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We spoke to April Knell, postnatal doula and founder of Mothering Kind. In our interview, we discuss how she can support new mums, what drew her to become a post natal doula, her advice to new mums and much more.
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What drew you to become a post natal doula ?
I first found out about Doulas at NHS antenatal classes, pregnant with my first son. A lovely doula ran the classes, full of energy, smiles and positivity. I was immediately taken by the wonderful concept of doulas and even then excitedly wondered if I could become one one day.
When my first son was born I was utterly in awe of him. I couldn’t stop staring at him, it took ages to sink in that I had a son. I felt love like nothing before and was fully in the throws of motherhood. Whilst motherhood was a whole new beautiful world to me I still had the ‘What on earth do we do now’ after bringing Max home. I read loads whilst pregnant and after, and had my mum on speed dial for all those little questions that boggle your mind in the tired haze of those early weeks and months. I think because of experiences like these doula’ing stayed in the back of my mind and in-fact it was in between having my two sons I started the ball rolling and took the Doula preparation course. The course covered both birth and postnatal however I naturally felt drawn to the postnatal side of the fence. Helping mums in the tired haze, working through the boggling questions and totally appreciating how they’re going to feel with their new baby in their arms.
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How do you support new mums?
I will always meet mum face to face. It’s essential this happens for mum and doula. We’ll chat through some background, current family life, and how best can mum be supported. Difference with doulas is we are mum-led and we are there to support mums choices. Help maybe needed to make those choices but ultimately they are mums and still supported unconditionally.
Personally, I try to get the balance between proactively helping yet giving space. Reading a situation and learning what’s the best thing I can do for mum. Regular check-ins with mum to make sure the right support is being given at the right time.
What are some situations where a doula can help?
Support is flexible and often changes however, to give some examples:
– Mum is pregnant and knows partner/husband will be working long hours
– Batch cooking. Help round the house
– Mums had a C-section and need lots of practical help to rest and recover
– Parents have no family or friends close by who can help out on a regular basis
– Mums with twins
– Mum who has sibling/s and is thinking about sharing her time and attention
– Mum who is ridiculously sleep deprived and needs blocks of sleep to improve wellbeing
– Signpost to Mental health groups and resource
– Help with infant feeding
– Reassurance, a listening ear and emotional back-up
Ultimately, it’s helping mum get into her flow and confident of her choices.
Is there a specific area you focus on ? 
I cover all areas of the postnatal areas! Whatever mum and families need I’ll help with.
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What is the challenging of running your own business?
Going self employed has been a massive learning curve for me in lots of ways.
Whilst I’m continually learning I am much more aware of good habits, making the most of your time when you are working, importance of planning, working smarter , feeding the brain and of course self care.
How do you find balance between your work and home life? 
I think of spinning plates; keeping the business moving, normal house stuff and making sure I spend time with my two boys. I try to make it clear what I am doing when. So if I am working, I don’t then put a wash on. Equally if it’s time with the boys then I leave work alone and be present with them.
I like an old school paper diary where I time-block my day and plan my weeks and month.
What is one golden piece of advice for our mums? 
I had to think a little longer about this question but I kept coming back to this; comparing. This comes up a lot with mums either comparing themselves or what their baby is or is not doing.
The thing with us humans is we are unique, only one of us. Different characters, personalities. Different style of parenting or family set up. Of course chatting with a friend will help but use it as a guideline and accept things maybe different for you. Learn to trust your instinct. We are get there and motherhood can be tough enough without constant comparing.

April is based in Surrey but covers South West and South East London.

Telephone: 07793 811 555
@motheringkind on Facebook and Instagram
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