Having a healthy, happy pregnancy is not entirely up to you. Some things simply happen. Being your doula, I’ll help you to understand what’s going on inside of your body and what’s going on with your baby. I’ll also try to explain to your family why you do what you do, if you are having trouble making it clear yourself.

Before labour
By visiting your home several times during your pregnancy we will get to know each other and you can ask me anything you like. We’ll talk about your birthing preferences and your expectations and I’ll give you practical tips and tricks. We will work on your birthing plan together. If you wish, I can give you a relaxing neck, shoulder, and foot massage combining it with a traditional Chinese cupping massage technique. If you want to know more about these techniques, please feel free to send me an email.
I’ll never leave your house without having given you some Birthlight yoga moves and Spinning Babies postures that are beneficial for you during your pregnancy and when in labour. You will be offered a post partum prep meeting by my back up doula Joyce, so you get to meet her too and be informed at the same time about what to expect after you’ve given birth to your child.

The frequency of our visits is up to you and varies per package. We will, however, take on this adventure together. Every birth is unique. This goes for me as well as for everybody else you’ll meet during your pregnancy and labour. It’s up to you to prepare yourself as well as possible. Find the help you think you will need on this exciting journey. I’ll get to know you and will listen to your wishes. I’ll always tell you when I feel that some of your ideas are too far-fetched.
Take part in a proper course, inform yourself about all labour options possible in the Netherlands and take care of your mind and body. I’ll support you along the way. Take a look at my new ‘Birthing Basics’ partner workshop that’s been developed to help you and your partner cope with the intensity of labour.
I can tell you all about giving birth in the Netherlands, as well as refer you to various specialists if necessary. I know a lot about having a baby, but I do not give birth to your child. I can suggest a variety of postures and remind you of everything you’ve learned in order to cope with the intensity of giving birth. However, you will have to do the work yourself. I’ll support you, cheer you on, and be there for you. I’ll encourage you to communicate even during difficult times. But if you do not want to talk, I can only try to read your mind. Only if you open up, I can truly help you.

Birthlight yoga
Birthlight aims to enhance the wellbeing of women and their partners through the journey of pregnancy and birth, helping parents and infants relax in the shared enjoyment of their new life together. Birthlight uses body-based practices inspired from yoga and traditional modes of parenting supported by scientific research and in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology. By using traditional yoga postures that are beneficial for a pregnant woman as well as putting extra focus on the pelvic floor, together with diverse breathing techniques, you’ll learn to relax where it’s needed and build muscle at the same time. “Mothering the mother” is a corner stone in the Birthlight method to help prepare a pregnant woman to nurture her baby.

Of course, I invite you to attend my partner workshop ‘Birthing Basics’, that’s been developed with other birth professionals to give you in depth information about the labour process and giving birth in the Netherlands.
You’ll receive a discount when enrolling this workshop having already booked me as your doula and v.v.
I can also give you a private session with some basic Birthlight techniques in the privacy of your own home if that makes you feel more comfortable.

Optimal Fetal Positioning through Spinning Babies techniques
After having been trained in 2015 by Dutch spinning babies instructor and fellow doula Jennifer Walker, I’ve added the Spinning Babies techniques to my prenatal appointments and to the births I’m honored to attend as a birth doula.
Being able to teach you and your partner how to add these exercises into your daily routine really promotes your child IN ADVANCE to turn into the optimal fetal position (OFP).
If this does not work well enough before the birth, we can always continue doing so during labour and see how it works for you and your baby.
Check out the website www.spinningbabies.comincluding a short video that shows you some of the daily exercises and what it can mean for you personally.

During labour
When you’re in pre-labour, we’ll keep in touch and I’ll come over when necessary. During your active labour phase, I’ll be with you the entire time and help you remember your breathing techniques and comfortable positions. I’ll support you with massage, acupressure, aromatherapy and homeopathy, so you can focus as much on your experience as possible. I will help your partner to deal with his/her emotions and massage techniques, so he/she will be able to support you in return. I will protect the safe environment in which you need to be in order to give birth peacefully.

When an (emergency) caesarean is necessary, I’ll stay with you in the OR, if the anaesthesiologist allows me to. A caesarean is major surgery and I can be there for you during and after the operation. After your baby is born and needs to leave the cold OR with your partner, you’ll still be on the operating table. As your doula, I can comfort you, keep you informed, and assist you with your general well-being. I will strive to get you back to your room to meet your baby as soon as the operation is finished.
With a planned caesarean, I can give you extra help as well. I can urge for a ‘gentle as possible’ caesarean with the operating team. The gentle caesarean is not being offered in all hospitals yet and is relatively new in the Netherlands. It aims to make a caesarean delivery as close as possible to a vaginal delivery and allows a mother to keep her baby at her chest after it’s been born. Should you want to know more about gentle caesareans, please feel free to contact me.

Should you desire, I can certainly take pictures, but only of the things that you want to have photographed in the first place. I will respect your wishes at all times.

After labour
Within two weeks after your baby is born, I will call on you to see how you both are when I’ve been your Labour Doula: this is the post-partum visit. I’ll present you a birthing log with pictures, a timeline, and discuss the highlights of your birth. We will read through it together, and there is room for your memories and your input. This birthlog is not included in the basic and last minute package, but you can always opt for a top-up. If you choose not to have the log, we’ll just discuss what we both can remember.

After you have given birth and you have lived life for some weeks as a new mother, it is possible to fall into a black hole. The “kraamhulp” nurse has left, the family has already visited and complimented you on your baby, your partner is back at work, and you’re home alone with your baby and not even half way through your pregnancy leave……You’ve got many questions with regards to the development of your baby, you’re feeling insecure about the breastfeeding, or you’ve even forgotten how to install the car seat in the back of your car….in short, you are feeling alone and insecure. Even during that period, I can be there to encourage you and offer practical advice. Should you desire, I come over for an extra session and give you useful tips in order to help you and your family enjoy a lovely post-partum period. How about a nice, relaxing massage? Starting January 2018 I will offer Postpartum & Infant Care Doula services!

The postpartum period (the time right after the birth of your baby) is sometimes even more stressful then the pregnancy or the actual delivery of your baby. Not only are you busy with the healing process of your own body, but you also have to get to know this little creature at the same time. You might be feeling insecure how to handle all at the same time, especially when you’re home alone or even have other little ones to also take care of. A Postpartum & Infant Care Doula will not only come over to take care of your baby, but she will look after each and every one in your direct surroundings so you can transition the most smoothest way possible into your new life balance. Your Mother Me Postpartum & Infant Care Doula will support, pamper and look after you so you can focus on the best possible recovery of your body and brain to be able to take care of your newborn the best way possible.

Postpartum/postnatal Doula services are relatively new in the Netherlands. We are famous for our maternity nurse (‘kraamzorg’) system and the postpartum period is taken care of directly after birth by a certified maternity nurse in your home (or an obstetric nurse in hospital) for a period of about 6 days, for at least 3 hours a day. She’ll check your recovery, help you (breast)feed, looks after babies weight, it’s temperature, does a diaper count and will likely do some light household chores, time prevailing. But because we’re facing a high decrease in certified maternity nurses nowadays, the level of care or the service hours given are rapidly decreasing. Because of this, many parents of newborns do not feel ready at all to take of their baby themselves after the ‘kraamzorg’ has left. Let alone, when you’ve never had the pleasure of a maternity nurse in your home, because you were in hospital ‘too long’ after the birth or when you had a c-section and you only get the basic most possible care for a few hours after your home.
Maybe you’re far away from home, far from close relatives and / or friends, you’re a single mother or your partner has to return to his/hers full time job within a few days after the birth.

A Postpartum & Infant Care Doula can help you out. Maartje Bruning of Mother Me doula services has been trained by Pro Doula (New York, USA) and by Birthlight International (UK) and is capable of giving you all or some of following services:
• Breastfeeding education and support (referring to an ICBLC when something is out of the normal scope)
• Bottle feeding education and support / helping to combine breast- and bottle feeding
• Emotional support of mother / partner / grandparents / siblings
• Swaddling / Baby carriers / Bathing of baby
• Sleep training / co-sleeping / SIDS education
• Night shift (min.8 max 10hrs from 22.30 until 06.30hrs) on Friday / Saturday / Sunday to help you (and potential partner) recover on sleep deprivation and potentially taking 100% care of baby
• Recognizing postpartum depression (referring to a proper specialist)
• Relaxation Massage of mother’s neck / shoulders
• Teaching baby massage
• Coordination meal train
• Receiving / planning visitors
• Postpartum Birthlight yoga exercises for quick pelvic floor recovery
• Rebozo ‘closing the bones’ ritual at around 40 days postpartum
• Carseat / maxicosi training
• Bellybinding
• Meal preparation / doing groceries / light household chores
• Preparing pets for baby
• Preparing perineum pads / herb steam baths

Non judgmental, unbiased support is the motto of Mother Me doula services. You will receive a lot of well meant advice from anybody around you, after the birth of your baby. Mother Me will help you find your own voice, and your own strength to be able to look after your baby the best way YOU see fit.

Postpartum & Infant Care Doula services are available in flexible hours (booked with a minimum of 16 hours), in daytime shifts or night shifts, as well as in package deals. With the package deal you are sure of the most amazing Postpartum & Infant Care Doula services, since they are more easily planned in advance then flexible hours. You can use the packages or hours already starting from day one after the birth of your baby until 6 weeks into your postpartum period. Please book the Mother Me Postpartum & Infant Care Doula hours in time, in order to secure yourself of the utmost care possible!

It is always possible that your Postpartum & Infant Care doula is being called into birth of another baby when she is working at your home. She will then make sure that her shift does not end with her, but that she will get the back up Postpartum & Infant Care Doula in place, until she is ready again to take back up her duties. The back up Doula has exactly the same training as the primary Doula, so you will never be deprived of optimal, professional care during a potential shift change.

Contact after labour
Nearing the end of your pregnancy, we’ll be in touch about every week when I’m your Labour Doula. During the last days, we might even talk every day. I probably do not know the names of your brothers or sisters, where you grew up or any of the other things that your friends know about you. But around the time your baby is being born, we will have created a bond that is real and close and beautiful. After your baby’s birth, our relationship will change. I will most certainly be pleased that I have been your doula. I will enjoy the fact that I’ve gotten to know you so well in so little time and have been able to support you during such an intense period in your life.
Thank you for sharing your home, your life, and your birth with me. Thank you for having me take care of you. Every birth or postpartum period touches my heart. Every birth or seeing you taking care of baby teaches me a lesson and I’m grateful for the experience you’ve given me. Thank you.

If I miss your labour….
Your due date is important for my planning purposes. Previous labours give an indication for a future birth. During your first labour your body is actually birthing 1 ½ babies and is already preparing your body for the next birth.
Per month, I can only take on a few mothers in order to be able to guarantee my presence at your labour or during your postpartum period. Should I have another birth going on when you go into labour, or I cannot be at your birth for any other reason, I have an excellent back-up doula (her name is Joyce) whom you’ll meet at least once, during the post partum prep meeting. And if even the back-up doula cannot make it to your delivery in time, we talk about the services I can offer after your labour.