Eva has been a loved member of the Bump & Baby Club team for over 4 years, teaching baby first aid to hundreds of our members. Alongside her work with us, she runs her own baby massage courses, works as a Doula, and juggles it all around a busy family life. She took some time to grab a smoothie with us and talk it all through…
Why did you decide to become a baby first aid instructor?
I started working with lots of new families through teaching baby massage, and I quickly realised that most parents’ biggest fear is not knowing what to do in an emergency. I was trained in first aid myself, and even had an experience of helping a young baby who’d suffered an accident. It’s a crucial skill for new parents and, with my career background, I felt I’d be really good at teaching it. So, I trained as a first aid instructor and the rest is history!
What do you enjoy about it?
I mostly enjoy reassuring parents that they could cope in an emergency. Most people think they will panic, which is completely normal as we’re so emotionally attached to our own children, but with skills and knowledge, panicking is far less likely. I have received several thank-you messages from parents who managed to help their baby in life threatening situations. They stayed calm enough to put the skills into practice at one of the most stressful times of their lives – it’s because they knew what to do.
Have there been any standout / memorable moments in your career over the years?
The thank-you messages have all been very memorable, and there was one from a lady who was able to help someone on her way home from a course she’d just taken with me! I had taught her first aid for adults, and she managed to help an old lady who’d fallen over and was bleeding quite heavily from her head. The timing was amazing!
How do you have to adapt things when talking to expectant couples?
I try to reassure them that emergency situations are extremely rare, especially when we cover CPR. No parent ever wants to think they will have to perform CPR on their own baby, and I make sure they realise they almost certainly never will – it’s just so important to be prepared. It is an emotional topic, especially for expectant couples, so I’m sensitive with my language and make sure everyone’s feeling ok.
Have you ever had to use the techniques in real life?
Oh yes, many times! In all sorts of situations. I even used my skills when I was teaching a Bump & Baby Club course in Clapham a few years ago. One expectant mum felt very faint, so I put her in the faint position until she felt better. Then 5 minutes later we heard a thud outside the training room window, I looked outside and an elderly lady had fallen over. She was ok, just a bit bruised and shocked. I invited her in for a cup of tea to help her recover. The group were very impressed watching me put my skills into action while I was teaching!
Why did you decide to become a Doula?
A few people had told me they thought I should become a Doula, due to my calm and reassuring manner and soothing voice! I was always really interested in it, but thought it was best to wait until my youngest daughter started secondary school. As a Birth Doula you’re on call for a month and you might have to dash to your client at any time of day or night, so it can be quite strenuous on family life when you have young children. Mine are now older so it’s the perfect time for me.
How important is the relationship between the Doula and the client?
Incredibly important – you have to have a really good rapport with your clients. You are going to be supporting them when they’re feeling vulnerable, through a very intimate experience, so you really need to feel comfortable around each other. It’s about compatibility though – not every Doula is right for every client and not every client is right for every Doula, and that’s why it’s important to interview a few carefully before you choose one.
How does it feel to be present at a birth?
No other words but an absolute honour! To witness the birth of a baby is amazing and seeing the start of a new family and feeling the amazing love between them is incredible. We call it a ‘Doula high’ due to all the oxytocin in the room following a birth. Its magical! I love visiting the family again at the postnatal visit a few weeks later, and I get my cuddles with the baby. The biggest perk of the job!