"...this is the essence of what a doula does..."
I feel so privileged to have had Mary as our doula for Diego’s birth. Mary is a fantastic doula with an easy manner, a warm, reassuring presence and a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about birth. I felt nurtured and supported throughout my pregnancy and I really looked forward to the birth. During my pregnancy I had choices to make for the birth and Mary was able to guide me towards reliable, evidence based sources of information so I could make the best decisions for us. I have the most wonderful image of my labour that will always stay with me. I was standing with one arm across Mary´s shoulder and the other across my husband´s as they supported me during a surge. For me this is the essence of what a doula does and how she can support the mother and her birth partner in labour and birth. When I look back on Diego´s birth I remember feeling supported, loved, safe and empowered. Having had two beautiful doula supported births I would highly encourage pregnant women to consider the benefits of that kind of continuous support (there is plenty of research on this!). I couldn’t recommend Mary more highly to anyone considering doula care.
Caroline Sweeney Di Domenico, Second Time Mum, Cork
"...her warm, enthusiastic approach..."
Mary’s knowledge of all things birth related is invaluable. That and her warm, enthusiastic approach helped us immensely when we were most vulnerable. Our baby girl arrived in a calm, gentle way and it’s an experience we go back to very often. I’d recommend a doula, and Mary especially, to all first time parents
Karolina & Maciej, First Time Parents, Cork
"I wanted someone who would know what to do and would take care of me..."
What can I say about Mary Tighe? The best place to start would be to tell you that she’s simply a wonderful person. In addition to possessing the qualities that make for an ideal person to have at your birth – patience, caring, attentiveness – she is also a very skilled and knowledgeable doula.
I contacted Mary early on in my pregnancy because I wanted someone at my birth, in addition to the midwives and my partner, who would look after me. I’m from the US and I wouldn’t have any family with me before, during or after the birth and I was a little worried. I wanted someone who would know what to do and would take care of me in the little ways that really make a difference.
I also have a major phobia of hospitals/doctors/anything medical so I needed someone who was knowledgeable who I knew would stay with me from beginning to end and provide support to myself and my partner during my labour. In our conversations leading up to the birth I found Mary’s energy to be contagious and inspiring and I actually started to look forward to the birth with confidence.
She helped me get organized and come up with a plan. Once I was in labour she was present when I needed her, invisible when I needed space, and forever calm. When I felt “stuck” she was able to help move me on and when I had a shaky moment she helped me find the focus and the confidence to keep going. I can truthfully say I had a fantastic birth!
While it was hard at times I feel that Mary’s help was essential in helping me to have the positive experience that I not only wanted but I ended up with.
Gwen & Jaimie, First Time Parents, Cork
"...her words of support and encouragement made me feel like superwoman!"
I first met Mary when she gave the Gentlebirth workshop I attended during my first pregnancy and I was in awe of her knowledge of and passion for the birthing process. When I opted for a homebirth on my second baby, Mary was recommended to me and I knew that she'd be a fantastic doula, as I remembered her as being very calm, caring and well-informed. Mary's support towards the end of my pregnancy gave myself and my husband the confidence to approach our daughter's birth, not with anxiety or fear, but with joy and anticipation
During the birth of our daughter, Mary was a fantastic support, offering words of encouragement exactly when needed and helping me stay comfortable and relaxed with massage and use of essential oils, yet her presence never interfered with the intimacy of the moment - we felt we had our private times together as a family throughout. On a practical side, Mary took charge of filling and emptying the birth pool, cleaning and tidying up the room afterwards, preparing a cosy nest in our living room for us to snuggle up to our new bundle of joy and making sure we all had something to eat and drink. I also have her to thank for the beautiful photos that capture wonderfully the special moment we welcomed our daughter into this world. For weeks afterwards she continued being there for us and has always been at the other end of the phone or e-mail. Overall the birth of our daughter was one of the most wonderful, empowering and emotional moments in my life and it was Mary's reassuring presence that made all the difference. Indeed afterwards, her words of support and encouragement made me feel like superwoman!
Regina & Brian, Second Time Parents, Waterford
"Jen helped us labour at home as long as I wanted and was with us every step in the hospital."
Jen was our birth and postpartum doula, I really wanted to feel supported for birth and after by someone I could trust and feel open and relaxed with as we had difficulty getting pregnant so every moment for me was precious. After meeting Jen I just felt relieved! She explained everything so simply, helped us decide how we'd like things to go and prepare for things happening differently. Our birth was amazing, and exciting! Jen helped us labour at home as long as I wanted and was with us every step in the hospital. She was amazing, and integrated so well with the hospital team, the next day the midwifes were all asking after her.
I had serious complications directly post birth, Jen supported my husband, explained to him what was happening to me and what the doctors were doing and helped him with our son. She stayed with us until I was ok, and called the next day with the best sandwich and cakes I've ever had!!!
Our little boy is now 1 and we still talk about how amazing it was to have Jen with us, her kindness, support and true caring helped us have a beautiful birth, and navigate the early days.
I cannot say enough good things about Jen, as a doula she is kind, supportive, caring, knowledgeable and respectful.
Ruth & Conor, Dublin
"Mary was able to ground me when I was starting to panic on occasion, simply with her words or touch."
I met Mary through mutual friends in 2011 and after discovering she was a doula and what that meant I decided I would hire her when I had another baby. I had an emergency C-Section in 2010 for our first daughter’s birth due to “failure to progress” and felt very strongly that I wanted a VBAC for our next child. I had a lot of anxiety about the labour and birth and having Mary’s support really helped alleviate that. It gave me a huge amount of confidence that I could do everything within my power to achieve a vbac and the knowledge that if things went differently on the day I would be ok with it emotionally.
The most helpful part of having a doula was the comfort measures during labour – specifically the counter pressure – my husband just couldn’t get it right but Mary seems to have the magic touch! Also, Mary was able to ground me when I was starting to panic on occasion, simply with her words or touch.
An unexpected perk was the wonderful photos Mary took! I cherish them dearly.
Mary’s support to my husband and I during my pregnancy, labour and postnatal period were invaluable to us. She never told us what to do, but gave us the information and knowledge so we could make fully informed choices and know that they were the right ones for us and our baby.
I know my husband found it hugely helpful that he could step out if needed for food or the toilet and know I was still supported by someone we trusted and knew.
I have recommended Mary to lots of women since first having her as my doula in 2013 and what I would say to any friend is that Mary has a wealth of knowledge, skills and a calming, gentle presence.
Jacquie & Graham, Cork
"The day I met Zoe I instinctively knew it was the right decision to have her as a doula. She made us feel completely at ease at all times and helped me to focus on the aspects of child birth that I could control"
In 2015 I was pregnant with my first baby. In the run up to the birth I was quite nervous as it was going to be my first experience of child birth and I had no idea what to expect. My husband was working overseas at the time and there was a worry that he might not even be back for the birth if I went into labour early. The day I met Zoe I instinctively knew it was the right decision to have her as a doula. She made us feel completely at ease at all times and helped me to focus on the aspects of child birth that I could control, such as relaxation and having a positive mental attitude towards the birth. Before I met Zoe my thinking was "epidural all the way". If someone had told me, when I first found out I was pregnant, that I would have a completely natural child birth and that it was going to be a very positive experience I would have said they were mad. Somehow that's exactly what happened and I put it all down to having Zoe there as a doula. She was a fantastic support all the way - before, during and after the birth. I really can't rate her highly enough. Every woman should have doula when they are giving birth. Only some will be lucky enough to have Zoe as a doula.
"Lorna was able to help me maintain a positive outlook when all seemed bleak"
I can't speak highly enough about Lorna Coleman and her services as a Doula. As someone who has no family in Ireland, I initially sought out the the use of a Doula, to be a guide and support for general questions I might have during my pregnancy that I would normally ask my mother or sister, but quickly it was obvious that I was also in need of a much greater support system. In my 27th week the baby moved position into my lower hip and caused me to have serve, temporarily life-altering pain with every step and movement I made. I had to stop walking almost completely, went on 80-100% bedrest and most weeks would leave the house only once or twice. Lorna was able to help me maintain a positive outlook when all seemed bleak, she answered all my questions, got me in touch with a wonderful lactation consultant, assisted me in finding standing / sitting positions to help alleviate the pain, and was, most weeks, the person I turned to when struggling the most. I could not recommend her services as a Doula more. And the icing on the cake?! She teaches 'mum & baby' classes at MyWellBeing (where I attended Pregnancy Pilates classes) of which I'll be attending soon!
Pamela Cranford, mum to Henry born in April 2016
"If you are thinking of hiring a doula I would not hesitate, it will only create a more positive and empowering birth experience for you which in my opinion is priceless."
Since I was a child I always had an interest in birth and never feared it. When I became pregnant I knew I wanted to have my baby at home but was also very aware that my husband and I needed the right support in order to make it happen. For us, hiring a doula was an easy decision, choosing Mary was an even easier one. Mary was experienced, educated, open and kind, she never pushed her opinions on us but laid out all options, facts and research to allow us to make informed choices ourselves. We also attended her Gentle Birth workshop which was a great help particularly in allowing my husband to become a more confident and aware birth partner. During my pregnancy I really valued being able to call and discuss any niggling thoughts or issues with Mary and always felt supported during my pregnancy. During labour, Mary supported us both, reminding my husband to rest, assisting me with positions and cooling me down. There were times I was in my own bubble and her presence was so subtle and unobtrusive I was not aware of her being there yet had she not been there her absence would have been palpable. With Mary's help and support we welcomed our daughter at home but knowing that she would have been with us should we have transferred to hospital was a huge comfort to me, an independent voice we trusted to assist us in navigating unfamiliar territory. The word doula means 'with woman' and I truly felt that, an empowering feeling I find difficult to describe now. My birth experience was beautiful, drug free and I have no regrets. If you are thinking of hiring a doula I would not hesitate, it will only create a more positive and empowering birth experience for you which in my opinion is priceless.
Louisa and Kieran, Cork
"At every step of the way Mary reassured me and helped me..."
My biggest fear was having a c-section. I had a lot of anxiety around this. At every step of the way Mary reassured me and helped me to deal with this fear. Whilst she helped prepare me for as low an intervention birth as possible, she also gave information on c-sections that helped me to understand them better and allay my fears. In the end I had an emergency C-section after induction. Although my birth experience was dramatic at times - it did not feel traumatic. I feel this is down to my knowledge and support from Mary, and the subsequent confidence I felt in myself when talking to my health care team. I felt we were all on the one team. I felt very lost going through the healthcare system for pregnancy. I felt like I had no personal connection to anyone and very little continuity between appointments. Mary was always just a phone call or text away, with support and understanding that came from knowing my situation. With every new interaction with HCPs I had to recount my (long) medical history - i found this tiring and trying. I was able to connect to Mary after these experiences and feel a real human connection that was sorely missing from my out-patient experience.
Cork Mum, 2015
"From my partners experience, Mary helped and guided him so much and was a great support through the whole experience. He knew I was in safe hands while he took short breaks to get some food and cat naps during the labour. He felt she was a great ally during the experience which made him all the more confident in the labour room."
Initially we went to antenatal classes with Mary. I hired Mary as a Birth doula support but she also gave me Postpartum support. I had previously heard about Mary and immediately wanted only her. Thankfully she was available and was all and more than we expected, and we had such an amazing positive birth experience in her company. Although my labour was a long and exhausting one, Mary made it much easier and made the whole experience so positive and relaxing for both my husband and I.
I hired Mary for support, reassurance and encouragement throughout my labour. I wanted her to empower me throughout the birth both physically and emotionally…….. and that she did! I also wanted her to be a support for my husband as this was a new experience for him also. I wanted us both to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible and to just enjoy the whole experience.
There is very little Mary will not do for you! From the initial meeting we had with her right through to Postpartum my husband and I had a lovely relaxed relationship with her. She came over to our house during the early stages of labour and she was like‘Mary Poppins’. She had so many comforts and concoctions in her bag to provide all the physical comforts and informational support we needed right throughout the labour. She was on call 24/7 for 2 weeks before our estimated due date which was always so reassuring. Mary provided informational support to me while completing my birth preference and provided me with all the latest research (evidence based) on my options available to me. At one stage I remember Mary being on her hand and knees giving me support to lean on her through my surges. In between my surges I spend majority of the time laughing and chatting to both Mary and my husband, and they even had to put up with my Jamaican impersonations all thanks to that amazing ‘gas and air’!!!
My biggest fear throughout the labour was that I would leave anxiety and worry take over such an overwhelming and empowering experience. With my husbands and Marys company this was not the case - I was more relaxed and focused throughout. An unexpected perk of having a doula is getting a lovely massage here and there, having all the appropriate gentlebirth tracks played for you at the appropriate times, giving you positioning & focus techniques and more importantly always giving you that evidence based information to help you decide on options available to you during the pregnancy. Sometimes during labour when you’re putting all your energy into focusing on birthing your baby it’s having that extra person to give you that vital information to assist you in decisions which makes your labour so much more fulfilling and empowering. Mary also was there to allow my husband get some rest and food throughout my long labour. They both worked as a team throughout the whole birth and that also made me so much more relaxed and in effect allowed me to rest also.
If anyone was considering getting a doula, I would definitely recommend Mary. My husband and I would love to have her for ‘baby number 2’ in the future. She gave both me and my husband the help, support and advice we needed to make our birth such an amazing experience. We were provided with all the information we needed so that we could make the best decisions for me and our baby. She gave me the confidence to ask questions which definitely provided us with the positive birth experience we needed. She also assisted me in the Postpartum, help and support which was greatly appreciated.
In my experience Mary is an expert at her job and her professionalism, good humour and great personality were very comforting throughout our whole experience. From my partners experience, Mary helped and guided him so much and was a great support through the whole experience. He knew I was in safe hands while he took short breaks to get some food and cat naps during the labour. He felt she was a great ally during the experience which made him all the more confident in the labour room.
Kerry & Mark, Cork, 2016
"She couldn’t have done more during the labour. She created a relaxing atmosphere at home and the hospital – it was so calm we had doctors and nurses coming into our room during the labour to relax! I’d recommend Mary without hesitation.
While I was initially unconvinced about hiring a Doula, Mary was amazing. We hired Mary because my wife’s first labour was long and difficult, and we were both anxious. She provided really useful advice and information before and after the birth, which supported me to support my wife.
She couldn’t have done more during the labour. She created a relaxing atmosphere at home and the hospital – it was so calm we had doctors and nurses coming into our room during the labour to relax!
And when things ramped up Mary helped with massage and positioning. She was never overbearing, and gave us our own space whilst being on hand for support. At the end of the day I was surprised by her energy and resilience: she never took a break and stayed with us right to the end. I was wrecked but she never tired. I’d recommend Mary without hesitation.
James, Cork, 2016
"I have had both a hospital and home birth and found Mary an essential support for both myself and my husband."
I have had Mary as my doula for the birth of both of my children and cannot recommend her highly enough for anyone thinking of hiring a doula. From the very first meeting with Mary it was like sitting down with a old friend for a chat. She is friendly, warm and so good natured and a fountain of knowledge for all things birth related. On both pregnancies the antenatal/birth care and support she provided was fantastic. I have had both a hospital and home birth and found Mary an essential support for both myself and my husband. I felt secure, nurtured and listened to and felt the extra support she provided invaluable.
Deirdre, Cork, 2017
"Mary's support and back massages got me through it"
I hired Mary for a combination of birth doula support and post partum support. I wanted extra support for my birth partner, as well as myself. Plus I knew that having a doula reduces the likelihood of medical intervention in childbirth and that was really important to me. As an "older" mum, I knew there would be more pressure not to go to or beyond my due date, and I wanted to have a natural childbirth. Mary was amazing. I am so glad I hired her and would recommend that no woman goes into childbirth without a doula, as result! My biggest fear was that I would be induced and end up having a C-section. I was induced because there was meconium in my waters- but Mary's support and back massages got me through it. I only took gas and air at the end, when things slowed down because the baby was in the posterior position. Without those back massages, it would have been an entirely different story! Mary was also there to support my birth partner. It was fantastic to have that additional support when things got stressful, and to help rebalance the atmosphere into one that was more restful and allowed me to focus. I would urge anyone having a baby to hire a doula immediately. My sister- my birth partner- is also telling everyone she knows to hire a doula. I think that says it all! I am so glad I hired Mary- I think my birth story would have been entirely different without her
Cliona, Cork, November 2016
"During my labour and delivery she was so comforting, encouraging me throughout, helping me through contractions with hip squeezes and position changes".
Jacquie was my doula for the birth of my son, and I can’t imagine the experience without her. She was the perfect support and encouragement that I needed during very a stressful time in my life!
Leading up to the birth I found her to be a great wealth of information. I particularly appreciated her respect for what I wanted, and her ability to help me navigate the waters without taking the wheel. I hoped for a hospital birth with minimal interventions, and wanted to labour at home for as long as possible. Jacquie was very supportive of this and had so many suggestions to help me along. My baby was breech fairly late in my pregnancy, and the hospital wanted me to schedule a section (which terrified me!). Jacquie gave me so many resources to try to encourage the little one to flip, and finally he did! She was very down to earth and realistic about things, and surprisingly what helped me the most during that time is she helped me to prepare for what would happen if a section were necessary. I found it really empowering to plan for it, and accept it might happen for any number of reasons.
During my labour and delivery she was so comforting, encouraging me throughout, helping me through contractions with hip squeezes and position changes. During a shift change which sent me into a panic, she was there to keep me grounded. I don’t know how I would have done that without her, I was beside myself! She was there at every turn, for over 14 hours, and helped everything go as seamlessly as possible.
Right before the delivery I came out of the bathroom to a very calm beautiful room, Jacquie had set up the tea lights and dimmed the overheads. It was really peaceful and calm I nearly forgot I was in a hospital altogether. My son was born at 10:17pm, beautiful, bright pink and healthy! I can’t recommend her highly enough. She’s a part of the family now as far as I’m concerned!
Jackie Matthew, Cork, 2016
'Mary was excellent"
Mary was excellent. She provided a calming influence on what was a very stressful occasion. She gave us the confidence to speak up about our birth plan and have the hospital follow our wishes rather than their procedure.
Benny & Hazel, Waterford
Mary's warmth and kindness shines through when you meet her. Her gentle, informed approach empowered both my husband and I to have the birthing experience of our choice. She took the pressure off my husband to be the perfect birth partner, then guided him during the birth on how to be the best support for me. She was a source of comfort and encouragement for me which helped me achieve my goal of an unmedicated birth. She is also a great masseuse which is a massive bonus! She has a wealth of breastfeeding knowledge which really helped postpartum. I'll always have fond memories of my birthing experience with Mary.
Kathryn, Feb 2017
'Mary's warmth and kindness shines through...'
"I am done having babies, but if I had to do it again, there's no question I would need Zoe with us".
I chose to have a doula because I had previous birth trauma and needed support from someone who knew the system and someone who could support my husband as it was his first and my second. I needed to know I would have someone with me if he needed a break, that I trusted. We found the support provided by DoulaCare Ireland wonderful. Mary stayed in touch and was incredibly friendly and easy to talk to, helped me access PTSD resources for birth trauma and paired me with the perfect Doula for me. We regularly say it was the best money we ever spent.
The birth was actually almost identical to my first babies but the care was so different it didn't cause Trauma and it made a big difference having Zoe there.
Meeting my doula Zoe, put me at ease and gave me a sense of strength. Answering endless questions. Straight talk about what she could and couldn't do for me as a doula. Being able to check if stuff was normal or not. Support during 3 prodormal labour false starts, etc. She was supportive after the birth, and popped out to check on me twice to make sure I could process the birth well. Was all incredibly important.
My partner found the doula support invaluable. She was super helpful and practical. I wouldn't have wanted to do it without her supporting us.
I am done having babies, but if I had to do it again, there's no question I would need Zoe with us.
Second Time Mum, Cork January 2018
"Overall I can’t say how grateful I am for DoulaCare Ireland and the service ye run".
Overall I can’t say how grateful I am for DoulaCare Ireland and the service ye run. I feel very supported in a like-minded community who want the most positive experience for our family. It’s an incredible feeling and goes a long way to having me so calm about this pregnancy and delivery. No matter what thought pops into my head in the wee hours of the night I know there is a caring support there and that means a huge amount.
Second Time Mum, Dublin, Feb 2018
"I'd recommend having a doula, as it creates the dynamic of a birth 'team' rather than the couple being alone. It really made for a lovely dynamic in the delivery room between husband, doula, midwife and I."
We found the service provided by DoulaCare Ireland excellent, we were always offered support and help. We decided to hire a doula after a traumatic birth experience first time around in Rotund. We were hoping having a doula would cushion things for us in terms of interaction with staff, giving us confidence to speak up and most of all provide some kind of continuity of care where there was a familiar face throughout. Also as we didn't have family around, we needed a backup solution in terms of having peace of mind in case we were stuck for someone to mind the toddler. Worst case, husband could mind the toddler and I could have a peaceful delivery with doula by my side and not be alone.
We found the support of a doula very helpful. In our case, it was having a calming presence during the unplanned three day labour induction process. We believe having a doula helped me avoid a c-section by default (I was very close to just throwing in the towel and requesting one at times).
I'd recommend having a doula, as it creates the dynamic of a birth 'team' rather than the couple being alone. It really made for a lovely dynamic in the delivery room between husband, doula, midwife and I.
My partner enjoyed having Jen to lean on, I think, to help support him in supporting me. He and Jen worked together during labour to get things done (go buy a peanut ball for example) and to take breaks and I believe he enjoyed having missions and clear goals, and being fully included in the birth from the very beginning rather than on the sidelines like last time. At no point did he ever give the impression that he felt pushed out or anything. He has always said he thought this was a great experience.
Jen was warm and caring, very easy to get along with and always professional. We would love to work with Jen again in the future. I would also like to mention that I met Susan and that I very much liked her too and would have been comfortable working with her, had Jen not been available on the day.
Monica & Cormac, Dublin, 2018
'...the continuity of relationship with Debbie and yourself was really key to how positive my experience was.'
I’m beyond grateful to Debbie and DoulaCare Ireland for our whole experience. There were so many ways that having a doula made a difference for us. We’ve been raving to anyone who will listen how significant our experience has been!
I’m still on a bit of a high (over 3 weeks later) from the natural birth experience. I can’t believe it happened and how much easier recovery has been. Debbie was a big part of making this happen. The Coombe and the Domino midwives were fantastic but the continuity of relationship with Debbie and yourself was really key to how positive my experience was. I keep writing Aoife’s birthstory in my head and adding details - it’s probably the length of all the Harry Potter books now😆
Our biggest concern was that the birth would become a non-mother led, un-gentlebirth, medical experience. Our doula heard our concerns and made it possible to stay at home longer and feel more in control and supported during the birthing experience.
Our doula quickly established an intimate, supportive, and trusting relationship with both of us, which meant that we felt relaxed and comfortable throughout. Debbie was kind, helpful, reassuring, knowledgeable, and fun. We are grateful, and indebted to her. We would give her the highest of recommendations. The depth of the bond that was formed was more than just the birthing experience. The post-partum visits were an extra bonus that we hadn't considered initially.
It is absolutely worth hiring a doula. You get more than just someone supporting you and your partner at the birth. And you have a team behind you. Whilst it might seem like a luxury to get a doula, the service really makes a significantly positive contribution to both the mother's and partner's birthing experience. It's a decision that you won't regret, and having had a doula, it is hard to imagine not using the service again. It goes beyond just the birthing experience.
We were delighted with the service, and especially impressed with the contact from Mary throughout, the provision of a back-up doula, and the extended support of all the doulas.
Second Time Mum, Dublin, Feb 2018