These are a selection of comments from grateful clients:
“Alison, a huge thank you from F, Evie and I for your support in the lead-up to, at and after Evie’s birth. Your calm presence, restorative healing hands and knowledge of the process all helped to ease us and despite the difficulties that arose, ensure that all was well in the end. We particularly found your presence helpful on the day and are so grateful for your commitment when we were both running out of energy and feeling overwhelmed. It was also really valuable to discuss the birth process with you at the antenatal appointments and help collect our thoughts around the birth plan. After Evie arrived you continued to support us and enable us to conserve some much-needed energy in the first weeks! We would unreservedly recommend you to anyone who asks. With love and thanks.” Kate, mother of Evie, born October 2016 at UCH.
“I was very nervous coming home after a C. Section, but your presence in those first few days made everything much easier. Most importantly, you gave me confidence and supported my breastfeeding which I hadn’t managed with any great success with my son. With you around our home was filled with calm which was so important for all of us and helped my son feel settled when everything around him had changed so dramatically. Now at least we all know what we’re doing! Thanks for everything.” Sara, mother of Maggie, born October 2016.
“Thank you for your calm, steadfast presence throughout, Alison. We are extremely grateful, and I don’t think we could have managed as well as we did without you.” Oliva, mother of Thomas, born November, 2016 at St Mary’s Paddington.
“Alison is very knowledgeable and takes the time to explain and discuss everything in a clear and thoughtful manner. Most important of all, she is nice company to have around!” Caspar, father of Sep, born October, 2016.
“Alison, thank you for your invaluable help as my postnatal doula. Your first couple of visits were particularly vital – so reassuring to have you with me. “Josine, mother of Maude born November, 2016.
“We decided on a doula at the last minute as I was determined to try for a natural birth after an emergency C. Section the first time around. I was immediately impressed by Alison’s calm and reassuring presence. Having experienced a VBAC herself, she understood the mental challenges I was grappling with, and in the run-up gave me some great advice on how to prepare – from fine-tuning my birth plan to useful reading suggestions. Alison’s praise and encouragement really helped to spur me on during my long labour. I was so grateful for her magic rehydration tablets, excellent massages and for making sure I didn’t lose sight of why I was working so hard. I can’t thank Alison enough for everything she did on the day; she gave me the guts to go for the birth I so desperately wanted. And I did it!!” Mani, mother of Aya, born at UCH, July 2016.
“Hi Alison, I just wanted to write and thank you again for all your support. I have really appreciated your help, firstly with breastfeeding my twins, as it seemed an almost impossible task when they were so new and small. Your encouragement gave me the confidence to persevere. Your suggestions to help with Bronte’s reflux to ease her discomfort and adjusting to a new life with a toddler and baby twins have been such a help. Your calm presence has been a wonderful blessing over the last few weeks. Thank you!” Jacinda, mother of Bronte and Albin, born April, 2016.
“Hi Alison, I can’t even express how thankful we are for all that you did for us yesterday. I really don’t know how I could have gone through it all without you. Benjamin is adorable; he is feeding and sleeping well and is absolutely perfect.” Keren, mother of Benjamin, born November, 2015 at Royal Free Hospital.
“With our second child requiring an emergency Cesarean Section, it was important for us to attempt a VBAC, so having the extra guidance from Alison was critical. All our hopes and expectations were well surpassed once labour began. Alison was a calm and ever-helpful presence, oftentimes working in the background to ensure my husband and I could work through the contractions in a peaceful and serene environment. This was particularly important as once labour began it moved very fast……we were proud to hear some of the midwives commenting on how calm and collected we all were for our son’s birth and a big part of this was having Alison support us and the confidence her presence gave us so that we could do what we needed to do. A huge and sincere thanks to Alison for contributing to a perfect birth story for our third child, and absolutely recommended by us! Leah and Chris, parents of Finley, born May, 2016, Lindo Wing St Mary’s Paddington.
“I just wanted to thank you again for sending through the post-natal doula details following my plea for help. After a few interviews, we went with Alison Grunwald (cc’d) and she’s made a transformational difference to our new family. Breastfeeding is well on track and N and I are now feeling strong enough to deal with what we went through without it affecting little Aria in a negative way. I am sure that without Alison’s support, help and advice we would never have got to this stage so fast (if at all). I didn’t even know postnatal doulas existed before your email! Thanks again.” Letter from Hannah, mother of Aria, born November 2015, to Janet Balaskas founder of the Active Birth Centre, Archway.
“We are so glad we chose Alison as our doula: she provided invaluable help and support before, during and after the birth of our twins. Her experience in multiple births was a great help in planning for their arrival and she gave us plenty of useful advice so we could feel as prepared as possible before the arrival of our boys. The birth was a planned C. Section and Alison made sure I could start breastfeeding straight after both our boys were delivered. Her advice in those crucial early days meant I could focus on breastfeeding, despite being on a busy maternity ward…..I really appreciate Alison’s calm influence, her experience but also the fact that she always listened to my needs and wishes in order to come up with a plan that suited me and my family. She also did some post-natal sessions once we got home. I am very glad we booked her for these as it meant we had continuous breastfeeding support. She helped out in any way she could meaning I could get a few much-needed hours of rest. Paula, mother of Bjorn and Magnus, June 2016.
“Alison was the calm and steady rock that accompanied us all the way through the birth of our first child, Maria. She was there, giving us help, advice and comfort when C had to stay overnight in the hospital half way through the pregnancy because of complications. She was there when we had to rush to the labour ward two weeks early because Maria was in a hurry to come out. She was there, holding our hands in labour, giving us peace and confidence, and keeping us hydrated. She was there looking after us when we went home completely overwhelmed with this little bundle of joy suddenly being in our lives. She was there when C struggled with baby blues. She was everything we wished for in these turbulent times. Thanks so much Alison: you made the birth of Maria a joyful and peaceful experience.” Daniel, father of baby Maria, born June 2014, St. Mary’s, Paddington.
“Alison, we wanted to thank you so much for being our doula and really caring and supporting us through the birth of our second child. After a bad experience in hospital the first time, having a C.Section because our baby was breech and feeling quite bullied….we wanted someone who was ‘on our side’ for our second birth. During my long labour having you on the end of the phone or at our house taking me out for a walk was invaluable. I would definitely have gone into the hospital the minute things got painful, whereas your calm, matter-of-fact knowledge about the stages of labour kept me at home for as long as possible, which was exactly what I wanted. The birth plan worked out exactly as we had discussed and your earlier encouragement about me speaking with the consultant midwife was really valuable; that meeting made me feel so much more in control of the whole process. I certainly felt like I got what I wanted from the hospital this time, despite not being allowed in the birth centre, and that was down to the confidence I had in you and the luck of a brilliant midwife.” Charlotte, mother of baby Audrey, born December, 2014
“I strongly believed that if I was allowed to labour in my own way without excessive monitoring or pain relief, my chances of having a safe, normal delivery were increased. I went about finding a doula to be an advocate for me and my husband during the labour. As it happened I went into labour 5 weeks early and had a very rapid delivery but Alison was there and I distinctly remember hearing her voice and feeling calm and in control. She gave me a great deal of confidence that I could do it and that it was the right choice for me. Looking back, I might even go so far as to say that I enjoyed the experience! Afterwards Alison stayed around to help me get comfortable and was a great support for my family.” Hannah, mother of baby Tom, born September 2014, Whittington Hospital.
“When the birth progressed to the emergency C. Section, Alison was in the theatre and ensured that the baby had skin contact and started to breastfeed immediately. I am not underestimating the knowledge and support the hospital midwives provide. However, having a person around you’ve met before, who knows your wishes, is a great help.” Jelena, mother of baby Anna, born October 2014, Portland Hospital
“Alison is very gentle and calm. She has a soothing voice and presence and she is just full of knowledge. She is also funny and takes care of you, just like a warm, loving mum. I found her to be very reliable and I am so grateful she was there to help me through; the experience would not have been the same. I was so scared being without my family and this being my first baby. Alison was completely there for my husband and I. I am very lucky and would not recommend anyone more.”
Jessica, mother to baby Oliver, born UCH birth centre, April 2013
“The hours after having a baby are very overwhelming and in a busy hospital the aftercare can be hit and miss. Having Alison there gave me an invaluable level of support which I could not have otherwise received. In the days after the birth Alison did several postnatal visits. My baby lost weight and the community midwife threatened to send us back to hospital. Alison went above and beyond to help me resolve the issue. She also recommended a breastfeeding expert who assessed my son’s feeding and diagnosed a posterior tongue tie. Were it not for Alison’s recommendation this may have not been discovered.”
Sonia, mother of Max, born December 2013, UCH
“I would absolutely feel able to recommend Alison to other women. She was an essential ally during the birth. Not least of all, she helped me confidently move through labour and have a clear account of what happened after the fact, while providing relief to my husband that a trusted third party was remembering all the details of the birth plan when he was too emotionally wrapped up to think straight. Likewise, Alison helped the community midwife by providing a clear and conscious account of my wishes and, when necessary, a challenging voice to ensure my and my baby’s best interests were at heart when last-minute decisions needed to be made.”
Laura, mother to baby Violet born at home Dec. 2011.
“I’m lucky to have found Alison. She was exactly what I needed. I was struggling with breastfeeding and was really frustrated. Half an hour from her arrival both babies were attached to my breasts, feeding. It was amazing. I’m so grateful. She did everything without me having to ask or say anything. She just knew what had to be done; it made me really relax.”
Julia, mother to twins Ron and Daniel, Mar. 2011
“I honestly feel that my experience in those first few weeks following the birth has been so much more positive and better because Alison has been around. I feel more confident about looking after the baby and it is great to have an expert around who can help you with simple things like giving the baby a bath -it’s stuff that you don’t realise will be worrying before the birth, but that you want to get right.”
Maxine, mother of baby Iori, born February, 2013
“My rapport with Alison was excellent. She provided me with lots of support and advice, and was available any time I needed. She helped me gain confidence in being able to take care of the baby and to understand about feeding and sleeping. This was reassuring. She looked after the baby while she was here so that I could rest. I really appreciated the experience and knowledge she shared with us, especially about feeding and understanding the baby’s needs. She gave us a good start. Alison is very calm and patient, which made it easy to open up and have good communication.”
Mirela, mother to baby Anna, born January, 2011
“Ali, R breastfeeding all relaxed while we watch TV for the first time. Baby relaxed and sucking. R loves it that she is eating! Thank you so much for your help. Really appreciate your support in our hours of need.”
Mike, father to Poppy, born March 2012
“I owe a lot to Alison for the kind and caring support during my pregnancy and labour. It made a tremendous difference to all three of us. She was always calm and collected, eager to assist whether that meant squeezing my hips (a magical trick that she performed and the only thing that helped my back labour pain), or running me a bath, or sleeping in with me, making sure to give my poor husband a break and some rest. She was resourceful in speaking out for me in the labour room when I was too exhausted to do so. She made sure we were settling well with the baby, making calls to check on us, even when her own grandson was being born.”
Diana, mother of baby O, born Jan 2014, St Mary’s
“Alison showed herself to be adaptive and cool under pressure – she actually got to the hospital before we did! She had brought things we had forgotten in haste…..Having a third person in the room who had experience of births provided reassurance. Alison was able to ask intelligent questions of the medical staff and provided us with an advocate to overcome our lack of prior experience. Dad felt very comforted at certain points in the birth when Alison was able to say ‘This is normal.'”
E, mother to baby Henry, born March, 2012
“You helped me get over my fears and concentrate on my breathing. I felt much more confident of my ability to have an anaesthetic-free birth and that your care would get me through it. I also really appreciated the way you collaborated with the midwives and doctor as the atmosphere was very positive. My doctor also noted this afterwards.”
Kelly, mother to baby Naomi, born Dec. 2012, Portland
“You made Alice’s birth a positive experience a we couldn’t have managed without you! I am so proud of what I did – and have you to thank for it. We will always remember you as one of the fundamental pieces during my pregnancy and birth. We will be forever thankful for that. You will always be in my heart, as a doula, as a friend.”
Barbara, mother of baby Alice, born May 2014, Royal Free
“I just wanted to say thank you again for all your help towards the end of last year with my twin girls, Lauren and Eden. I am happy to say that after your initial support with my breastfeeding I was able to breastfeed the girls up to 7 months of age – a lot longer than I ever expected I would be able to do.”
Maureen, babies born September 2012