The Scottish Doula Network (SDN) was originally founded in 2001 by experienced childbirth companion, Lesley Ann Patrick, as an informal peer support group for the handful of women undertaking her doula preparation course at that time. As an early Doula UK member and committed gentle birth supporter, Lesley mindfully laid the foundations for the way doulas work in Scotland today.
It was with her blessings therefore, that ex-midwife, educator and then new doula Adela Stockton of Birth Consultancy Services took over the Scottish doula ‘training’ programme in 2003. While keeping Lesley’s essence of the doula close to its heart, Mindful Doulas has since developed to become ‘approved’ by Doula UK, attracting around 25 participants per year. Traditionally Scotland based, in response to increasing numbers of women attracted to its philosophy from further afield, the course now also offers core workshops in York and London.
By 2007, with Scottish doulas numbering around 40, SDN members took a vote to formalise the group with a yearly subscription of £20; the idea was to generate funds for a website and some advertising, thereby promoting the role of the doula in Scotland. An ethical statement was mutually agreed and currently anyone working as a lay childbirth companion in Scotland or cross border with the north of England is welcome to join. Criteria for membership is based on our commitment to peer support rather than ‘training’ or experience; as a new doula, support is offered through mentorship from an experienced doula, or as an experienced doula in partnership with a doula buddy.
Once a year, SDN members gather for a retreat in the wild Scottish countryside. The weekend is also open to others working in the field of childbirth support such as midwives and educators, or mothers considering becoming doulas. We run workshops, tell stories, make labyrinths, sew placentas, share food and open our hearts with laughter, tears and hugs.
There is no hierarchy within the SDN, every member’s voice is counted and heard in all decisions. But we do have three admin volunteers, a webmistress, a treasurer and responder for [email protected] enquiries. We are pleased to link with our doula sisters across Europe as a member organisation of the European Doula Network, and to support our ongoing learning through experienced doula Nicola Goodall’s Wysewoman workshops.
For further information about the Scottish Doula Network and doulas working in Scotland, contact us.