'I just didn't think of myself as a baby person at all'
Case studyTracy Donegan, technology marketer turned “doula and dancing for birth teacher”
“I didn’t have a maternal bone in my body until I had my first little boy Jack,” says doula or labour coach Tracy Donegan. “I just didn’t think of myself as a baby person at all.”
A former technology marketer, she decided to retrain when a doula helped her to navigate the healthcare system in the US where she lived.
“A doula provides emotional support to the mother during the pregnancy, at the birth itself and post-natally,” says Donegan, who set up the first doula service in Ireland in 2005.
“Doulas don’t do anything medical; our support is always informational or comfort measures or emotional support.
“The mum gives us a ring in early labour, as we will have discussed, and we pack our bag and go to the house and encourage her in different positions, do acupressure and just encourage her to stay comfortable.
“Generally we’ll transport into the hospital as well, letting dads focus on the driving. We help her get settled in, meet the midwives and help her and the dad to have the best experience possible.”
A dancing for birth teacher too, Donegan says it’s about encouraging women to stay active.
“I love the work. For me it’s about helping mums understand that pregnancy can be a great time in their lives.
“I get huge satisfaction from it . . . I could never go back to nine to five in an office ever again.”