Two important dates for women around the world, both in the month of March – International women’s  Day (8th March) and World Doula week from the 22nd March.

To celebrate Women’s Day locally, Taunton Area Unite Community, produced a display of ‘postcards’ with nominations for inspirational women – both locally known and worldy famous, British and International. Nominees included Dr. Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space, to Debra Searle, the first person to row solo across the Atlantic. Some women were nominated for their politics and passion for human rights such as Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who initiated a non-violent movement for democracy, and Malala Yousafzei an advocate for girls right to be educated. Local nominees included a GP, Dr. Catherine Lewis, who works hard to dedicate time to all her patients, midwife Kate Hopwood who provided much needed support to her nominee, and Frederica Smith a local councillor and campaigner and founder of RAFT (Refugee Aid From Taunton) which sends aid to refugees all over the world.

Behind all the nominees is passion, commitment, drive and strength. When I am working as a doula, it is the strength of women that is most apparent to me. Women’s physical strength to cope with their labour and the challenges it often brings, but also their emotional strength to ride the highs and lows that birth and postnatal life bring.

I was very much humbled to be included in this display. My nominee put my name forward because of my commitment to providing birth, breastfeeding and postnatal support in my community. Behind my commitment lies my passion for supporting parents – I want every mother to feel confident in herself to birth her baby, and in turn parents to feel confident in caring for their baby and able to make decisions that are right for their family.

You can see the digital version of the display here

World Doula Week begins on March 22nd. After a conversation between myself and some of my doula sisters, we developed an idea to celebrate the week with a patchwork quilt. We took our inspiration from Ina May Gaskin’s idea ‘Safe Motherhood quilt‘ which is a commemoration of women who have died from pregnancy related causes. With time not on our side (!) we decided to create a virtual quilt made up of photos of doulas, and even developed our own collective noun – a cuddle of doulas! As our patchwork grew, so did we as a visual collective force of women who are united in supporting and enabling women and their families through pregnancy, birth and beyond.

You can see the ‘quilt’ here