Tag Archives: mothers

Labour and Childbirth… some of my thoughts

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I am a true believer in all women having the labours they want and want to experience, some want it all natural, with a doula, birth coach, midwife, whale music, water birth, hypnobirthing, some want all the drugs available, an epidural at the first contraction and some choose an elective caesarean section. One of my personal favourites was the Entonox or Gas and air as it was called in layman terms. I am not sure how widely used this is in Canada.

My role when I was a midwife was not to judge but to support what each individual client wants and needs. women also need to understand that sometimes, things don’t go to plan and many did come in with a birth plan.  Another one of my roles was to monitor the mother’s and baby’s wellbeing whilst in labour and watching the progress in labour, trying not to think about the medical model of labour, but keeping it tucked in the back of my mind. In my 6 years as a practising midwife in the UK, I have attended a variety of births, normal cephalic, high risk, breech presentation, premature labour, twins, quadruplets, the sad stillbirths the late terminations for abnormalities and many more… of course I did not experience everything and I still have a lot to learn when I gave midwifery up after my 2nd child was born and I felt I could not do a good job as a midwife as I was constantly sleep deprived and my children and family always came first. I felt I did not have much left to give women and their families going through such an amazing time, and so decided leave the profession. 

Childbirth is still something that can only be deemed normal in retrospect. We really cannot predict that everything will go as planned.  We sincerely hope that a normal and healthy pregnancy will result in a smooth labour and birth of a healthy baby but occasionally, babies do get distressed or labour does not progress for reasons like there may be cephalopelvic disproportion. It could even be something like the umbilical cord having wrapped itself inconveniently round the baby’s neck, the baby’s body, and the baby get distressed with each contraction. Whatever the cause, we don’t want these things to happen but they sometimes do. We have a duty to educate women about these possible events, not to scare them but to prepare them for things that may go awry. This way, if any of these events happen, then they will not be so traumatized or shocked and feel like the perfect labour and birth was denied them, or they were robbed of the wonderful experience of a normal birth.

I feel sometimes like my friend Katie Clinton puts childbirth is portrayed as the 2 extremes of the serene amazing natural birth (which does happen) and the horrific ones where everything appears to have gone wrong. In reality, most people fall in between these two extremes.

Finally, another friend has shared her experience of childbirth and parenthood, and I especially like the bit at the end where she says, I have had 12 years to experience being a mum, it’s not all about the labour or birth, it’s so much more.

LK Koay posted this on one of my posts

Suyin, fr young I saw how childbirth was being portrayed on tv and I grew up being afraid of all the pain, screaming and the propped up legs. To me, it’s painful, messy and unglamorous. I almost didn’t want kids! 

When I got pregnant, I cried. Tears of fear. When the 1st child’s due date loomed near, I told my doc n hubby that I want it as painless as possible n I wanted C-sect. 

On the day my water bag broke, the 1st request I made after the hospital settled me in a labour room was…. “where’s the anaesthetist? I don’t want to feel pain!”. When I realised the pain I felt wasn’t a stomach ache from wanting to visit the loo, I panicked even further that the most important person has yet to arrive! And I’m not talking abt the obstetrician! Anyway… overall birth experiences I had were wonderful. I felt almost no pain and I didn’t go thru what I saw depicted on tv. I had good birth experiences if you ask me. I wasn’t traumatised. I’m glad I did it the way I want, rather than what I should have done because others do it naturally to feel ‘how it feels like to be a mother’. I had so far 12 years to feel how it feels like to be mom anyway. 

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A new testimonial

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I have been a postpartum doula  based in Thornhill for the last year. After practising as a nurse and a midwife in the UK for 19 years, we took a leap of faith as a family and moved to Trinidad and Tobago to work and live for 2 years. We had a wonderful 10 months out there before we were told we were being transferred to Toronto, Canada. Another move, another adventure.

I was hoping to be able to nurse here in Canada but for various reasons this was not meant to be.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it gave me the opportunity to try out a few occupations I have often wondered about.  In my nursing days, when things got me down at work, usually due to stresses from workload, staff shortages and disagreeable managers, I would say to myself… “I should just go and stack shelves in Sainsbury’s than deal with all this stress!”  Now was my chance. I could venture outside nursing and see how non nurses fared.  I did a short stint working at a McDonald’s 5 minutes walk away from home, working the dreaded night shift. Then found a job at a local pharmacy who were willing to take me on as a pharmacy assistant, even though I had no previous pharmacy or retail experience. They provided me on the job training. It helped that I was a nurse prescriber as I knew mostly what all the drugs and medications were for.  This lead to another pharmacy job which I am just about to leave after being there for 2 years.

The work I was doing was ok, it paid just above minimal wage, provided me with a little job satisfaction but something was missing. I was missing out the caring element. I did care for the customers at the pharmacy, but closer personal care that you get from  being in the caring profession was missing from my life. I had to find something else that would fill this gap. I have a wealth of knowledge and skills that were under-utilized, and I wanted to to change this.

I scoured through the internet, talked to some friends who were nurses and midwives in the UK but were now  doing something else here in Canada and wondered what I could do. Being very interested in women’s health and the promotion of breastfeeding, I stumbled on the profession of the Doula. I thought I could possibly do that, it would let me use my skills in a non-clinical way and better still be supporting mums and their families with a precious new addition to their lives.

I researched the various doula trainings available and decided to train with CAPPA. I was familiar with them as I had been a volunteer at the Mamatoto Birthing Centre in Trinidad, and they were a worldwide recognized organization, plus I loved their ‘Vision’ and philosophy. The rest is history and now I am about to embark on being a postpartum doula full- time.

This brings me back to my title. I have created a web site to support my doula business and to promote it, how much that is happening, I don’t really know, but I had wanted to tweak a few things on it and discovered that one of my recent clients had posted a testimonial on there for me.  And here it is…..

“My husband and I are the type of people who like to do everything ourselves. But when my second daughter arrived with a big appetite and a distaste for sleeping, it finally became apparent that we needed some professional help. It really eased our minds after learning about Su Yin’s background in nursing and midwifery. We were overjoyed that she turned out to be a warm, easy-going and knowledgeable person whom both my children adore. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made to have her in our children’s lives.”
Qin
Second time mom
I have been meaning to blog about my doing the doula and now seemed like a good time to share this positive testimonial.  My website address is :-
My Facebook page is
If you’re a tweeter, my twitter username is @doulasuyin