We spoke with Kelly Maslen, a doula, nutritionist, breastfeeding counsellor, placenta encapsulator, and mother. We found out how to have a fearless, painless birth, what this single parent relies on to run her business, and why she ate her placenta.
What do you offer during labour that a partner cannot?
Practical experience! I have been working with families since 2004, I’ve been a birth and postpartum doula for 8 glorious years, and I have attended over 150 births! Having a support person with rock solid statics, up-to-date birth information, and who is highly trained in birth and babies, can guide you through tricky situations and negotiations. I’ve got your backs when partners can feel overwhelmed and anxious; you will have a sigh of relief when I walk through your door on the big day.
Do you only take on clients who are planning a natural or home birth?
I take on clients no matter what they have planned for their birth experience. I have no judgments. My wish is for you to feel empowered, supported, heard and happy. This is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life so my hope is to make a positive, amazing one!
What challenged you or surprised you most during the birth of your daughter?
As a single parent it was tough not having a partner there, however my doulas (I had two) were my rocks, and I couldn’t have done it without them. They offered so much physical, emotional and mental support it made all the difference with my birth journey.
Did you eat the placenta?
Absolutely! I needed all the energy I could get! Plus the iron (I was anemic). I was also a very likely candidate for postpartum depression as a single mother with the stress of parenting alone. My placenta pills made transitioning into parenthood such much easier.
The placenta filters toxins from getting through to your baby, so isn’t that gross to eat?
Your placenta isn’t a filthy organ hanging out on your uterus that you throw away. It is a filter, but your body breaks down all the toxins just as your liver does. There is constantly fresh blood and oxygen coursing through the placenta to keep it clean and healthy. This is the organ that is growing your baby and it is full of nutrients and essential lifeblood.
Do water births cause more tearing and longer recovery times?
This is false! Water helps the body and muscles to relax, which reduces tearing and episiotomies. The water also acts as lubrication and moms are buoyant in the water, taking the pressure off the perineum.
Do you still recommend Hypnobirthing classes for people who already practice meditation + visualization?
If you would like to experience a “hypno birth” then yes it’s a good idea to take the classes to learn the tools and techniques to have a fearless, painless birth experience. Your meditation practice is a bonus and you will learn much faster if you’re already mindful.
What is your favourite gift to give an expecting/new mom?
Postpartum doula services! That way you get a wonderful combination of my breastfeeding support and yummy healthy food preparation. Mom can feel human again, and will be able to take a shower or nap, essential necessities post baby.
How do you manage parenting with an unpredictable work schedule?
I’m lucky I have a wonderful support team of doulas that help me, plus my mom! I don’t know what I would do without her. She has been such an incredible support to me since Ella was born, and I couldn’t do my job without her. She is my rock.
What happens if you have multiple clients go into labour at the same time?
Personally, I only take on 1 client per month. I prefer to have my clients have all of my attention and energy, and not have to be worried that I might not attend the birth. There are already so many things to think about, this shouldn’t be one of them. However in case of emergency (and life happens) I always have an experienced doula available for backup.
How does an expecting mother choose the right doula for her?
It’s all about chemistry! You should feel a trust, comfort and connection with your doula. This is very special intimate work. It is an incredible relationship that grows pretty quickly, so it’s important to have a great feeling about their energy, experience and knowledge. Trust your gut.