The Doula Issue 39 Autumn 2020 - Flipbook - Page 17
Chartered clinical psychologist Dr Emma
Svanberg (DClinPsy) is known as The
Mumologist and works with parents and
parents to be, supporting them through
their parenting journey. Working as part
of a Collective, Emma and her colleagues
together offer whole-family support in
person and through her online community,
Before we mention the ‘c’ word, can you tell us how
you think the birth landscape has changed during
the ten or more years you have been working with
Pregnant and new families?
There have been many positive changes. There is a much
greater awareness, I think, of the need to fully involve
women, birthing people and their families in their decisions
around pregnancy and birth, and offer genuine choice in
place of birth, and choices within birth. When I first started
working with pregnant women, stand alone birth centres
were a new thing and I remember thinking they were
Now they are an accepted option in many parts of the UK.
I think women, birthing people and families are much more
aware of their rights during birth, and hypnobirthing has
gone from something a bit woo-woo to pretty standard.
Having a doula is also something which many more families
seem to be opting for and is seen as being a choice for all.
The impact of birth is spoken about much more widely, and
is now part of NHS England planning.
However, I do feel that I have seen far too many negative
changes too. The impact of austerity on the NHS has been
heartbreaking, with so many of the services which were
women and family-centred being removed, and many birth
centres have closed down.
Those who work in birth - midwives, doctors, anaesthetists,
health visitors, doulas, and so on - are suffering from
burnout after years of having their services underfunded
and approaches being more about targets than people.
Despite having seen and been involved in campaigning
for a different narrative around birth, so many still come
out of their birth experiences feeling so bereft, feeling that
unnecessary interventions or coercive practices had a
negative impact on their birth experience and their mental
health. And somehow there is ever more pressure, and
more judgement and attributions of success or failure
around birth, than before.
Can you tell us about the Make Birth Better
campaign. How did it start and what were your
intentions at the beginning?
Originally, Make Birth Better grew out of an Instagram
post I did back in 2017!! It explained the difference
between PTSD after birth and post natal depression.
I got a lot of messages from women telling me that it had
really resonated with them, and it got me thinking about
the common themes in the stories they were telling me.
© Doula UK | Autumn 2020 | The Doula 17