Supporting new mothers with cancer
I wanted to become a post natal doula, because my own journey to becoming a mother and adjusting to motherhood was affected by breast cancer.
After having one diagnosis before my daughter was born and then one eighteen months later, and then another when my daughter was 3, I had a front row seat experiencing the shortage of specialist support for new mothers in this area. Since then I have felt passionately about raising awareness for families and women facing the challenge of having a new born, as well as health implications that can impact so many areas of caring for a newborn.
My cancer may have meant only one of my breasts grew while I was pregnant, but I managed to feed my baby for six weeks
(which I was pretty chuffed with)
It meant I had to wear a prosthetic in my bra.
It meant my anxieties around hormonal changes were sky high.
It meant I had to have regular check ups, extra scans and even more blood tests all through my pregnancy.
The implications were endless and affected me on lots of emotional and physical levels.
I never wanted any other woman to experience a lack of support and understanding. I am blessed with an incredible family unit but had I known there was post natal support, let alone specific post natal cancer support, I would have jumped on it!
This area, though specialised, is becoming more familiar to those working as birth workers. As the age of women becoming first time mothers increases and the age of women being diagnosed with cancer gets younger, there is a niche group of new mothers whose needs may be a little different and a bit more complex.
As I grow in my role as a post natal doula, I want to further my work by offering this empathy and personal experience and all that comes with becoming a mother through and after cancer, to other new mothers affected by chronic health conditions.
If you, or anyone you know has been affected by cancer before, during or post pregnancy, there is help out there, offering that specialised support and empathy. You are not alone.
A charity that does great work in this area is Mummys Star. Please click here to find out more about them and the work they do and if I can help in any way, my door is permanently open, even if it is just for a chat and some solidarity.
You can read more about my cancer journey on my Samspaces website.