‘I have been a traditional birthkeeper and now educator for twenty years and read so many birth and mother related books over that time that i generally don’t pick this genre up an awful lot any more. there is much regurgitation of the same ideas and it takes something radical to light my fire these days. i am so glad I did read a doula’s journey because if i didn’t i would have really missed out this time!
As an educator I believe the power of the story is a great tool for learning and sharing and really making something not only come alive but also stick in the brain. i am about to add this book to the reading list for all the promised birthkeepers who come to study for their doula certification with me. why? this book captures the story of a woman walking the journey to supporting and loving new families and all the wonder and hard work that contains. hazel beautifully portrays the magic that always seems to surround making a clear clean intention to love, support and serve – the perfect unfolding of events that support and guide you on your path.
Joy’s story of her first months of becoming a doula hold all the major elements of what it is to do this work authentically. the introspection that is necessary to pick apart your own family dynamic and understanding of your own fertility journey in order to be stronger and more whole not bringing your baggage to the families you work with. what it means to truly be on call for 28 days; never sleeping deeply, always tapped into your phone, all your plans become fluid, no trips out of town, no partying, signs are given but we never really know for sure. we wait patiently. we hear about the doula’s perspective when things don’t go as planned; what it is to witness fear, obstetric management of birth and the brutality and impact of a surgical delivery. how this effects the family dynamic at the start of this new souls life here with us. what does that do for us? how does it make us feel? we also hear the joy and abundance of love when we bear witness to family birth, joyous birth, home birth, community birth and the impact and peace that can bring. how do we respond to that? what changes do these things make in our world.
All this in a riveting, page turning journal format. i didn’t put it down much at all until i finished it – i wanted to know how the story would work out. i highly recommend this book to everyone – it will be great for parents and anyone else who wants to hear about joys journey as a woman over that time but it is an invaluable resource to anyone embarking on or thinking of the dedicated work of the birthkeeper (doula, educator or midwife) to really understand what it takes and what it brings. well done hazel for bringing life to this blessed role.’ ~ Nicola Mahdiyyah Goodall of Red Tent Doula Preparation
‘Amazing writing, all Newbie Doulas or anyone considering being a Doula, Read!!! Really important for anyone wanting to become a Doula, it show’s the high’s and low’s surrounding birth and the emotions that come into play before, during and afterwards.’ ~ BG
‘Gorgeous book written with love and honesty about what it’s like to be a doula. I loved this book! Couldn’t put it down once I started and finished it in just a few hours! I loved immersing myself in Joy’s doula journey – I identified with so many aspects of it and wish the book had never ended! I will keep Joy’s story in my heart as I continue on my own doula journey. Thank you xo’ ~ S
‘Since I’m a labor and delivery doula I gravitate towards books about childbirth, particularly those written by midwifes and doulas. The author’s kind and loving attitude towards supporting women in childbirth was very apparent. I like that she didn’t dwell on techniques but rather on the deep connection between a woman in labor and her doula.’ ~ CN
‘Thank you for such a well written and lyrically illustrated story, I couldn’t put it down, and especially enjoyed learning a great lot while reading it!!’ ~ MK
‘I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in birth especially if you are thinking of becoming a doula and wish you well on your Journey!’ ~ EW
‘Beautiful, thought provoking. I was only disappointed that it ended..I felt immediate kinship with Joy, and loved following her story on her path to birth work. Reading through her experiences made me reflect back on mine – and what work I would need to do to attend births, and how to move past births that are not mine, but have been present for.’ ~ ED
‘A wonderful record of a very personal and life transforming journey that is written with honesty and openness, it was a Joy to read as I am studying to become an antenatal teacher and eventually doula myself. I highly recommend it.’ ~ JW
‘My sister gave me this book as a present. I have recently taken redundancy after over 20 years in the banking industry. I am now embarking on being a Doula. The book was a lovely read especially as I felt the character was mirroring what I am feeling at the moment. Can’t wait to start on my new venture now. Thanks Hazel’ ~ NW
Juno Magazine. Issue 33. Autumn 2013
A Doula’s Journey can be taken on many levels. At its most basic it is an engaging story of a woman discovering her vocation and coming to peace with her own family history. Taking the form of a diary, A Doula’s Journey follows its protagonist as she accidentally discovers the world of birth work, which soon becomes an all-consuming passion as she trains to be a doula. But above and beyond these fictional elements burns the author’s passion for birth and how it transforms the lives of women – both mothers and birth workers. She explores in real emotional depth the many varieties of birth and experiences of motherhood. The book is stuffed full of facts about natural birth and doula training, and soaked through with women’s wisdom. It would be a great read both for those considering, or already embarked upon, birth work, and for expectant mothers.
Maddie Mcmahon of Developing Doulas:
‘I was lucky enough, as Hazel’s doula mentor, to receive an advance Kindle copy of her novel, A Doula’s Journey, which I have very much enjoyed reading over the last few days.
The heroine is a childless, single artist running away from a painful, fatherless childhood. By chance, she catches a friend’s baby and this leads her down the path to doulaing. The description of the doula course, the guidance she gets from her mentors and the pain of supporting a mother through a traumatic birth will all feel very familiar to her doula readers and was particularly interesting to me as a doula course leader.
What also resonated with me, as a doula and a mentor, is the feelings that doulaing brings up for the heroine, feelings that are about her own birth, her own childhood and the relationship with her own mother. It is through learning about birth, asking questions and empathizing with her mother’s journey that she begins to heal deep and ancient wounds. It is also through the art that doulaing inspires that she finds the father that abandoned her as a baby and begins to build a relationship with him.
The descriptions of the natural world are evocative, the exploration of the dark days doulas can suffer after witnessing birth trauma and the wonderful examples of how becoming a doula opens possibilities for female community and support networks all make this a book worth reading, whether you’re a birth or postnatal doula, mother, maiden or anyone interested in the world of birth, mothers and women.’