 2010 I started the DBM blog and Facebook group, with the intention of busting a few myths and as a platform for online peer support. Never in a million years did I think DBM would grow as big or become as popular as it has. As the group has grown in size I felt it was important to add a number of additional admin to the DBM team, all of whom have received at least peer level training. I am very grateful to them for all their help! A second daughter joined our family in September 2011 - this time born at home. Lots of our decisions second time around were very different - we learned a lot from our first experience of birth. M2's arrival was a wonderful and healing time for us all. Born on my birthday, she was 100% well after a peaceful, 'hands off' home birth. Mercifully there was no separation, and she took straight to the breast. Our nursing relationship has been comparatively 'normal' although it turned out she had lip and tongue ties too - but that's a whole other story. At the time of writing M2 is 18 months old. Breastfeeding her also enabled me to donate 360 ounces of milk to the local milk bank. Life took me on a major journey between the births of my children and I discovered along the way that I had a passion for supporting (and hopefully empowering!) other women. Preparing for and planning my second birth taught me a lot, and I was lucky to have the support of a great doula. Somewhere along the way I realised that I would like to become a doula too - it just seemed like a natural progression for me. So.. in 2012 I trained with Nurturing Birth and I'm now proud to be a Doula UK mentored birth and postnatal doula! And that's it - a potted history of me and how DBM came to be. Life sometimes takes you in unexpected directions, and all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride! x
picture courtesy of www.northernirelandbirthphotography.co.uk